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Deep cuts: Riches from the rock underground

Cover art for Bachdenkel's Lemmings

Described as “Britain’s greatest unknown group” in the short-lived UK edition of Rolling Stone magazine in 1969, progressive hopefuls Bachdenkel formed in Birmingham in 1968 and have, for various reasons, remained an enigma ever since. Frustrated at their lack of homegrown success, they relocated to France in 1970, and recorded this captivating album there that summer. Unfortunately Lemmings wasn’t released until three years later, and only in France.

Thematically there seems to be a religious feel running throughout the record. It’s a very dramatic work, packed with well-crafted atmospheres, hypnotic melodies and repetitive structures, which have a genuinely psychedelic presence. Each of the seven tracks bleeds in and out of the next, as if it’s one continuous passage. An Appointment With The Master is a shining example of the overall Bachdenkel formula, with Beatles-meets-Pink Floyd-style vocal lines droning over pounding drums, and blinding acid guitar workouts that seem to penetrate consistently in the background. The Settlement Song and Come All Ye Faceless – clocking in at 11 and nine minutes respectively – are in themselves brooding early prog-rock masterpieces.

After the eventual release of Lemmings, Bachdenkel continued to be active until 1975, when they recorded a follow-up album titled Stalingrad. Again they struggled to find a label to release it, leading to the band’s inevitable demise. It was released posthumously in 1977.

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