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Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Van Der Graaf Generator - H To He, Who Am The Only One CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.31 | 1480 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars This was the first VdGG album I bought back in Jr. High School in 1971. I had already listened to bits of the first two records, as a friend of mine loved Necromancer, but when I heard this album, with headphones the first time, it blew my mind. It's just as good through the big speakers but man, with phones on parts of this are downright scary. Being into all the other prog. rock bands of the day, key changes and meter changes were no big deal for this style of music, however VdGG took it to a new level. The emotion in Hammill's voice and the moodiness of Banton's keys just set the tone for something I'd never heard before. Jackson's no slouch, with melodies that range from quirky to aggressive to beautiful, kind of like Hammill's voice, come to think of it. The voice is not perfect, I don't think it would work if it were. Could Jon Anderson of Yes sing with the depth of emotion that's needed to make this stuff work, I don't think so. His voice is the song, the compositions are written around the voice and the lyrics. Nobody else could even begin to think up stuff like this, so while Hammill's voice is not perfect, it is perfect for this band. As a former drummer myself, I even had a jazz teacher, I loved what Evans brings to this sound. Just to be able to play these songs is one thing, but to make it sound easy is something else. His jazz style has a loose feel that makes the whole thing come together. I love Bruford, but his style would not have worked here.

The songs are just great. Pioneers may not be one of my favorites, but the others make up for it big time. In Killer, Hammill uses his voice like another instrument in the verse, actually, he does that a lot. The loose rythmic feel of Banton's solo, is countered by the tightness of the rythym section during Jackson's wild ride. Stunning. House with No Door should have been on the radio, but by then, I don't think VdGG really cared about airplay. House is one of the few songs by this band that stays melodic (Refugees and Out of My Book too), from beginning to end. I used to play this on piano, beautiful sad song. The Emperor goes from soft to rock hard all within the first verse. The organ coming in reminds me of tanks starting up their engines. It kind of growls a bit as it gets going. Fripps solo is inspired (I read they used the first tracks that were recorded because he couldn't top them). I especially love the melody line at the end of the solo, brilliant. Hammills lyrics paint a picture so vivid it reeks of death, his favorite subject. Lost is another of my favorites with changes galore. I love everything about this song. I didn't listen to these songs for a while, with the change from records to tapes and then cd's throwing a wrench in the works, but when I heard this song again it all came rushing back with a vengence. Incredible journey this one is. As I said, my least favorite track is Pioneers but I still listen to it most of the time. Once it gets started, I have a hard time turning it off until it's over. This is a must have disc.

vunder | 5/5 |


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