Ardo Dombec - s/t. 1971 Germany

Ardo Dombec - s/t. 1971 Pilz

CD reissue: 2002 Garden of Delights

Packaging: Like almost all Pilz albums, Ardo Dombec's sole effort features a wonderful gatefold cover, this time showing a vanilla ice cream cone covering a cactus. This was one of the few Pilz albums not later reissued by the Pop Import label in the early 1980s. Oddly enough, given the cool cover concept, it's never been officially reissued on LP (not even sure there is a bootleg). The Garden of Delights CD is of their usual high standard, with full liner notes, photos, and 4 relevant bonus tracks. And that's the only version I own. Originals are very expensive, and not sure the music warrants the high price.

Notes: I think the most surprising aspect of the Ardo Dombec album is just how ordinary it is. Terms like "ordinary" and "1971 album on Pilz" just do not go together. The album starts off promisingly enough with 'Spectaculum', with its driving sax melodies and fast rhythms - perhaps indicating this could be like the awesome Nosferatu album. But alas it was not to be. Subsequent tracks show no progression, and they leave behind no memorable melodies either. By Side 2, the band have completely lost their way - the Louisiana back porch harmonica taking it to new lows. Final track 'Unchangeable Things' brings it back to a respectable level. The 4 bonus tracks on the GoD CD are in a similar vein. There's nothing egregious here, more like a flat line. This is a borderline Gnosis 9 / 3 stars effort, but I'm such a fan of the genre, I hear enough to keep it at the Gnosis 10 / 3.5 level. Not a riveting recommendation, I realize.


  1. Hi Tom,

    how do you know it was vanilla ice cream? :-)

    I kind of like this album, though it has not much do do with the typical Pilz-Kaiser-Kraut-stuff. Here is why: Ardo Dombec were originally signed for a BASF blues-hardrock label that was supposed to be called "mouse". Most groups already signed were then added to Kaisers Pilz and their albums released there (other went to the BASF main label). "Ardo Dombec" was therefore produced by one Jürgen Schmeisser who also did albums by Virus, Dies Irae and McChurch Soundroom, that are also not typical Ohr/Pilz stuff.

    Many greetings!


  2. Thanks Achim - I never knew about the Mouse label! That certainly explains the rock element of the Pilz label. Of the other 3 bands you mention, I've always felt McChurch Soundroom to be even more pedestrian than Ardo Dombec, though I know it's a big favorite of collectors. Dies Irae has some interesting moments, though it can be boring blues rock too. And for me, both the Virus albums are great! Especially the Pilz album "Thoughts".

    Oh - it's vanilla ice cream, because I tried to eat the cover. But those needles hurt! :-)

    Thanks again!

    - Tom


The Word of Life - Dust. 1995 Sweden

The Word of Life return with their sophomore, and ultimately last effort, Dust which is somewhat different from the predecessor. There'...