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Van Der Graaf Generator - I Prophesy Disaster CD (album) cover

I PROPHESY DISASTER

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

3.30 | 55 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 182

Van Der Graaf Generator was formed in 1967 while their members were studying at Manchester University. The trio was composed by Peter Hammill (vocals and guitar), Nick Pearne (keyboards) and Chris Judge Smith (drums and wind instruments). However, soon Smith left the band, amicably, by feel superfluous on it. In 1969 Pearn was replaced by Hugh Banton. After that, the band acquired a bass player, Keith Ellis and the drummer Guy Evans joined to them too.

Some line up changes and some changes in the style and sound of the group would stabilize Van Der Graaf Generator in the beginning of the 70's. Financial difficulties in 1972 undermined the group's career and in the late of the 70's, Van Der Graaf Generator went through several exits and entrances of old and new members and the result was the split of the group. However, the classic line up of Hammill, Banton, Jackson and Evans would return in 2003.

'I Prophesy Disaster' has ten tracks. The first track 'Afterwards' was released on 'The Aerosol Grey Machine'. This is a very simple and na've song, very beautiful, one of the most beautiful and simple songs composed by Hammill. It's one of the best tracks on that album. The second track 'Necromancer' was released on 'The Aerosol Grey Machine'. It's a very bizarre, obscure and deep song with scary lyrics. This is a song with a superb Hammill's voice and with a good and melodic chorus. The third track 'Refugees' was released on 'The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other'. It's the most sentimental track on that album. This is a beautiful song, very melodic and peaceful with a nice flute work. It reminds me 'Running Back', of 'The Aerosol Grey Machine'. This is one of the most beautiful songs written by Hammill. The fourth track 'The Boat Of Millions Of Years' never was released on any of their albums. It was written in 1970, the time of the release of 'The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other'. It was probably made to be part of that album. It was included later on that album, as a bonus track. This is a good song, but as a leftover, it isn't one of their best tracks. The fifth track 'Lemmings (Including Cog)' was released on 'Pawn Hearts'. It has powerful vocals with different harmonies and strange vocal passages, and musically, it has parts with extended saxophone work, keyboards and guitar passages. The track is pretty calm but contains some long musical dissonant parts. Still, is very pleasant to listen to. The sixth track 'W' was never released on any of their albums. It was written in 1971, the time of the release of 'Pawn Hearts'. It was probably made to be part of that album, as a bonus track. This is another leftover. It's a soft song with some interesting lyrics. The seventh track 'Arrow' was released on 'Godbluff'. It's the most aggressive piece on that album. Musically, it's very complex and strong, with a very aggressive vocal work by Hammill. This is a track in the vein of the classic band's repertoire. This is a track that makes the transition, between the previous musical era, ended with 'Pawn Hearts', and the new musical era started by 'Godbluff'. The eighth track 'La Rossa' was released on 'Still Life'. It's an epic tale about a desire fulfilled. This is a very powerful song, is the hardest rocking song on that album and is one of my favourite songs of the group. It's a real highlight of that album. The ninth track 'Ship Of Fools' was never released on any of their albums. It was written in 1977, the time of the release of 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome'. It was probably made to be part of that album. It was included later on that album, as a bonus track. This is the third leftover. It's a rage and angst track with heavy guitar playing. This is one of the heaviest things they ever made at the time. It's good but not very impressive. The tenth track 'Medley (Parts Of 'A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers' And 'The Sleepers)' is a medley of two different tracks from two different albums. 'A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers' was released on 'Pawn Hearts' and 'The Sleepwalkers' was released on 'Godbluff'. This medley was released on 'Vital'. This is a good track but I prefer the complete studio versions of the songs. Anyway, I'm not a great fan of 'Vital'.

Conclusion: 'I Prophesy Disaster' is a good compilation of Van Der Graaf Generator. It has songs from six of their eight studio albums, released in the 70's. The songs taken from 'The Aerosol Grey Machine', 'The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other' and 'Pawn Hearts' are from their first musical era, 1968-1972. The songs taken from 'Godbluff', 'Still Life' and 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome' are from their second musical era, 1975-1977. But, it lacks to it songs from two of those albums, one from their first era, 'H To He, Who Am The Only One', and other from their second era 'World Record'. The selection of tracks is excellent. It has the two best tracks from 'The Aerosol Grey Machine', 'Afterwards' and 'Necromancer', one of the best tracks from 'The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other', 'Refugees', one excellent track from 'Pawn Hearts', 'Lemmings', one of the greatest tracks from 'Godbluff', 'Arrow', and one of my favourite tracks from 'Still Life', 'La Rossa'. The tracks that never were released on any studio album from them, 'The Boat Of Millions Of Years', 'W' and 'Ship Of Fools' are all good tracks but its quality level is slightly inferior. The closing track 'Medley' is also good but I prefer the complete studio versions of the tracks, surely.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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