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Van Der Graaf Generator - Vital CD (album) cover

VITAL

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

3.73 | 190 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

fuqxit
5 stars First, let's put things in perspective. This is '77/'78. Most prog bands at this point were floundering at best. This album not only redifined these songs, but improved on them. I am a die-hard VDGG fan/defender (you have to be both), and while Hugh Banton was integral to VDGG, he was also a bit of the problem. While I love MKI, only Godbluff stands from the second period. And MKI was also a flawed effort at times. But here you have what I consider to be the ultimate din Hammill was looking for. "Ship of Fools" opens with almost a punk/metal assault, sure to send any DREAM THEATER "appreciater" scurrying for his GIT textbooks. It is a shame that Jackson missed the first side, (one can only imagine his contribution to this and the next song). And the next song...Freed from Banton, "Still Life" takes on a passion and rawness that the sterile environment of the eponymous album never approached. I would take Nic Potter over Hugh Banton any day (see PH-"Room Temperature"). The string intro, followed by the cacophony of the bass and guitar (so he's no Steve Howe, how about Neil Young), to the horrific outro...Great! I don't want to go song by song, but each one is better than the original and reworked for the new band and time. And this is no small feat, considering most prog at this point was considered mindless fairy-tale passivity. Not only is VDGG validated in their ability to change with the times, but also in the fact that the songs they drew from were not to be dismissed. I would not recommend this as a starting point,(because you will be disappointed with the originals). Start with anything from "Godbluff" backwards, and "Quiet Zone" is OK (try PH7 instead). Dismiss "Still Life" and "World Record". I've tried to listen to them for years and can't do it. But if you are only going to buy one, this is the one. 5 stars. Essential then, essential now.
fuqxit | 5/5 |

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