JANUS - Gravedigger

Janus were a UK band who had much more success in Germany than in their home country. Hard rock was the name of the game, and it is exemplified perfectly in the opening track to their sole 1972 album. 'Red Sun' is the song that prompted me to get the album after I heard it on a compilation tape some years ago. Guitars crash and the vocals soar to deliver a classic hard rock song, with a guitar solo every bit as good as the song deserves. After that opening it was always going to be hard to follow it, and while 'Bubbles' valiantly makes an effort, 'Watcha' Trying To Do?' just does not seem to fit in with the rest of the album, being much too light-hearted for a band with a skeleton on their album sleeve. Their piece de resistance, however, is saved for side two, which is totally taken up with the title track. They throw everything they can think of into the mix - flamenco guitar, orchestras, seagulls, and spooky lyrics all combine to produce a magnificent end to the album. But that is not all, as on the CD re-issue you also get a drastically re-worked - even heavier version - of 'Red Sun' along with three other previously un-issued tracks, stretching the album to almost twice its original length. It has often been remarked that it is a mystery why this band were not much bigger here in the UK, but whatever the reason at least we can now hear what Germany has long already known - Janus were a great heavy rock band.