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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Van Der Graaf Generator biography
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR is an English eclectic progressive rock band with front man Peter HAMMILL from 'the classic period' that has proven be one of the most important bands of the progressive genre.

In England, 1967 Chris Judge SMITH formed 'VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR', but after his departure it was up to Peter HAMMILL (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Hugh BANTON (organ, bass on organ), David JACKSON (sax, flute) and Guy EVANS (drums) to become one of progressive rock most proliferate and unique bands as well as the first band to be signed to the Famous Charisma Label. The band was named after the scientific instrument 'the Van de Graaff generator', which is used for accumulating high voltage bolts. VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR (VdGG for short) is known for its extrovert dynamics (ranging from slow, calm & peaceful to fierce & heavy), its intense and emotional 'love it or hate it' vocals by Peter HAMMILL, its celebrated contribution to extended progressive songwriting and its combination of psychedelic, jazz, classical and avant-garde or even acid influences. Moreover, VdGG can be seen as the first band that was to combine the very progressive with the very personal, whereas other bands used to work with abstractions and fantasy. Peter HAMMILL has a talent for singing out intense graving, anger, panic and confusion whilst still being able to sing warm and caring in other passages. The band never really fitted in the symphonic progressive rock subgenre because of its widespread influences and unique style, though the band would have symphonic leanings throughout it's career. Unusual for the time was the focus on organ, drums and sax, whereas in the sixties the guitar and the bass guitar had played a major role.

The band had a leading role in the very first progressive phase releasing high-rated albums from 1970 to 1975. The strong conceptual 'H to He Who am the only one' (1970), the intense and highly innovative and daring 'Pawn Hearts' (1971), the bleak and ever evolving 'Godbluff' (1975) and the matured 'Still Life' (1976) are often cited as masterpieces of the progressive genre. Alongside VdGG there would be a very interesting solo-career for Peter HAMMILL who frequently invited members of the band to come and join on his seventies recordings, some of which are seen as 'lost VdGG albums'. VdGG would directly influence a lot of Italian progressive acts, a country in which they were particularly well received. The band stopped performing in its clas...
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After the Flood-The BBC 1968-77After the Flood-The BBC 1968-77
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$13.61
$21.87 (used)
Pawn HeartsPawn Hearts
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Caroline World Service 2005
Audio CD$4.66
$4.99 (used)
Merlin Atmos: Live Performances 2013 2CD Digipack Limited EditionMerlin Atmos: Live Performances 2013 2CD Digipack Limited Edition
Limited Edition
Esoteric Antenna 2015
Audio CD$13.15
$19.96 (used)
Quiet Zone / Pleasure DomeQuiet Zone / Pleasure Dome
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Astralwerks 2005
Audio CD$4.65
$4.98 (used)
H To He Who Am I The Only OneH To He Who Am I The Only One
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Caroline World Service 2005
Audio CD$4.63
$5.35 (used)
Vital (Live)Vital (Live)
Remastered · Extra tracks · Import
Virgin / Charisma 2005
Audio CD$5.58
$5.30 (used)
World RecordWorld Record
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Virgin / Charisma 2005
Audio CD$4.65
$4.64 (used)
GodbluffGodbluff
Remastered
Caroline 2005
Audio CD$4.65
$3.36 (used)
Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each OtherLeast We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Astralwerks 2005
Audio CD$4.66
$5.98 (used)
Aerosol Grey MachineAerosol Grey Machine
Import
Fie 2005
Audio CD$12.22
$18.13 (used)
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CD a grounding in numbers
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR
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LP a grounding in numbers
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR
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LP after the flood (the early sessions)
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR
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CD alt
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR
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LP h to he, who am i the only one
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LP visions
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR
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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 464 ratings
The Aerosol Grey Machine
1969
4.05 | 750 ratings
The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other
1970
4.31 | 1217 ratings
H To He, Who Am The Only One
1970
4.42 | 1599 ratings
Pawn Hearts
1971
4.49 | 1495 ratings
Godbluff
1975
4.28 | 1109 ratings
Still Life
1976
3.80 | 560 ratings
World Record
1976
3.62 | 485 ratings
The Quiet Zone / The Pleasure Dome
1977
3.65 | 400 ratings
Present
2005
3.52 | 381 ratings
Trisector
2008
3.42 | 377 ratings
A Grounding In Numbers
2011
2.44 | 149 ratings
ALT
2012

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.74 | 204 ratings
Vital
1978
4.11 | 104 ratings
Maida Vale (The BBC Radio One Sessions)
1994
4.15 | 145 ratings
Real Time
2007
3.66 | 67 ratings
Live at the Paradiso
2009
3.58 | 29 ratings
Recorded Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios, London
2012
3.91 | 26 ratings
Merlin Atmos
2015
4.38 | 8 ratings
After the Flood: At The BBC 1968 - 1977
2015

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.09 | 91 ratings
Godbluff Live 1975
2003
5.00 | 2 ratings
Masters From The Vaults
2003
3.17 | 22 ratings
Inside Van Der Graaf Generator
2005
3.04 | 5 ratings
Live Broadcasts - Collector's Rarities
2006
3.96 | 49 ratings
Live at the Paradiso
2009
4.48 | 31 ratings
Live at Metropolis Studios
2011

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 31 ratings
68-71
1972
4.50 | 2 ratings
Repeat Performance
1972
2.27 | 49 ratings
Time Vaults
1982
3.44 | 54 ratings
First Generation (Scenes from 1969-1971)
1986
3.39 | 40 ratings
Second Generation (Scenes from 1975-1977)
1986
2.11 | 35 ratings
Now And Then (Van Der Graaf Generator / Jackson, Banton, Evans)
1988
3.31 | 50 ratings
I Prophesy Disaster
1993
3.89 | 54 ratings
The Box
2000
3.44 | 15 ratings
An Introduction
2000
4.50 | 2 ratings
First Generation / Godbluff
2012

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.50 | 15 ratings
People You Were Going To / Firebrand
1969
4.08 | 18 ratings
Afterwards / Necromancer
1969
4.68 | 22 ratings
Refugees / Boat Of A Million Years
1970
3.61 | 24 ratings
Theme One / W
1972
3.86 | 14 ratings
Masks Part 1 / Masks Part 2
1976
4.60 | 15 ratings
Wondering / Meurglys III
1976
4.12 | 17 ratings
Cat's Eye
1977
1.69 | 17 ratings
The Masters
1998
2.67 | 3 ratings
Highly Strung
2011

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Now And Then (Van Der Graaf Generator / Jackson, Banton, Evans) by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1988
2.11 | 35 ratings

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Now And Then (Van Der Graaf Generator / Jackson, Banton, Evans)
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by ster

1 stars Very bad. Even if you are curious what VDGG sounded like between the two classic periods. Listen to Peter Hammill's Silent Corner And The Empty Stage instead. Just a collection of very poor sounding recordings of demos. I am a huge VDGG fan and I wish I never bought this. It sucks that I haven't reached the 100 minimum yet but there is nothing else to say. I feel sorry for whomever bought this album expecting a nice introduction to the band. If you absolutely have to have everything this band has released then you can message me and I will give you mine if I can find it.

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 Pawn Hearts by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.42 | 1599 ratings

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Pawn Hearts
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In early 1971 Van der Graaf Generator toured for the promotion of ''H to He, who am the only one'' with fellow Charisma bands Genesis and Lindisfarne, receiving good feedback by the audience, that should have been a real show back in the day!During their live performances they started writing material for a fourth album and actually their intention was to come up with an ambitious double LP.However Charisma believed it was not a good idea, so the band had to make a selection of songs for the upcoming release, the tapes from the unreleased pieces are said to have been lost.Upon returning to the Trident Studios around July most of the album was ready and the band finished the recordings in just two months, inviting again Robert Fripp to contribute on guitars.''Pawn hearts'' was the title and the album was launched in October 1971.

Three very long cuts was Van der Graaf Generator's brand new delivery on this album and the opening ''Lemmings'', nowadays considered a classic of the band, sets the tone for the whole album.At this point they sounded a lot like KING CRIMSON, just a bit darker due to Hammill's unique, sensational voice with the theatrical extensions, making heavy use of sax and flute and exhibiting tons of jazzy elements in their arrangements next to the sinister sound of Hugh Banton's Hammond organ.This is mostly impressive jazzy Prog Rock with a few folky underlines and a strong psychedelic nature.The 10-min. ''Man-Erg'' sounds even better to my ears, it contains the beautiful poetic feel of PETER HAMMILL's solo albums along with the band's flawless inspiration from Psychedelia, Jazz and Classical Music, the soft opening theme with the slow organ and the insane lyrics about Good and Evil is followed by everchanging climates in a great contrast of dark and romantic offerings with symphonic and jazzy overtones, filled with powerful piano and organ and mellow sax soloing.The 23-min. ''A plague of lighthouse keepers'' is among the best compositions ever recorded and performed by the band, talking about a lighthouse keeper, who sees people dying offshore and can do nothing about it.His state of mind is masterfully reflected on the music and lyrics of the piece, which contains several movements.I can compared this one only to Italians OSANNA, it goes from mystical jazzy interventions to Theatrical Rock and back, the music is very complex with grandiose segments and lighter tunes and a very dark feeling overall, featuring some fantastic interactions and preludes, propelled by a lovely Classical background and an even more obvious love for abnormal musical constructions, based on constant breaks.

A true classic of Van der Graaf Generator's discography.An excellent display of sinister and softer climates with a tremendous instrumental background.Beware, this not an easy one to handle, but once you find yourself understanding the evolution of the group, spins will become endless.Highly recommended.

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 Merlin Atmos by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Live, 2015
3.91 | 26 ratings

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Merlin Atmos
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Even though Van Der Graaf Generator have by now released quite a few live recordings, none of them has struck a chord with me like Merlin Atmos. Recorded during the band's 2013 European tour and featuring complete performances of Flight and A Plague Of Lighthouse-Keepers, the album is a mix of music taken from 1971 and onward. Featuring two tracks from Pawn Hearts, one from each of Godbluff/Still Life/World Record, two tracks from Peter Hammill's solo records and a total of six tracks from Trisector/A Grounding In Numbers. There is clearly something for every Van Der Graaf Generator fan to be enjoyed and some of the less familiar material might just surprise you!

The opening 21-minute Flight was quite a surprise for me since I've only once previously heard it on Hammill's 1980 album A Black Box and this version is a much more modern sounding hence omitting the dated sounds of synthesizers and sequencers. Hammill's voice sounds older but it really doesn't bother me, in fact, some of the moments throughout the opening track actually sounds more potent with his nuanced vocal approach.

The next three compositions are all taken from the current lineup's albums Trisector and A Grounding In Numbers. Lifetime has not been a favorite of mine from the studio recording but this live version has more power to the performance and engages me much more. Bunsho follows in the same suit while All That Before gives the album some much needed energy.

A Plague Of Lighthouse-Keepers is considered by many to be one of the greatest Van Der Graaf Generator compositions, which is why it's surprising that this is the first complete live version of this 24-minute suite. The performance keeps most of the highlights in tact and organ layers actually manage to make up for the absence of David Jackson. Gog is another highlight since the track has always been considered an unofficial Van Der Graaf Generator classic, even though it was originally recorded as a Peter Hammill solo number.

The so-called bonus disc adds quite a few great performances like the energetic version of Interference Patterns where Hammill clearly makes a strong effort in his vocal delivery. Over The Hill is another memorable Trisector number while the opening track from A Grounding In Numbers, Your Time Starts Now, makes much more sense on this setlist compared to it's role on the band's 2011 release.

The album concludes with almost 50 minutes of classics from the '70s with a lovely performance of Scorched Earth, the slightly trimmed down version of Meurglys III still sounds a bit too excessive for my tastes, Man-Erg makes me wish that David Jackson was still in the lineup even though the keyboards do try to make up for his absence. Childlike Faith In Childhood's End sounds pretty much in line with the studio counterpart but somehow this version doesn't really do as much for me.

As mentioned in the beginning of my review, none of the previous Van Der Graaf Generator live records have managed to grab my attention as much as Merlin Atmos. Yes, there are a few tracks that sound better on the studio recordings and some might even argue that a couple of these performances are overshadowed by the band's previous live offerings. Still, I'd definitely recommend you to give this one a go. Hopefully there will be a video release of these performances since we haven't got enough of those.

***** star songs: Flight (21:30)

**** star songs: Lifetime (5:11) All That Before (7:46) Bunsho (5:48) A Plague Of Lighthouse-Keepers (24:05) Gog (6:39) Interference Patterns (4:28) Over The Hill (12:36) Your Time Starts Now (4:14) Scorched Earth (10:14) Man-Erg (11:40) Childlike Faith In Childhood's End (12:37)

*** star songs: Meurglys III (15:24)

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 H To He, Who Am The Only One by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.31 | 1217 ratings

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H To He, Who Am The Only One
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by danyboy

4 stars H To He, Who Am The Only One is an absolute VDGG masterpiece. The songwriting here is more sophisticated that is has been in the past, and the musicianship still reigns supreme, and the compositions are still incredibly complex if not more so. This music is highly eclectic and jam packed full of instruments from all eras of time, consisting of the obvious sax and keys. One thing that I've always loved about VDGG is the absence of organ sounds, usually opting for much more interesting keyboard variations. Most of the music is full of energy, but is always wildly creative and never boring in th least. And ofcourse Peter Hammill's voice...what a gift!!! Very highly recommended masterly crafted eclectic prog.

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 ALT by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 2012
2.44 | 149 ratings

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ALT
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by Einwahn

2 stars This album reminds me of a funny story about four of my old high-school friends, at the start of a Soft Machine concert in the early 70's, engaging in furtive whispering about whether the music had started or the band were still tuning their instruments. VdGG's attitude in releasing this screwy album suggests the distinction is not always clear among bands themselves.

Personally, I generally appreciate truly experimental music; Can's 'The Lost Tapes', released in the same year as 'ALT', I regard as an enjoyable artistic triumph. The problem with 'ALT' is that it is not really experimental, just rather lame doodling. It's disappointing because I had quite high expectations for this one. In their classic material, VdGG have some incredibly powerful passages that push the musical envelope quite brilliantly, and the same has often been true throughout Peter Hammill's solo output.

That said, I do play 'ALT' from time to time, when I want some background music that is not too distracting. In my personal library, it probably has a near-three star rating. But I do not think it does this band a favour to suggest others might buy 'ALT'. If you do not know VdGG, avoid their latest album as a starting point. If you are a long-term fan of the band, equally, that is no reason to believe you will like 'ALT'. I can't really think of who to recommend it to.

Verdict: 'ALT' does prove that good experimental music requires artistic effort.

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 Trisector by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.52 | 381 ratings

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Trisector
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by Einwahn

4 stars 'Trisector' is, for me, distinctive in the VdGG canon - it is their most purely keyboards-dominated album from any era. Jaxon's railway cap and double saxophones may dominate our classical image of VdGG, but in his regrettable absence 'Trisector' brings into focus the true backbone of their unique musical sound. Because, quite honestly, many tracks on this album have an unexpectedly classic-era VdGG feel to them, albeit without a core ingredient. The rigorous and emphatic organ of Hugh Banton, counterpointed with the piano (sometimes guitar) of Peter Hammill, creates a coherent and familiar musical framework, for all the experiments with rhythm that permeate 'Trisector'. I find this album to be the most artistically successful of their comeback albums. Its predecessor has a variety of styles cobbled together, while the production mix of its successor brings PH's vocals far more to the fore (with negative results IMO).

'Trisector' also has one of the clearest concepts among VdGG albums. It starts with an uncharacteristically jolly instrumental called 'The Hurlyburly', which I take to represent life prior to old age. Then the remaining tracks deal with old age in one way or another, from poignant ('Final Reel') to hilarious ('All That Before', a spoof on a 1960's Kinks number that surely influenced the young Peter Hammill). And the music is great, this album is worthy of this great band.

Verdict: 'Trisector' = Keyboards.

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 Pawn Hearts by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.42 | 1599 ratings

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Pawn Hearts
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by Einwahn

5 stars Pictures/Lighthouse = S:econd H:and M:ussorgsky?

Imagine you are the only child of a disintegrating marriage. In total loneliness you have become hyper-sensitive to the earliest signs of an impending altercation that will once again tear apart the foundations of the love and security that should comprise your infant world. In the imagery of the children's game of paper-stone-scissors, you only have blank paper, you live in a stone tower prophesying disaster, you only have blunt scissors. In bed, in the presence of the night, you hear them rowing again and again, and internally your world is disintegrating. Only when you reach maturity do you realise that you can escape and see your childhood unhappiness in perspective; all things are a part/apart. But deep inside the damage persists - all the grief you have seen leaves you chasing solitary peace. The maelstrom of your memory is a vampire and it feeds on you. And so you only think on how it might have been, locked in silent monologue, in silent scream.

Fans of 'Pawn Hearts' will realise that I am hypothesizing one possible real-life scenario to explicate the tortured psychodrama of the major track on this album. A plagued psyche that is like a lighthouse keeper who will be destroyed by a disaster that he merely observes. And of course the child in this putative ill-fated family is a pawn whose heart is being broken.

'A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers' is structured as a suite that, in my opinion, bears the hallmarks of a contemporaneous piece by another band who, in 1971, were much bigger than VdGG. In that year I saw VdGG perform on the stage of the Manchester Free Trade Hall, where six months previously I had had the great privilege to attend Emerson, Lake & Palmer's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' concert tour (three days prior to its recording in Newcastle). Although the ELP live album was only released in November 1971, and 'Pawn Hearts' in October 1971, ELP had been performing PaaE since the famous Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970.

Consider the analogies between these two progressive rock suites. The similarity of the titles, not only in phrasing but also in the shared concept of an observer; in one case as an observer of an art exhibition, and in the other a lighthouse keeper. Both open with sedate and haunting keyboard melodies that recur later in their suite, and are titled with, again, observer themes: 'Promenade' and 'Eyewitness'. In both the opening is followed by a ponderous and dissonant section, which in the case of PoLK is actually entitled 'Pictures/Lighthouse' - literally spelling out the connection, with what I suspect was Peter Hammill's working title. As each suite unfolds, dramatic and dissonant sections are interspersed with a calm melody (PaaE: 'The Sage'; PoLK: 'Presence of the Night'), and both culminate in anthemic sections with the theme of departure (PaaE: 'The Great Gates of Kiev'; PoLK: 'We Go Now'). Most intriguing for me is the PoLK section called 'S.H.M.'; why give a piece such a meaningless title unless it is a band in-joke. I speculate that it stands for 'Second Hand Mussorgsky' - for those who don't know, PaaE is based on a classical suite by that composer. Two thoughts in case I am guessing correctly: (1) the VdGG track is ultimately inspired by a 19th century Russian Romantic composer (I mention this as occasionally it is questioned whether VdGG are truly a Prog Rock band); and (2) the ELP piece has much greater significance in Prog history than generally acknowledged.

There are of course two further tracks on the album, and they can be interpreted within the same psycho-theme: 'Lemmings' rushing over a cliff could represent couples heading towards mutual destruction; and 'Man-Erg' may represent a self-analysis of the psychological consequences of past experience of such trauma.

And I mustn't forget the music - truly incredible!

Verdict: A serious artistic masterpiece.

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 Godbluff by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.49 | 1495 ratings

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Godbluff
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

5 stars VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR are one of those classic prog bands that must be in any decent prog collection. I believe this now with affirmed feelings. Yet early on I had a difficult time finding something to appreciate in the music. Whenever I gave a listen, it was Peter Hamill's vocals that quickly put me off. The music may have had a genius quality but Hamill was more of a madman. How was that singing? He'd have done better by talking.

Well, one day I noticed that I was slowly acquiring and enjoying most of the albums on the PA top 20 of all time and so I figured I'd just order "Godbluff" and give it a good listen. And well that I did.

"The Undercover Man" begins slowly and the music is easy to get into because it is not weird and builds very nicely as the song progresses. Peter Hamill sounds like he's reading a book and singing the odd word here and there. If I had never been able before to imagine the concept of someone singing without a tune or melody then I sure can now. But soon I seem to get what Hamill is doing. He's singing poetry. And actually it's not that bad.

"Scorched Earth" begins without me even noticing the first time because it seems to just be another part of "The Undercover Man". But the music turns more energetic and aggressive and there's a new twist to the sung poetry. This is getting interesting now. The song has edge and the music is pleasantly powerful. This I can dig.

The album continues to impress on side two with a great drum and bass intro to "The Arrow". A saxophone comes in and I am trying to imagine what image this music can conjure in my mind's eye. I settle on ghost ships appearing through the fog. The song rolls with that keyboard sound and Hamill delivers the lines with a rough edge to his voice at times. All right. So two very good songs so far and one that's interesting enough to be worthy of repeat listens.

And then we reach the climax of the album and for me THE VDGG song to have me hooked: "The Sleepwalkers". The song begins just as good as anything I've heard so far. I am really surprised that I am enjoying music without electric guitar this much. There's this wonderful bit that sounds like living room dance music for my dear grandmother's generation, with images of barrel-bodied seniors in brown pants and knit one- piece sweater/skirts dancing joyously in the living in the 1970's. Love it! Then the first part wraps up and morphs into a spacey organ bit that goes on a bit longer than I'd like. But that's OK because presently a serious rock section begins and my ears are soaking in all in. This is really good music. The sax and organs along with an acerbic Peter Hamill screaming the lyrics as well as any punk rocker is just bliss. And again I notice that there's no electric guitar and I am loving the saxophone. Fantastic!

Based on the sheer joy of listening to the music on "Godbluff", I bought "Still Life" but was disappointed. Later I bought "Pawn Hearts" and though I like it now, it took some time to appreciate. But "Godbluff" is quite a package of music. It sure deserves it's place among the top albums of progressive rock. Certainly, VDGG is not for everybody and if the music isn't too hard to swallow then Peter Hamill's voice might be the clincher. More than a singer, I would call him a theatrical vocalist. But if you can "get" this then this album should really please. One thing I really appreciate is that I can listen to the whole thing through and keep my interest, and as well, I can pick two or three songs to put on mix playlists. These are two of the traits of a great album for me.

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 Still Life by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.28 | 1109 ratings

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Still Life
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by thebig_E

5 stars After the sound and fury of Godbluff, you might think this is a disappointing follow-up, but no, Still Life is another excellent album. This time there is more of a focus on lyrics. Peter Hammill's voice may be at its best on this album. He effortlessly hits all of the high notes, while also providing a more calm and introspective tone. The musicians are still at the top of their game with the drum/organ combination created by Guy Evans and Hugh Banton, the bass, played by Nic Potter, and David Jackson's incredible saxophone lines.

"Pilgrims" is an exciting opening and "Still Life" has a slow build that reaches a dramatic climax. "La Rossa" has all of the rage and catharsis of Godbluff, while "My Room (Waiting For Wonderland)" is a much more laid-back tune. After about 32 and a half minutes, we get to the final track on the album, and the one that I consider to be the best, "Childlike Faith In Childhood's End". The lyrics in this track detail what might happen if the human race were to end and what the last moments would be like. Again, Hammill screams with a primal roar as the album comes to a close. Truly an operatic voice.

There is also a bonus track on the remaster titled "Gog", which is a live recording, but the sound on it isn't very good. All in all, Still Life is an essential part of any VDGG fan's or progressive rock fan's collection.

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 Godbluff by VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.49 | 1495 ratings

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Godbluff
Van Der Graaf Generator Eclectic Prog

Review by Luís de Sousa

5 stars Is there a perfect record? One that grabs the listener from the very beginning into a breathless journey without detours, distractions or waste of time? If there is such a record it is this one. Writing a review is rather simple: no week points, no negative remarks, it is just pure excellence. It just happens that this is not any ordinary kind of music: eerie sounds from an unconventional set of instruments topped by disgruntling vocals and outstanding lyrics. But it all works together remarkably well, with the sum of its several parts reaching far beyond their individual value. An unrepeatable moment in the history of music. A record without peer.

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