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


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.30 | 1565 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars With a trademark and singularily unique style, VDGG follows up the excellent Godbluff with an album almost as good, but one that is unable to connect with this listener.

The intro has a nice energy and dynamic, but the stately feel of the composition doesn't take the group far musically. My favorite track is probably the slow, poetic, and increasingly morose "My Room", which is brilliantly conceived and performed. The celebrated "La Rossa" is a lively and driving change of pace, with more intenste bottom end lending a more striking counterpart to Hammill's sometime sloppy though exciting vocals. This tune is a fine example of VDGG's songwriting style, moving from a quite and poetic intro to a unique organ-led rocker, shifting dynamics and tempo back and forth throughout. While as a whole enjoyable, this also highlights my only real problem with Still Life: the loud parts often turn into a directionless mess, with instruments sounding like they're stepping on each other's toes in an attempt to make as much classy noise as possible... and Hammills voice during these sections regresses into hollering very often.

This has the effect of undermining a lot of the connection I might have otherwise made to these songs. On Godbluff, for example, we were offered more thoughtful instrumental sections and, dare I say, hooks which are very likeable despite the complexity and ambience they're surrounded by. With Still Life we're offered no such life-lines, so the listener had best be prepared for old-school prog at its most dense and eccentric. Very close to a 4-star album.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |


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