Exposé Online banner

Vágtázó Halottkémek — Naptánc (Dancing with the Sun)
(Neurot NR007, 2000, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-09-01

Naptánc (Dancing with the Sun) Cover art

Discovering this CD was serendipitous. I was in the record store browsing through the racks and this CD’s neo-psychedelic artwork caught my eye. Then the quote on the back clinched my decision to buy “Tribal rhythms and melodies of the ancient Huns ride through the cosmos with a psychedelic fury of electric guitars and kettle drums. Shamanistic space rock visions from these legendary Hungarian pagans.” I was in for a treat! But let me give you a little background on the band first.

In the mid 70s, Hungary was a repressed Communist country. Musicians outside the pop mainstream had a difficult time. Despite these obstacles, Vágtázó Halottkémek (Hungarian for Galloping Coroners) formed in 1975 and started creating their unique musical vision. Over the years their explosive and controversial live performances (the band’s first eight shows were shut down by police raids and they were quickly blacklisted by the Communist government) the Galloping Coroners have become recognized throughout Europe as a distinguished cult band. Now with their latest release Naptánc (Hungarian for Dancing with the Sun), the Galloping Coroners have found a home on a US label.

Galloping over the steppes under the leadership of Grandpierre Attila, the Galloping Coroners’ latest release, Dancing with the Sun is a live recording of 11 songs culled from a series of European concerts in 1999 plus a bonus studio track recorded in 1998. The music is a fascinating blend of punk, psychedelic, progressive, and space rock. All song titles and lyrics are in Hungarian. The liner notes give the lyrics in both Hungarian and English. The first song, "Conjuring up the Wonder Stag," is an energetic punk/prog rock fusion with shouted exhortations, chants, and melodic guitars. The next song, "Inspiration," is a short percussive piece with the drone of a didjeridoo. The title track is an ethnic / folk influenced song that really rocks! They then slow things down a bit with an instrumental, "Crytallising Desire," a song with bass, percussion, acoustic guitar, and chanting. It has a quiet dreamlike quality. Next in time is "Tiny Red Dragons," with acoustic guitars sounding like an American Western complete with “Indian” chanting even though the lyrics are more in the realm of faerie. The sixth song is "A Fairy-Tale Playground," a 16 minute instrumental with violin, guitar, bass, and chimes. This is a beautiful song similar in style to acoustic Krautrock (Witthueser and Westrup). "Spinning into Joy" is a short instrumental (one minute) that slips by unnoticed after the previous song. The eighth song is "Fire-Full Dance," another instrumental that changes direction. It is dissonant with scraping guitars and Shamanistic shouting. It ushers in "The Life of the Spherics," a martial piece with pounding kettle drums. This song is about signals from space and the Galloping Coroners’ response. "With My Ancestors" follows, another aggressive song that captures the essence of the Hun and nomadic life. The final live song is "Huns in Budapest." This is a loud, raucous, hardcore punk influenced song on nationalistic Hun pride. The album closes with the bonus studio track, "Magus Star," a space rock song with lots of reverb, electric guitar, and bass. It reminds me of the obscure British band Dead Flowers.

Dancing with the Sun is a superb American debut for this Hungarian band. I highly recommend this recording!


Filed under: New releases, 2000 releases

Related artist(s): Vágtázó Halottkémek (Galloping Coroners)

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Quartet Noir - Lugano – Saxophonist Urs Leimgruber has an extensive recorded history stretching back to his involvement in the free jazz group Om in 1974. Quartet Noir is his collaboration with past co-conspirators pianist...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues