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Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 1961 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars Pawn Hearts is supposed to be the best and most significant release by VDGG. Well most significant may be true but best ... Personally I think Godbluff and Still Life are more bearable releases for me. For those who don't know yet: I'm not a fan (to say the least) but still review some of their albums because they happen to be in my collection.

Lemmings is one of the reasons I'm not fond of this album. It's simply an ugly song, only meant for their fans who must just about be able to stand everything you can think of.

This is just the highest thinkable grade of eclectic progressiveness I believe and is certainly not meant for any melodic music lover. I'm forcing myself to listen to it because I'm a prog reviewer and feel I have to give an opinion of one of the most significant albums in prog history. This song is really torture to me and if I should rate it as an individual song I would give it one star only I'm afraid. The best thing I can say about it is that it is original and innovative but that's really something else than good prog or good music. It reminds me of a sunday morning TV show we had years ago over here and in that show they played so called experimental music. Music with just dissonants, no melody line at all and I can remember I used to think when I heard it play: Are there really fans of this kind of music ? With this song (and also the epic on this album) I get the exact same feeling.

Next is Man Erg, one of PA's stream songs and this is more like normal music to me. But this doesn't necessarily mean it's a good song. On Godbluff there were two songs I liked but not one this album. Man Erg and the famous epic Plague of the Lighthouse Keepers are songs I can find some nice elements in but they are still miles away from great music as I usually like it. In the Godbluff review I said I like their wind contribution most of all because in my two favourite songs the sax makes actually melodic music but not on this album.

And about the epic: in the forum I read an opinion of an obvious fan of this song who said Supper's Ready is just a rip off of this VDGG-epic. I just can't see that. There are only differences for me if I compare these two epics. Maybe in structure there could be slight resemblance but Supper's Ready is much more melodic and more suitable for the average symphonic fan. For Plague you either will have to be a VDGG fan or an eclectic fan of the "heaviest" sort to love it. And that's a major difference to me compared to Supper's Ready. Besides that, the part from 12:02 to 13:20 is maybe the best example why I really dislike both this song and this album. Goodness me, you will have to be a broadminded progger to be able to appreciate this kind of .... well, let's say producing sound (something else than playing music). I think it's an insult to the word music. Not to be disrespectful to the many fans of this epic and album but it's my opinion I'm afraid.

Contrary to Godbluff and Still Life I personally feel the bonus tracks lift this release but that will have everything to do with my dislike for the three original tracks. And since I think the idea of reviewing this album is to review the original album I fear I can't implicate the bonus tracks for the rating which means I can give no more than one star. And this is because it's my honest and personal opinion. I'm not reviewing in an objective way, maybe then there would have been a higher rating but PA wants us to give our own opinion.

We can't all love this band and especially this album. It's far too exceptional for that. And every now and then the other opinion will have to be heard as well.

progrules | 1/5 |


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