The little-known German band, Night Sun, is one of the earliest groups to blend heavy metal with progressive rock—and they did it really well. They were around for just a few short years, and released only one record, but it’s a MONSTER.
Night Sun were based out of Mannheim, and though many members passed through the Night Sun ranks—including former servicemen of the British army stationed in Germany—their identities are largely unknown. But we do know the lineup that appears on their lone album, Mournin’: Walter Kirchgässner played guitar; Ulrich Staudt was the drummer; multi-instrumentalist Knut Rössler took on piano, organ, saxophone, trumpet, and trombone; bassist Bruno Schaab was also the singer, voicing all of the lyrics in English.
The most famous individual to orbit the Night Sun universe was the producer/engineer of Mournin’, the great Conny Plank (Krafterwerk, Neu!, etc, etc). In the LP credits, the producer is listed as “Aamok Musikproducktion,” which was the name of Plank’s company. The album was released by Zebra Records, a German label, and was distributed by Polydor International.
Night Sun comes out blazing with the opening track on Mournin’, “Plastic Shotgun.” The mix of Deep Purple’s organ-driven hard rock and heavy metal masters Black Sabbath, executed with the speed and precision of prog rock, is startlingly great. Get ready, ‘cause “Plastic Shotgun” is gonna blow your head off.
Other groups that come to mind while listening to Mournin’ include King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, and Billy Joel’s wild, pre-fame two-piece, Attila. We’ll embed a few more of our favorites from the Night Sun record, but if you like what you hear—and we assume you will—check out the entire LP here.
If coming to the conclusion that you must have an original Zebra pressing of the record, be aware that a decent copy will likely set you back a couple hundred bucks—at minimum. As of this writing, the least expensive one on Discogs exceeds $700. The Second Battle label re-released Mournin’ on LP and CD, but even those reissues can be on the pricey side, as they are now out of print. The only format available on Amazon is the CD and it ain’t cheap.
As is the case with much of Night Sun’s history, when they broke-up is unclear, but the unit likely called it a day sometime in 1973. Bruno Schaab briefly joined a more familiar German prog group, Guru Guru, while Knut Rössler hooked up with jazz-rock outfit, Chameleon. The remaining two members of Night Sun, like the band and the Mournin’ album, quickly faded into obscurity.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
A 25-minute live version of Magma’s ‘De Futura’ that will blow your mind