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Van Der Graaf Generator - H To He, Who Am The Only One CD (album) cover

H TO HE, WHO AM THE ONLY ONE

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.30 | 1088 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Heptade
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The most accessible album in the VdGG catalog (relatively speaking!), this album shows a young band with prodigious talents that would develop into the monsters of "Still Life" and "Godbluff". Peter Hammill in particular had not quite developed the "stentorian" roar that he would become famed for, but his style is already dramatic and full of abrupt quiet/loud dynamics. Jackson and Banton are already exploring the sonic limits of their traditional instruments, and Guy Evans is definitely already a fully-developed beast on the drums. This is very much a late 60s album, with lots of psychedelic touches that would later be absent from the band's more avant-garde work. The compositions are varied. "Killer" veers between King Crimson bombast and almost a proto-hard rock sound, a dramatic song that doesn't contain Hammill's best set of lyrics, but is entertaining nonetheless. "House With No Door" is a brooding ballad of loneliness and mental illness of a kind that Hammill would come to specialize in- its sparse arrangment and gentle vocals are very effective. "The Emperor in his War Room" is perhaps the least successful piece, being a little scattered and overwrought, but does feature some good work by Robert Fripp on electric guitar, and is an evocative story based on Marquez's "The Autumn of the Patriarch" (I think), with lots of disturbing imagery. "Lost" is another long piece that is also good, but like "The Emporer in his War Room" suffers a bit from a lack of focus. "Pioneers Over c", the most experimental piece on the record, is also possibly the most successful, utilizing bizarre melodies and unusual arrangements to portray space explorers crossing into a different space/time continuum and suffering the effects. VdGG was definitely never afraid to take chances, a policy that would pay off on the highly unusual "Pawn Hearts" and most of the albums thereafter. This is a great album for the frightened VdGG newbie to sample, but is also a wonderful listening experience on its own. Even if they'd never made another album, it would be a classic.
Heptade | 4/5 |

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