Bullfrog: Bullfrog

Hard rock and krautrock collide on this 1976 debut.

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On first listen Bullfrog’s 1976 debut suggests they have more in common with US blues-rock giants like Mountain than prog’s leading lights, but listen more deeply and a progressive sensibility becomes apparent. It begins with vocalist Gerd Hoch, who sounds like an Aryan version of Roger Chapman from Family, continues with the keyboard gymnastics of Harald Kaltenecker and all comes together beautifully on final track Desert Man.

Here the synthesiser strokes give an eerily krautrock definition to the music. Sebastian Leitner provides a virtuoso guitar performance that nods towards Steve Howe, and also Jeff Beck. This is the highlight of the six-track album, with much that comes before being slightly removed from what you might expect of a German band at the time guided by experimental producer Conny Plank.

But there’s no doubting the charisma of the Bullfrog style. I’m Comin’ Home and Get Away showcase the quintet’s ability to indulge in jam-style excursions, while I Came From The Sky has startling Hammond organ moments.

Not an obvious prog classic then, but it does prove why Bullfrog have a cult reputation.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.