Review Summary: A genre-defining, game-changing record.
In the 50 years that have passed since the release of Phallus Dei, the world of psychedelic rock has shifted and changed with the times. Artists have switched up the formula via many different means, to varying degrees of success. Some modern examples have even become touchstones for the genre going forward, spawning countless copycat acts. Many of which I like and have praised along with everyone else.
But to me, Amon Düül II’s Phallus Dei will always remain the genre’s peak: psych rock’s ubiquitous masterpiece that has not lost a touch of the insanity and fervor it must have shown enthused listeners back in 1969 and would leave a legion of imitators in their wake. But none would ever match Düül’s manic blend of progressive rock, krautrock, traditional folk, and raga. The communal group of German artists would produce in 1969 what hundreds of others would one day try and replicate.
Writing this review, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was fighting a losing battle. Almost everyone who has heard Phallus Dei knows exactly just how wild it is, how influential it is, how incredible it is. But for those who have not heard of this album yet or those with even a mild interest, I dare not spoil this album for you any longer. To those who either description may apply, I envy you. Because if you decide to listen to this, you’re in for a genre-defining, game-changing magnum opus that will make you rethink your entire relationship to the genre of psychedelic rock.