Night Sun

Mournin'

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Long raved over by discerning collectors of '70s hard rock and metal, Night Sun's sole LP from 1972 was one of those overlooked gems which, through the fault of bad promotion, bad timing, or bad luck, barely notched a blip on the radar of rock & roll at the time of its release. Like many German hard rock albums of the day, Mournin' was produced by Conny Planck (Faust, Kraftwerk, David Bowie, etc.), who took the Manheim-based quartet into Hamburg's Windrose Studios in 1972, soon to emerge with nine consistently scorching heavy rock tracks enriched with organs and semi-proggy tendencies in a similar vein to Uriah Heep, Lucifer's Friend, and Deep Purple. The spastic, explosive "Plastic Shotgun," launches the album into immediate proto-metal hyperbole, but it's the ensuing, slightly more settled "Crazy Woman" that represents the core elements of Night Sun's potent yet regimented sound, including the first of many Purple-inspired guitar-and-organ solo jousts between Walter Kirchgassner and Knut Rossler. Next up, the suitably cryptic "Got a Bone of My Own" plugs the "prog" into its seven-minute equation, slowly rising from foreboding guitar echoes toward complex twists and turns; after which Night Sun churns out a fine pair of mid-paced, early-'70s organ metal in the Uriah Heep mold in "Slush Pan Man," "Living with the Dying" (complete with Ulrich Staudt drum solo), and the almost bluesy "Blind." Another standout, "Come Down," represents its title well by providing the album's only pause for breath, but its deliberate, creeping gait and sinister melodies still impart a sense of dread reminiscent of Atomic Rooster. Then, the furious cacophony of "Nightmare" once again recalls Deep Purple at their most rampant (only with Robert Plant at the helm, thanks to Bruno Schaab's high-flying vocals), and the horn-laden finale of "Don't Start Flying" makes for a nice, quirky conclusion to Mournin's exciting menu; a menu unquestionably rooted in the early '70s, but which still manages to attract new fans with every year that passes.