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Van Der Graaf Generator - H To He, Who Am The Only One CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.31 | 1486 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
3 stars Another holy cow of prog, another revered record, Van Der Graaf Generator's H to He, Who Am The Only One takes the new record of longevity when it comes to the period I've listened to it. Before reviewing it, that is.

I was warned that VdGG might be a little tough to get into, a statement both true and false. Musically I don't find this as challenging as I had imagined. It's complexity instead lies more in the dense, dark, whirling, mood-swinging atmosphere that cloaks this album, augmented by Peter Hammill's characteristic and dynamic vocal capabilities and the surprisingly stark lyrics. King Crimson is never really far away. A testament of this are the instrumental, more experimental passages that riddles especially the longer songs, plus a little dissonance here and there.

Guitar isn't VdGG's instrument of choice. Walking that way might be a big drawback for those of you that can live without it, I hardly noticed it until Fripp delivered a trademark dissonant solo in the album's, in my opinion, greatest song, The Emperor In His War Room, a wonderful flute- and organ-laced song with some discreet acoustic guitar. Thick flute, some saxophone and sturdy Hammond organ drives the heavier parts, making it a thoroughly enjoyable eight minutes.

All of these elements are all top-notch in my book. So most of the times I've listened to the album, with new hope and fresh ears, I've found myself analysing why I don't consider this a masterpiece. And after every listen I come to the same conclusion. What I can't fully appreciate is the vocals. Not Hammill's tone, no, that's just fine, but the overly dramatic, theatralic, way he delivers them. Perhaps it's even, as one of the previous reviewers noted, that the melody oh-so-often ends up carrying the vocals, over-shadowing itself in the progress.

What is for sure is that I'm not finished with this album, and that I'll gladly will be sucked in to its unique atmosphere and...secrecy many times more. But still, three stars.


LinusW | 3/5 |


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