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Van Der Graaf Generator - Present CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.61 | 551 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Thommy Rock

Okay, I'm a die-hard Hammill/VdGG fan, saw pH in concert for umpteenth times, got orgastic at the 'Still Life' performance of the original line-up at the last Elizabeth Hall Gig and never expected anything after that. But the old guard are back and still have it in them.

PRESENT is uneven, rough at times, with just five seemlingly composed tracks, the rest is improvisation: the listeners first impression. But with Hammill/VdGG first impressions do not count. You will have to listen again, and all of a sudden even the vague-st of moments makes sense. 'Every Bloody Emporer' starts off as a casual Hammill composition, but soon trancsents and all of a sudden the listener finds him/herself well in 'Godbluff, 'Still Life' and 'World Record' territory. 'Bolearus Panic' is the first of the instrumentals, a first whiff of the session feel of the record and a real treat at that. Here comes 'Nutter Altert', a rocker and an instant classic. Here comes the old guard, here for good (hopefully). Hammill is on top form for this track, doesnt't falter for a second, the backing as tight as it could ever has been (and was), Evans works his way through the beat with relentless energy, Jackson blows his heart out and Banton keeps it all together, as it is and was and ever will be. A truelly inspired 6+ minutes. 'Abandon Ship' is another magic manic power display with a heavy riff and predominant guitars and there is no let off with 'In Babelsberg': by now get the feeling that age doesn't necessarily mellow you, quite to the conterary, the older you get and are in Van Der Graaf the rockier you get. Marvellous! They actually mellow down on 'On the beach' but somehow you get the feeling that the guys believe they have to let the listener off for a few minutes.

Because on it goes with an inspired set of improvisations, as powerful and intricate as anything you would expect from a prog monster like VdGG. Here, on the second disc one could get lost without the guiding light that are pH vocals, but soon you get lost in the magnificent soundscapes of 'Slo Moves', 'Crux', 'The PRice of Admission' and so on.

Listen and learn, aspiring new 'Prog' Bands, this is where you come from, this is where you are going. Until we find you, we have Van Der Graaf Generator. Again. Still. A blast!!!

Thommy Rock | 4/5 |


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