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Van Der Graaf Generator - Present CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.61 | 490 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Man With Hat
4 stars And this is the definition of a comeback. An album fans were waiting for for literally decades...and it was certainly worth the wait. Present shows off VDGG in full glory. The boys haven't missed a step, even after twenty plus years. This album also spotlights two very different sides of VDGG, composed and improvised music. So there really is something for every fan. Needless to say the musicians are top notch, as is the music. And I must throw in a nod for Jackson (although it really is not needed). For me that trademark sax is the backbone of this album. Now on with the show:

Disc one: Songs. From the first moments of Every Bloody Emperor, you can VDGG were back in full form. Hammill's lyrics and voice are standouts as always, and (if anything) have only gotten better with time. The first three songs could be considered classic Van Der Graff tracks, right away. And again, Jackson really steps up in the limelight for Boleas Panic. Instrumental, and penned by the sax man, this could be considered his finest moment in the history of the band, and his pinnacle on the album. Nutter Alert is an intense piece, that really get Hammill's vocals soaring. The only song thats sub par (and thats comparitivly to the rest of them) is In Babelsberg. While not bad, it really doesn't measure up to the rest of the disc. Part one closes on a gentle note with On The Beach, a beutiful song really, that once it sinks in is blissful.

Disc Two: Improvs. This second disc is more of a mixed bag then the first. It also takes a bit longer to get into. Many of the songs are grittier and harder then on the first disc, which isn't a necessarily a bad thing. Though, some of the pieces do feel as if they drag on a bit. However, I won't say much about it, being I have always found the best way to appreciate improvs is to listen for yourself and see what you can get out of it and how it molds itself for you personally. Highlights include: Vulcan Meld, Crux, Manuelle, and Spanner.

All in all this is a great addition to any prog collection and essential in a VDGG collection. My only qualm with the album is the production. Even in the 21st century the sound isn't as good as I think it could be. Granted it addes atmosphere, so it isn't a total loss. Definitely worth the wait. 3.8 stars.

Man With Hat | 4/5 |


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