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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 | 1554 ratings

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4 stars I very recently had a dream in which I was listening to a Van Der Graaf Generator album, I don't know which one but it was good. I remember listening to a guitar solo and thinking "woh, Peter Hammill is an amazing guitarist, I've never heard this solo before." I then remember thinking "nah, that can't be Peter Hammill it must be Robert Fripp because he plays on some Van Der Graaf Generator albums." I woke up the next morning and reflected on this strange dream. For the rest of the morning I listened to some Van Der Graaf Generator albums searching for the album guitar solo I heard in my dream. If that dream tells me anything, its that I listen and think about prog too much.

I here lots of talk about Pawn Hearts being the darkest Van Der Graaf Generator album, I however disagree and I think that "H to He Who am the Only One" is. Just take one listen to the album and you will see what I mean, the references to death and torture are very obvious. Even look at the song titles,"Killer", "The Emperor in his war Room" and so on. Also lines like "Live by sword and you shall die so" and "bodies torn by vultures" cement the idea into my mind. You're probably thinking "so what?" Well I'm just saying that "H to He Who am the Only One" is the darkest Van Der Graaf Generator album.

Though I don't like very dark and depressing albums, I have to say that even though "H to He Who am the Only One" has many unpleasant references, it is in no way a bad album. When you compare the death vocals in stuff like Opeth to the stunning voice of Peter Hammill you may think Opeth is the more haunting of the two. You know what's funny? "H to He" is more haunting because unlike Opeth, Van Der Graaf Generator is able haunt you with eerie sounds, vocals and atmospheres, while Opeth relies on insanely loud music and death vocals. I'm not sure if Opeth is trying to scare anyone but I have to compare VDGG to something.

The Saxophone and Peter Hammill's chilling vocals have always been the defining factor to the uniqueness of Van Der Graaf Generator's music, and this album is no different. From the Opening seconds of the first song "Kille"r, you'll get the feeling that H to He is going to have a lot of sax. And when the first lyrics come sounding like this "So you live in the bottom of the sea, and you kill all come near you" there is an immediate chilling atmosphere. This atmosphere spans the entire album but it is strongest in "Kille"r and "The Emperor in his war Room".

The first song on "H to He" "Killer", sets the mood of the entire album as well as I've ever heard, as I've said earlier even from the opening seconds one can deduce a chilling album is immanent. The Saxophone is the standout here along with Peter Hammill's vocals. For once you are able to here the guitar on this song; it's not half bad either. Killer is perhaps the best song on "H to He" and for me it is on my most played tracks list. Following "Killer" is an equally good song called "House with No Door" which has an overall more pleasant melody and a more inviting feel, while not as prominent as "Killer" it is still a worthy song. Next on the board is the menacing "The Emperor In His War-Room", this song is genuinely disturbing and it is very effective at painting images of torn corpses and dead people. This may not appeal to everyone but I just have to say that it isn't as bad I make it out to be. "The Emperor In His War-Room" is another high point on "H to HE" and it shows true progressiveness and some flute for once! Lost, the next song starts off with a very lively tune which inevitably changes and becomes darker. Lost passes through several time changes and in the end has a crashing finish. The last song on "H to He" is another very chilling song which is proficient at creating.images. There is a long mostly instrumental section which starts around the sixth minute and leads to the almost unfinished end of the piece, and album.

1. Killer (5/5) 2. House With No Door (4/5) 3. The Emperor In His War-Room (4/5) 4. Lost (5/5) 5. Pioneers Over C. (4/5) Total = 22 divided by 5 (number of songs) = 4.4 = 4 stars Excellent addition to any prog music collection

So far its been all praise from me, and you are probably think why I only rated "H to He" four stars, well that's because it's difficult to enjoy. I'll let you find out what I mean. The remaster of "H to He" comes with two bonus tracks called "Squid 1-Squid 2- Octopus", a interesting 15 minute epic and the first version of "The Emperor In His War- Room." I'd recommend this album to who ever.

Australian | 4/5 |


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