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Van Der Graaf Generator - Vital CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.73 | 208 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Unfortunately I only have heard the shortened original CD reissue, I need to track down the remaster! Keep that in mind when reading this review . . .

On the whole I think this is a very under-rated album. The year was 1978 and London was hardly buzzing with the sounds of prog rock at the time! But believe it or not VDGG was one of Johnny "Rotten" Lydon's favorite bands as a teen -- and you can hear a bit of influence from Hammill's singing style there (also in Iron Maiden's vocals, and they came on the scene right about this time too.) My point being, "Vital" seems to be somewhat influenced by the punk sound of the day -- Hammill plays LOUD electric guitar (not typical of VDGG at all!) -- a bit of an older generation giving back / showing up the younger generation they influenced. (Though it's almost a bit sad in a way too, like you can tell the band is about to break up -- the times they were a-changin' -- and considering what bands like Yes & Genesis were doing in the 80's, probably a good thing!!!)

Of course this is still Van der Graaf however, so the structures and complexities of the music are far, far beyond any punk rock!! The older material in these arrangements is somewhat interesting, but I think a lot of the best songs are the non-LP ones, like "Door" and "Ship of Fools."

On the downside, the mix is pretty lousy -- normally Jaxon would use several tracks to record the saxophone, on account of all the electronic effects he used. Here he's squashed into one track and not mixed very high. But then this one is really more about the traditional rock instruments: guitar, bass & drums.

| 4/5 |


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