Zomby Woof - "Riding on a Tear" (Jupiter 1977)

Apart from their name, this German group had luckily absolutely nothing to do with Frank Zappa. They were fairly in the same category as many other German bands from the same period (Ramses and Shaa Khan for instance), but personally I'm also able to hear some minor similarities to Blue Öyster Cult of all things, especially on the vocal parts. But Zomby Woof were in no way very heavy, and stuck to the symphonic progressive rock formula most of the time. They arrived a bit too late to last for more than one album, a fact that can make you a bit frustrated when listening to "Riding on a Tear". It's an even and solid album with no bad songs and played by a tight and professional-sounding unit. Tracks like "Suicide" and the title-track feature vocal melodies that you'll appreciate more each time you hear the songs. The instrumental parts are technically demanding, but kept at a modest length and never allowed to take over the songs. The two-part "Requiem" starts as a fast, clavinet-driven song with several juicy organ solos from keyboardist Matthias Zumbroich, only to end in an instrumental symphonic section complete with the always magnificent Mellotron-choir. More clavinet can be heard in the lengthy jam "Dora's Drive" where the band delivered their most powerful and intense playing on the record. The earlier mentioned possible influence from Blue Öyster Cult is especially apparent in "Mary Walking Through the Woods", and this has most certainly something to do with the shared vocals between guitarists Ulrich Herter and Heinrich Winter who together tend to sound a bit like Donald Roeser and Eric Bloom. This song is also connected to the instrumental "Walking Through the Woods" where the whistling synths together with the rest of the band create one of the highlights of the album. But 1977 was the year when good music finally and definitively went out of fashion in the braindead mainstream audience's mind (and has been it ever since), so it's no surprise that Zomby Woof quickly disappeared without a trace.

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