Diluvium: an obscure work of ’70s epic heavy psychedelic prog rock by a trio of teenage musicians

Ainigma, Diluvium, Germany, Garden of Delights, CD118 (reissued 2006)

As far as I can tell, “Diluvium” was the only album ever released by the very obscure German psychedelic acid prog rock trio Ainigma in the early 1970s. The band members were apparently aged 16 to 17 years of age when they recorded this work so while it may not be a very original recording – it might even have been considered quite retro for the period – it has a very raw and hard edge, and is a powerful work of heavy psych-fuzz prog rock. The production on the album is quite crude and rough but this means the guitars have a strong noisy fuzz texture and the music sounds heavier and bulkier than it actually is. Not to mention that the frizzly guitar edge to all the songs helps to bring them to a young audience brought up on dense, noisy layered music. Add the youth of the musicians themselves, with their energy and passion for the music, and we have here a recipe for a cult album.

The original album ran to about 36 minutes whereas the repackaged product (with two bonus tracks, of which one is the instrumental version of the 17-minute title piece) boasts nearly a 60-minute playing time. Main instruments used are guitars, bass, percussion and Hammond organ driven to its limits in its range of sounds, especially on the title track as it was originally recorded where the keyboard gains a plaintive, quavering quality that makes it sound like alien drone waves from outer space. “Diluvium” has a doomy Sabbath-like quality in the almost wailing vocals but the heavy psych rock jamming, dominated by moaning organ and searing guitars, is a truly awe-inspiring and mind-blowing phenomenon in itself. You can see the guitars burning up in flames of unnatural fluorescent orange colour and the brilliant fires consuming the cold background as organ zips around and through several dimensions of existence as it reaches a level of intense emotion that drives it bat-shit insane. Just as you think the song can’t be any more impassioned and near-hysterical, towards the end of the track the music suddenly breaks into a spasm of stuttering organ and crashing drumbeats and cymbals. The instrumental version of the title track doesn’t add much extra apart from more burning acid guitars, thundering percussion (with an extended drum solo) and weird spaced-out organ.

The first three tracks on the album are no slouches either as improvisational jam sessions of slashing fuzz guitar, spooky Hammond organ, a drum set being seriously bashed and near-choirboy vocals. “Prejudice” passes through several phases of heavy psych rock-outs including moments of deeply sinister organ droning. “You Must Run” is an urgent hard-rocking song of battery-acid six-string screech, energetic marching percussion and swirling organ that takes the lead guitar role in the second half of the track. The spitting corrosive guitar tones are really something to treasure as they splash and bleed into your skull. “All Things are Fading” is a darkly moody, evenly slightly depressive piece with cold organ and thundering drums.

Admittedly the singing is not great and is thin compared to the music though listeners need to remember the musicians were all very young when they made the album. Both versions of “Diluvium”  (the song) meander quite a lot though the musicians are a good tight unit who throw out some thunderous riffs and demented organ melodies. The tracks don’t have definite structures but flow where they will, given the band’s improvisational approach to song composition.

Lovers of heavy epic psych rock with doom bombast may be keen on investigating this obscure release. It does sound a bit aged and manic due to the presence of Hammond organ which has a major role on the recording but don’t let this put you off. The young teenage musicians who produced this work made a major masterpiece of musical juvenilia for their time. Anything remotely similar in emotional and musical intensity and sheer adventurousness, whether of the same period or before or after, would be very rare.

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