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Van Der Graaf Generator - Still Life CD (album) cover

STILL LIFE

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.28 | 988 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Still Life is the sixth studio album from Van der Graaf Generator. I´m new to the band and have listened to their albums from an end. I had a hard time appreciating and accepting the unique approach Van der Graaf Generator has to progressive rock and therefore my reviews of the first four albums weren´t as appreciative as they would be now ( I´ll redo them some time in the future). It was not until I came upon their fifth album Godbluff that I was truly intrigued or better put blown away by their innovative and experimental style and therefore I was really looking forward to listening to Still Life which is the successor to Godbluff.

Van der Graaf Generator disbanded after the tour for their fourth album Pawn Hearts and Godbluff was a kind of re-union album. The sessions for that album was a very fruitful and inspired time for the band and they wrote a lot of songs. Not all songs made their way unto that album and two of them, namely Pilgrims and La Rossa, are present here on Still Life. Van der Graaf Generator had performed both live for a while and really wanted them to be on Still Life. The three other songs on the album Still Life, My Room ( Waiting for Wonderland) and Childlike Faith in Childhood´s End was written for Still Life.

The music on Still Life is centered around Peter Hammill´s distinct vocal style and melody lines. Peter Hammill is a theatrical and emotional performer and his approach has taken me a while to appreciate, but today I regard him as one of the most original and unique progressive rock singers. His performance on Still Life is a bit more subdued than his generally aggressive style on Godbluff and due to that Still Life is a much more subtle album than Godbluff. Hugh Banton´s omnipresent organ playing is also a big part of Van der Graaf Generator´s sound while David Jackson´s sax and flute playing compliments the vocal melodies. Guy Evans is a great drummer. I really enjoy his style of playing. There are little regular bass on the album. Hugh Banton mostly uses bass pedals. The bass lines are usually pretty simple.

All five songs on Still Life are excellent progressive rock songs. Pilgrims, La Rossa and Childlike Faith in Childhood´s End are my favorites while the two more subtle songs Still Life and My Room ( Waiting for Wonderland) are still growing on me. The mood is very melancholic and the music is generally pretty dark.

The musicianship is excellent. Original and unique performances all over the line.

The production is excellent. Really enjoyable.

Still Life is one of the most unique progressive rock albums I have ever heard. Extremely emotional and cleverly composed. I´m still undecided if this is a true masterpiece and just the slightest hesitation in giving the 5 star rating means that I´ll give Still Life 4 stars. This is the kind of album that I might upgrade some time in the future though. This album just keeps growing on me the more I listen to it. Right now I think that Godbluff is a notch better than Still Life but if you enjoyed that album be sure to check this one out as well as they are like freak siblings. If you like your progressive rock dark and a bit out of the ordinary Van der Graaf Generator should certainly tickle your treat.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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