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Van Der Graaf Generator - Vital CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 276 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars If you are an absolute stickler and don't accept anything that wasn't recorded by the "classic" line-up of Hammill, Banton, Jackson and Evans, then this is not the album for your ears. If you are a fan of the band's openness and willingness to explore new sonic territory, then this album is essential. The new line-up marked their territory by re-working some classic VdGG numbers, as well as bringing some newer material to the table. If there is one word to characterize their treatment of the songs, it would have to be "heavy". Whether it's the liquid metal assault of the album's opener, "Ship of Fools" or the emotionally intense "Still Life", the band tears into each number with an absolute ferocity which is unparalleled in earlier recordings. Considering the relatively recent formation of this particular line-up, it is remarkable to hear how tight they were as a unit on this particular outing. At the same time, they never sound too rehearsed, and so their freshness of playing together is very apparent. The album featured the return of Nic Potter on bass, sounding heavier and anything unlike his earlier incarnation on the band's ealrier outings. Here, his bass is nasty and fuzzed out, and together with the newly added string section of violinist Smith and cellist Dickie, they make for a very interesting replacement of Banton's missing organ. While Jackson is on the album, a technical problem caused his tracks to be lost, and so his parts had to be taken from other indirect sources, causing him to not be almost absent in the final mix. Fans of Hammill's raw guitar playing will love this recording, as he is all over it. He tears sounds out of his guitar with the same intensity as he does with his voice. This band was so far ahead of it's time and were willing to push the limits of what progressive could be, regardless of what old-timers expected to hear. Vital is just as it's title implies, sounding more relevant today than it ever has.
| 5/5 |


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