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Peter Hammill - In Camera CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 452 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Peter Hammill - In Camara (1974)

Right before Van Der Graaf Generator's second peak moment Peter Hammill recorded 'In Camara' and 'The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage', much in the same artistic spirit. Some of the ingredients are much the same; Peter Hammill's mad psychedelic vocals with confrontational content and Guy Evans' impressive drums. Different from VdGG's classics is the use of more synthesizers and symphonic equipotent and the absence of the dominant organ sound. Furthermore there's no wind-section.

In Camara has two faces. Some songs on side one feature some intimate and tame atmospheres with a gentle symphonic sound. Hammill is even willing to portrait himself as a good harmonic vocalist in these sections. Luckily for the fans of the heavy psychedelic - almost sadomasochistic - painful moments of musical and lyrical bombast the main ingredient of the album is Hammill's dark face. On side one the music is growing in unrest over the course of the first songs and we don't have to wait for more then seven minutes to hear the first desperate shouts of Hammill. Side two is however way more acid-like with the unpleasant but impressive The Comet, the Course, the Tail with it's heavy vocals. With the seventeen minute long 'Gog Magog' Peter Hammill proves to be the main man behind the Pawn Hearts formula. In this epic with an almost unbelievable aggressive and psychedelic vocal section it becomes apparent that fans of Pawn Hearts shouldn't be worried that it's the only music of it's sort. After the vocal sections the epic evolves into a dark sound-scape that runs for over seven minutes I think. It is this nightmare that is chosen to be the final impression of the album, it turns out to be the ending section of this already troubled work. The sounds used are however impressive and the atmospheres distinctive.

Conclusion. Let it be clear by now that this is not the music most symphonic prog listeners would be comfortable with whilst listening to it. This is album is a partly symphonic and for the bigger part acid/psychedelic. The immense firing power of Hammill and group is the main reason the music is so attractive for those who can get into it. It's great music because it's unlikable and totally unsuited for a wider audience, whilst still being innovative, honest and unique. Very progressive one might add. Three and a halve stars, but it might grow on me. Recommended only to fans of VdGG, Peter Hammill and listeners of avant-garde and brutal metal (they might just like this).

friso | 3/5 |


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