Rotomagus Discography Tracks

Singles & EPs

Rotomagus - Le Haut Du Pavé / Nevada album art Rotomagus Le Haut Du Pavé / Nevada (Single) Polydor France 1969 Sell This Version
4997 Rotomagus - Eros / Madame Wanda album art Rotomagus Eros / Madame Wanda(7", Single) CBS 4997 France 1970 Sell This Version
BS 007 Rotomagus - Fightin' Cock album art Rotomagus Fightin' Cock(7", Single) Butterfly Records (4) BS 007 France 1971 Sell This Version
CAME 55 Rotomagus - Eros / Madame Wanda / Fightin' Cock / The Sky Turns Red album art Rotomagus Eros / Madame Wanda / Fightin' Cock / The Sky Turns Red(7", EP, RE) Cameleon Records (2) CAME 55 France 2017 Sell This Version


Rotomagus - The Sky Turns Red: Complete Anthology album art Rotomagus The Sky Turns Red: Complete Anthology (Comp) Lion Productions, Martyrs Of Pop US 2011 Sell This Version


Add Review



May 16, 2016
In Roman times, the city of Rouen was originally called Rotomagus, but why such a barbarian Rock band as Rotomagus would go by that is puzzling: unless it was out of some idiosyncratic pre-Napoleonic civic pride, I dunno. But I do know that both sides of their “Eros” / “Madame Wanda” 45 are entirely sung in French, excellently overwrought in the then-emerging Progressive style and very heavy. In the French Rock mag ‘Rock & Folk’ Jacques Chabiron wrote, ‘Rotomagus create an emotional music, violent, even aggressive, where abruptly moments of backward flow fit... of violent contrasts, abrupt falls of tension in the rhythm. Much work in the vocal parts.’
Make that a LOT of work in the vocal department, for on both sides at least four or five vocals are arranged to weave and break its moorings as they waft above and all around the tightness and flinging rocks at each in the form of hectic time signatures that emanated from the ruins of the minds of these Rouenese upstarts. “Eros” is hard progressive Rock with multi-part vocal interplaying within an arrangement that seeks to take 10 minutes worth of ideas and compress them all into a 2:15 single side. As heavy drumming keeps everything tightly nailed down, there’s a classical breakdown in the middle and for most of time, vocals call and respond and issue forth in a pre-Queen segment of “Bohemian Rhapsody” with all the dexterity of “Oh, Mama Mia!” but replaced with hulking brutes in tutus declaring public death threats and love letters in the town square. So much passes so quickly, it can’t all be taken in the first several spins as it’s such a head rush bearing down towards the finale. The second side opens with an introductory “Voodoo Chile” riff cranky with colic soon steamrolled out of existence with blistering fuzz guitar as “Madame Wanda” unfolds into some tremendously restrained yet once more, bestial progressive Rock territory. Rapid wah-wah guitar like a whinnying, quivering saw combines with slapback echo tambourine (!) of dub snare qualities to dizzying and spectacular extremes. Again a highly complex vocal arrangement comprised of harmony vocals lets loose in the highest registers available to bearded men until a sudden breakdown into a quiet psychedelic calm before the storm...which is where the Rotomagi return to stomp it down, and I mean: WAY down.
After CBS unceremoniously dumped Rotomagus along with Chico Magnetic Band after one single apiece, Chico Magnetic Band went on to record their excellent eponymous album for Disques Vogue while Rotomagus went on to only one further single, released on the Sonopresse imprint of Butterfly Records. I don’t know how many of the original crew reconvened on this single, but I’d hazard a guess that Rotomagus were shaved way down from its original six man crew and that it was performed by the Peresse brothers plus drummer Jacky Billaux. Not only because I don’t hear any of the intricate vocal parts, flutes or French horns present on the previous 45, but because here Rotomagus sound like an almighty gonzoid power trio. Not on the B-side (which blows, natch.) But what of the A-side?

Get ready to have thy sox rocked well and truly off, for these Rouenese cocksparrers let loose with one insane track that will make you question why this song is absent from the first chapter of every tome written on the roots of punk Rock, I kid you not. The first time I heard this track, I did not freak out. I merely walked into a nearby closet and screamed my head off for a minute solid, beat the floor and ripped my t-shirt. I think I also broke something, but I didn’t hear it crash due to the raging blastitude emanating from outside the door. Then I cowered when it hit me: This thing came out in 1971? Insanity. Before “Damaged”? *I* felt damaged. Before “Raw Power”?! I just lost my mind. Fuck, this steamin’ side was recorded even before the SESSIONS for “Raw Power” that birthed “I Got A Right” and “Gimme Some Skin” so it was even before THAT? The only thing that predates this monster in terms of being a full-on amassing of all things heavy is “Pumped Up” and all the other many key points on Sir Lord Baltimore’s “Kingdom Come” LP and THAT’S it, brother. This track is so good; it scares me into a stupefying state. Three and a half minutes of to the point, snotty as fuck and out there in your face PUNK. Like Greg Ginn before he had a bellyful of his Dad’s psychedelic spaghetti and started bonging it up to umpteen spins of “Steal Your Face” and Sabbath’s “Born Again” Dio-saster, combining his playing on “Rise Above” with James “Strait” Williamson and managing to sound like a revved Tony Iommi simultaneously. Incredulous, I know...only it ain’t. Glib? Nope: The solo is SHREDDING. Especially when the guitarist momentarily trips up on maintaining top speed when he’s tripled the velocity and a note cluster goes AWOL and totally out of reach because his wrist and knuckles are seizing up -- but keeps powering it onward regardless; going for broke even (especially) when it’s JUST out of reach. MERDE: it’s this sort of will to Rock it out that casts the enter thing with a special momentum unto oblivion. And the vocals are spat out so Ur-Oi Gestalt, I always give the “V”s along to it, 77 ‘punk unity’ stylee: “FIGHT! / COCK! / ’E WUZZA FIGHTIN’ COCK!” And the drumming is fantastic, too -- with one snare, hi-hat, bass drum, two toms and two trashed cymbals that sound flat as pangs or maybe rusty tin garbage can lids given the thrashing of their short-lived existence. The extended “Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown” bass zooms are nuts and when they set up the guitar solo it’s as though it’s just gotten caught on electrified razor wire and just stays there frying interminably. And the fake rooster caws fore and aft are truly raving, drooling and cock-a-doodle-doo’ing as if heralding the dawn of punk...for it is right here. Pre-Skydog, too.

Videos (9) Edit