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ROTOR (Festsaal Kreuzberg) LP/CD

ROTOR's first live album is just the right thing for people like me, who so far hadn't the opportunity to see this Berlin band live. For one thing, 'Festsaal Kreuzberg' shows that these guys really flourish on stage. The interplay between all three musicians is flawless and especially bassist Marco Baale cuts a fine figure. There are moments when he reminds me to Mel Schacher who was the genuine bassplayer for Grand Funk Railroad. Of course, Baale is not as gifted as Schacher, but his bass plays also a dominant role in ROTOR's endless powerful groove orgy.

In contrast, the guitar sound is sometimes a bit feeble which does not mean that the entire performance suffers from it. It's just great fun to listen to the included nine songs that come from the band's third and fourth record. The songs are full of finesse, dynamic flexibility and show an infectious joy in playing. Despite the band's technical superiority and progressive approach, 'Festsaal Kreuzberg' is an ass-kickin' affair covered in sweat. I think this is definitely one the band's most noticable strenghts: technically sophisticated songs that are still pretty catchy and memorable. These cats never lose themselves in infinte sonic wankery.

Instead, they have incorporated unexpected breaks and surprising tempo changes which ensure a high degree of entertainment for the listener. No surprise that there's is absolutely no need of a vocalist. This is all the more true in a ROTOR live show. It seems as if they had the same idea, since 'An3R4' is presented here without vocals, contrary to the studio version. 'Festsaal Kreuberg' underpins ROTOR's exceptional position in Germany as one of the best heavy progressive rock bands. This record is essential for fans, but also a good start for novices.