Amber Soundroom Ertlif (CH,1972+1971,1973,re.LP-2005)***°'
This is a high quality LP reissue with respect to the music, including an 8 page booklet with detailed background information and tons of pictures, making the album even more complete than it ever was before. Ertlif was named after a mystic alchemist from the 12th century, whose last copies of works were lost in the bombing by the allies of Köln and Dresden during the second Worldwar.
The band had a very attractive sound reminding me slightly of the wizardry and magicianship of the often underestimated 70’s band Uriah Heep. The powerful, emotional vocals, psychedelic organ and some piano, a good drum and handpercussion section, acoustic guitars harmonized and melted beautifully together into beautifully structured songs.
Ertlif were one of the first bands in Switzerland using some subtle virtuosity on keyboard & mellotron. This sound I guess must have influenced a handful of other Swiss bands (Deaf,..). They became part of the more hardrock influenced bands like Krokus and Toad. After a tour with Toad Ertlif became one of the few Swiss bands then who obtained a record contract in Switzerland, which was recorded in august 1972, in three days.
Just a handful of tracks on this album are more obvious bluesy hardrock, but the organ parts and structural changes with varied parts makes these tracks different and more ambitious. The song “Classical Woman” is a highlight from the album and is very symphonic. It shows the band at it’s best : a very emotional song with beautiful organ arrangements and building and opening up beautifully rhythmically with organ, drums, acoustic guitar. It also has a very surreal kind of psychedelic rhythmical & electric guitar/keyboards part, some beautiful mellotron, and some organ. The song “Plastic Queen” was recorded in 1973 with a new member (violin, piano) for a compilation album, and is another longer track. For this track the arrangements sound slightly denser. The organ and mellotron here is a bit more adapted into the hardrock/progrock band's sound. We have a short electric guitar solo. This was the band’s only track from later date.
The record was reissued on CD before by the Swiss Black Rills label in 1994, with one track in a different order. An unreleased demo track from 1971 is added to the LP. It shows a raw recording of the band, with a more simple bluesy song but similar arrangements of vocals, and moving glue organ, and some potential.