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Logo variant 2CITRON "Plni energie"

(1986 Supraphon)

The first Czech heavy metal LP!

Today it is usuall difficult to understand how important was the album "Plni energie". The only rock albums in those days came from Katapult and Olympic... And suddenly there was an LP which started heavy metal mania in Czechoslovakia. The younger of you may disagree, why such strong words. It needs short explanation. If I am to describe the situation under the communist regime using just one word, the word would be uniformity. There was only one music magazine (Melodie), one magazine for young people (Mladý svět, with only one page dedicated to music, luckily sometimes about metal), three radios bringing mostly communist propaganda mixed with stupid pop music. The only source for rock music was a programme called Posloucháte Větrník. In this programme there was pretty often played heavy metal and rock. Definitely this was the only oportunity to listen to Czech bands from radio, e.g. Tango, Pumpa, Natural, Kern, Extra Band, Arakain, Titanic - and of course Citron. Sure, Citron was not a young band, they even released some singles... But the metal era starts not before 1984 with their 7inch "Tvá odvrácená tvář" / "Revizor", followed by another 7inch "Už couvám" / "Koncert", and the last one before the debut album was "Rock, rock, rock" / "Půlnoční město".

Logo variant 1It can be useful to write something brief about these songs, as they were a stable component of Citron repertoire (in fact, they are on play list til these days!). Both "Tvá odvrácená tvář" and "Revizor" are more hard rock than heavy metal songs. Both have quite simple lyrics, easy to remember with catchy choruses. Vocalist Standa Hranický manages to sing higher and lower positions, polymorphic guitarworks of Jarda Bartoň and Jindra Kvita and very readable bass of Václav Vlasák. Instrumentalist are very skillfull, only the output sound is not yet what we expect from music today. The only weak point is on drums. Bad sound, bad effort. Already in those early days Pařízek was not the best drummer and as time went on, he was getting worse. "Koncert" has slightly better sound, mainly concerning the bass drums and thus it sounds much harder, almost heavy metal. "Už couvám" is one of the greatest hits of the band. Another sound improvement came with "Půlnoční město", better drum effort and rawer guitars. And finally "Rock, rock, rock" we already know from the LP.

Its cover already contains new logo with sharp edges - maybe also a symbol of hardening the music. Intro was a must of all metal records of that period, but accordion playing folclore melody? But then comes a scream, fast bass drums, guitars and everything is clear. The first song is called "Ocelové srdce" (Heart of steel). And everything is clear - Citron plays heavy metal. "Rock, rock, rock" is a cursed song in my life story. I knew it before the LPs was out (from the single) and so it does not fit to the whole of the other new stuff. It is not the best song at all, although the chorus is very powerful. On the other hand, I enjoy "Věčný cizinec". Especially because of the authentic guitar sound, excellent vocals and pretty original lyrics. Of course, 80s heavy metal album must contain a ballad. Surprisingly it was not "Už couvám", but a song called "Vzpomínky". This became a new hit, maybe also due to much better lyrics than the older ballad. The following "Nechoď dál" little decreases the quality of A-side. The B-side is opened by the fasted song of the album. Only the guitars could be little louder, especially under the chorus. The lyrics are little unlogical, but who cares, the main thing the speed. However, the second side also has a weak track, especially concerning the lyrics. "Dej mi s tím pokoj" is about a babe having not enough money. I hated this topic 20 years ago. The final three songs bring the best of "Plni energie". "Zahradní slavnost" is maybe little too moralistic - criticism of corruption of butchers, plumbers and sale-assistants (in those days the most lucrative jobs: who was a friend of these people, had no problems with meat, clothes and bolier reparations, ha ha - yeah, this was also communism), but musically a perfect track. The really best and longest one is "Plni energie" - more themes, more time, choir growling, guitar solo in the middle. The closing track starts slowly but after few seconds it reaches the speed of all other songs. The final words "I am sorry..." belongs to those, who may dislike this album. But there was no metal fan who would not like Citron.

Few years ago someone said that after vinyls are over (?) it does not worth to waste energy on making too detailed layouts. Well, I agree, but in this case, the layout looks a bit funny. However considering the year 1986 it was an innovation, much hard-hitting than the single covers. Moreover with the mist on back side photos, big logo, fragments of some lyrics...

Well, sometimes it cracks when listening to this old album, notwithstanding I love it. Sure we cannot compare its sound with todays band, but we have to admit it sounds very well. Most of the songs were rerecorded and released on CD ("Best Of Citron" 1999), I still prefere the less perfect and more natural sound.

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