Cromagnon

Orgasm

  • AllMusic Rating
    6
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Depending on one's point of view, Orgasm (later reissued as Cave Rock) is either a ridiculously self-indulgent artifact of the '60s counterculture or an underground gem that was way ahead of its time -- and it's probably a little bit of both. The basic idea behind Cromagnon, an obscure East Coast group led by vocalists Austin Grasmere and Brian Elliot, was psychedelic rock combined with the sticks and stones of prehistoric cavemen, as well as with traces of folk-rock; it's a bizarre concept, certainly, but at times, it works. Most of the tunes on this 1969 session don't adhere to a traditional verse/chorus/verse/chorus song structure but rather, take a free-form approach -- and Cromagnon provide a lot of goofy, oddball grunting, screaming, and squealing that is obviously meant to enhance the album's "caveman appeal." Orgasm is a very weird, tripped-out album, that's for sure; Grasmere and Elliot go out of their way to be as strange as possible. But if Cromagnon can be too self-indulgent for their own good at times, the impressive thing is the way parts of Orgasm foreshadow a lot of the noise rock, industrial rock, and no-wave that was recorded in the '80s and '90s. Take the opener' "Caledonia," for example; with its distorted vocals and staccato groove, the tune almost sounds like it could be a Ministry or Revolting Cocks recording from 1989 rather than a psychedelic recording from 1969. And the industrial-like noise and distortion of "Toth, Scribe I" and "First World of Bronze" brings to mind Throbbing Gristle even though Throbbing Gristle didn't exist until 1975. So in its own obscure way, Orgasm is an experimental effort that, arguably, did its small part to benefit Throbbing Gristle, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, the Revolting Cocks, Einst├╝rzende Neubauten, Controlled Bleeding, and others who came along later. In 2009, ESP-Disk reissued Orgasm as a 48-minute CD; no liner notes were added, which is unfortunate because this rarity does have some historic value. Regardless, rock historians will find Orgasm to be an intriguing, worthwhile listen -- excesses and all.

blue highlight denotes track pick