From the title, you might figure this to be a best-of compilation, but as a representative Atomic Rooster overview, it has substantial drawbacks. The material is taken from what the liner notes judge as "the two most important periods in the group's career, 1970-72 and 1979-82," which means that there are some substantial gaps. The most glaring of these is the absence of any material from their first album, which happened to be the one featuring future ELP drummer Carl Palmer in the lineup, and hence the one of most probable interest to many listeners. The liner notes are often damnably vague about dates and sources for the tracks, though some are given. What's worse, their two big British hits, "Tomorrow Night" and "Devil's Answer," are represented not by the original versions, but live ones (a 1981 recording for "Devil's Answer," one of unspecified vintage for "Tomorrow Night"). The 1979-82 cuts, from when they were working the heavy metal market, don't sound incredibly different from the ones in the early '70s, although they're more guitar-oriented.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger