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Van Der Graaf Generator - Vital CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 285 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
4 stars When I heard this album for the first time, I had to overcome one major stumbling block: my own expectation. This album wasn't the least like I had expected. VDGG had introduced a rough edge to their sound since they regrouped in 1975, but little did I know that this edge had become so sharp in a live setting. I quite liked the new songs on it but I thought the VDGG classics were a massacre.

This incarnation of VDGG has an entirely different line up. No Hugh Banton organ and, except for a few tracks, also no David Jackson. The losses were compensated by the return of Nick Potter on bass, Graham Smith on violin and a certain Dickie on cello. Also Hammill's quircky electric guitar comes more to the fore and, if you still had your hopes up for some melodic pleasure, also his harsh vocals won't add any.

The heavily distorted bass of Potter and Evans' compulsive drumming take the lead, creating a blunt and bleak stab of energy and passion. Depending on your predisposition that will either mean ugly or awesome. In the 20 years since my first exposure to this side of VDGG, my judgement has changed along similar lines, from ugly to stunning. In retrospect, this was the album that initiated me to the harsh energy of punk. In fact, this album has a certain grunge and punk vibe rather then a prog one. It's as if the Melvins or NoMeansNo were doing a set of VDGG songs.

Another word of advice (which goes for all VDGG albums). Please throw away any of the first generation CDs you might have bought. They are all simply horrible. Instead you get your hands on the great 2005 re-releases. They will make you forget the flat mid-range of the initial CD releases and will bring the sound of the original vinyl back. That certainly goes for Vital, where the reissue also restores the original track list.

This live album reveals a side of VDGG that won't please every fan, but the live adrenaline just pours out of the speakers. Besides, it has an advantage over many other live albums. Instead of bringing live clones of the originals, this album will truly add something to your collection, a disturbing view on this band for instance.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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