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Van Der Graaf Generator - H To He, Who Am The Only One CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.31 | 1486 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars 1970 was an absolutely fantastic year for the Charisma label. Genesis put out Trespass, Rare Bird released their masterpiece (As Your Mind Flies By), and the label gets to release not one but TWO classic albums by VdGG! H to He Who Am the Only One builds on its predecessors' achievements and diversifies the sound and mood a little - songs like the opening Killer show a bit more of a sarcastic sense of humour in the lyrics, with absolutely furious instrumental breakdowns (of which Jackson's saxophone work is surely the highlight), Pioneers Above C is a bemused puzzle about the implications of relativity for faster-than-light travellers, whilst House With No Door is a broken-hearted lament whose treatment of the everyday, down to earth subject of romance stands in stark contrast to the more esoteric concerns of the previous album.

Add a Robert Fripp guest appearance on The Emperor In His War Room, a stark warning to all abusers of power, and you have a package to excite any prog fan. A more than worthy successor to The Least We Can Do..., H to He Who Am the Only One is even more impressive when you consider the status of other major league prog bands in 1970.

- ELP were just making their first faltering steps and hadn't cut Tarkus yet. - Yes hadn't yet brought Rick Wakeman in to complete their classic lineup; the Yes album was certainly good, but it didn't yet have their classic sound. - Jethro Tull had yet to completely embrace a prog direction, and wouldn't do so until Aqualung came out. - Genesis were missing Phil Collins and Steve Hackett, and whilst Trespass was a decent enough start I think many will agree it was outshone by later albums. - Pink Floyd were meandering around *still* trying to find a new identity after Syd Barrett left. - Gentle Giant had just cut their debut and were still honing their craft. - King Crimson were undergoing a series of lineup changes, and hadn't managed to produce anything to match their all-powerful debut.

All this is enough to convince me that, whilst all of the above bands would grow to their full potential in the 1970s, at the start of the decade there was simply no force in the progressive scene more innovative, creative, emotive, or powerful than the mighty, all- powerful, all-conquering Van der Graaf Generator. And this album, if you listen to it and compare it to any 1970 release from the above, is more than ample proof of that.

Warthur | 5/5 |


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