Always driven by Vincent Crane's keyboards, Atomic Rooster road a firm line between the hard and progressive. Crane and drummer Carl Palmer, first together in Arthur Brown's band, made one album before Palmer was off to ELP. The band hit their stride however after John DuCann and Paul Hammond joined. They released two albums in 1971, with vocalist Pete French joining for In Hearing of, generally regarded as their best. That didn't last, as the band was always beset with personnel changes.
Ex Yes members featured in the first incarnation of the band. Their debut album, recorded live while supporting Yes, has a slight christian slant to the lyrics. Second album saw the arrival of Jackie Lomax. Recorded in New Orleans with Allen Toussaint the album has ditched the progressive for a very soulful approach.