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Peter Hammill - The Fall of the House of Usher CD (album) cover

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER

Peter Hammill

 

Eclectic Prog

3.41 | 69 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Since I haven't read the original Poe story, I have some difficulties to enter into this storyboard.

For sure, it is an album apart in Hammill's long and productive career. Unfortunately, I am not touched by the grace while listening to this album. About eighty minutes of complexity, weirdness and little, very little great moments.

I was thrilled with Lene Lovitch's participation. She released two great albums in the late seventies and I was quite of fan of this Lady. But her role as "Madeleine" is only three songs long, so don't expect too much from her parts. And to complete, I'm not impressed by most of the guest vocalists invited here.

Of course, the same magic as usual does work when the man (Usher/Hammill) enters the scene. Poignant, emotional, tortured. Almost vomiting his words as if his life depended on his performance. I can only be moved by a track as "the Sleeper"; even if the pomposity of the church organ is maybe a bit too much.

But this work as a whole is somewhat too hermetic ("Leave This House") and would hardly please the traditional Hammill fan. Even less traditional ones as I am.

"Dreaming" is the very much expected entrance of Lene, but even if she's brilliant in her vocal part, the backing instrumentals are just too loose and chaotic. This ain't a lucky number.

There is nothing I can do about it, but I am only touched by "Usher", and preferably when he sings on his own. This role is of course held by Peter (only for three songs out of the many from this album). Which is a bit short to my taste.

Most of the time, I have the impression to listen to a West End musical. Sound without vision in this case. Not a great experience I have to say. To be fairly honest, I believe that this album can only please an extremely limited amount of people.

I'm not saying that it is an elitist attempt but even if I have praised the man in lots of his albums (this one being at the very middle of his work so far - 2008), this one just doesn't work for me.

No surprise that the last appearance of "Madeleine" is one of the best song of the whole (It's Over Now) . But I'm probably biased by this great Lady. I miss her so much. Just two great albums and then the silence. Why did you do this to me, Lene?

This is a difficult Hammill album (as if there were "easy" ones). One has to hold on tight throughout these long seventy minutes. There are some passionate moments ("An Influence"), but too scarce to make this one a good album, IMHHO.

Two stars. This is how far I can go for "The Fall Of The House Of Usher": the last act (sixteen minutes) being particularly weak.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |

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