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Van Der Graaf Generator - Godbluff CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.48 | 1975 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The Generator is certainly an acquired taste, but perhaps the acquisition period is shorted for this album than others. The main reason is that the boys seem to have a need to rock on Godbluff, and every song (save perhaps Sleepwalkers) has a definite direction. The result is one of those all-too-infrequent moments when you know a band is taking you exactly where they want to go, and you submit completely, knowing that you'll be rewarded (even if the entire journey is not sunny and pleasant).

The Undercover Man, Scorched Earth. Two separate songs, but one incredible epic when combined. It all starts ever-so-lightly, with Hammill whispering over echoed flute. Then things build until we reach the stately yet restrained meat of the song. Here Hamill's talent in penning a memorable phrase and delivering it with his unique cadence becomes delightfully obvious. His vocabulary is also quite impressive--How many other composers use words such as littany and fervent (just to name a few) that perfectly fit the context (and don't sound as if the lyricist simply opened up a thesaurus instead)? After the dignified opener, things really pick up steam with Scorched Earth. It begins with a menacing feel and ends with an absolutely rocking uptempo crescendo. The texture to the music, with Bantam's distorted bass pedals, Jackson's super-heavy sax, and Evan's feverishly fast drums is unique to this album (at least for me) and worth the price of admission alone.

Arrow, Sleepwalkers. The second side drops in quality a bit, but not significantly. Arrow starts with some strange fusion improv, but when it settles down into the desolate and yearning theme, things officially gets going. Hammill's voice takes on an even assault-rifle quality, and he really pushes things past his range (some may love it, some may cringe with horror). Regardless, Arrow features a great melody as well as more great textured sound, and it's difficult not to enjoy. Sleepwalkers is definitely the oddball of the album, with some strange (and less-than-effective) plays off of familiar melodies, but the Generator put enough energy into the performance to make it all work in their own unique (and slightly twisted) way. The highlight for me is definitely the rocking middle section: they set up a killer groove, and when they segue into a new melody, Jackson comes in with an absolutely perfect sax line. Let there be no doubt--these guys can rock. I only wish they did more of this stuff.

A unique and intense listening experience from beginning to conclusion, Godbluff is BY FAR my favorite Generator album. Some of the major flaws of their other albums, such as not being cohesive or wasting lots of time in mostly directionless, amusical rambling, is largely not to be found on Godbluff. A haunting, at times disconcerting, masterpiece of progressive rock.

Flucktrot | 5/5 |


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