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Peter Hammill - The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage CD (album) cover

THE SILENT CORNER AND THE EMPTY STAGE

Peter Hammill

 

Eclectic Prog

4.37 | 518 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ignatiusrielly
5 stars Willie, what can I say to you?...buy this album right now!!!! I┤m not one to make those 10 best.. rankings, since is very hard for me to decide the exact order in which I like albums or artists. Anyway, in the unlikely case someone asked me for my favourite album of all times, The silent corner and the empty stage would be a most probable answer. Therefore, seems like an obvious choice for my first review. The album opens with the stunning Modern, with its dark and oppressive mood, edgy Fripp-influenced guitars and razor sharp vocals (sure Halford got that one!). I particularly like the wicked blues section in the middle. When a record starts in such a way, it hardly gets any better, but...this one does!!!. Whilelmina is a classic Hammill ballad, really pleasant. The lie is another of the albumĘs headlights; with Hammill singing darkly over Banton┤s church organ, it really gives you the feeling of being alone in an obscured church. Then comes Forsaken gardens, another gem with a perfect melody and a vulcanic vocal performance. Side B starts with Red shift, the most crimson-esque song to my ears, sounds inspired by the mid section of Schizoid man. And surely an amazing one. Rubicon is the lowpoint of the album, not bad but nothing special about it. Alea jacta est. And in the end...A louse is not a home, maybe the best song Hammill ever wrote...maybe the best song anyone ever wrote, who knows. The whole VDGG lineup performing a very VDGG sounding one, with several parts, each one better than the other, sang by PH in a way that no one could match, not even himself, going fron whispers to spine-chilling screams. A perfect closing for a perfect album. A dark, somber, almost painfully beautiful album, with perfect geometry.And the lyrics...well they are brilliant, even for Hammill┤s standards. Although it doesn┤t sound like a concept one to me, most of the songs deal with loneliness and isolation in our world, most clearly in Forsaken Gardens (After all, what are we trying to do in the internet forums but showing our gardens to other people before each root is killed?). As he states in Modern: people are drawn together simultaneously torn apart. And in Red shift he compares isolation in our society to the movement of gallaxies away from each other.The feeling of solitude in this album is so intense that he ends up with the conclusion that people are imaginary, nothing else exists. The only weak spot would be the sound quality, that as in all PH/VDGG early records is quite poor (Notice that I own the Caroline CD, I haven┤t heard the remastered version), but in a way it adds to that feeling of disquieting mistery. Would I really want a better produced version? Who knows. All in all, you might have noticed that I really like this record. Even though my wife, who doesn┤t speak english, calls it agonizing music. A perfect match???
ignatiusrielly | 5/5 |

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