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Van Der Graaf Generator - Godbluff CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.48 | 1998 ratings

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The Sleepwalker
Prog Reviewer
5 stars After a four year break, Van Der Graaf Generator reunited to make more music in a way they had never done it before. Godbluff is very different from Pawn Hearts, released in 1971. Where Pawn Hearts has a lot of unexpected actions, Godbluff seems more controlled and a bit more straight forward. This doesn't mean VDGG has lost their unique style, as they are as exceptional as ever.

Godbluff opens with "The Undercover Man", which is a song that could remind one of the earlier VDGG. "The Undercover Man" starts with soft flute playing by David Jackson, and is soon joined by Peter Hammill soft and emotional vocals. After this first section, the song starts to get more bombastic, as organs and drums enter and Peter Hammill delivers some striking and hauntingly powerful vocals. "The Undercover Man" is an exceptional song for sure. It is probably the most emotional and astonishing piece on Godbluff.

A short interlude lead by Peter Hammill on the clavinet takes us from "The Undercover Man" to "Scorched Earth". "Scorched Earth" is full of power and anger, and is the most bombastic on the album. The song exists out of several very well composed riffs, all equally powerful and stunning, and has some of the best vocals I've heard from Peter Hammill ever. This brilliant piece of music might be a bit more straight forward than most of the other songs on the album, but it's a fantastic piece.

The third song on the album is the anger laden "Arrow". The song starts with a short jazz improvisation, which is good, but doesn't really fit in with the other songs on the album. As Peter Hammill's vocals come in the song will become a frightening piece of music. Definitely the chorus is haunting, while at the same time being pretty catchy. Apart from Peter's extraordinary vocals, I find the instruments here a bit less interesting. They just can't seem to deliver the power that they do deliver in for example "Scorched Earth". In the end "Arrow" is a very good song, though not as interesting as the other music on the album.

"The Sleepwalkers", where the undercover man becomes a lunatic, is the albums epic ending. The song starts with a catchy organ riff, and as Peter's vocals make their entry you'll know this is going to be a powerful song. After the first several minutes, the song goes from the powerful organ riff to absolute lunacy in the form of a cha cha cha part. Many people don't seem to like this part or they think it doesn't fit in with the other music, but I think this really does resemble the insanity of the sleepwalker. The second half of the song is much more bombastic and more straight forward, still excelent, though. "The Sleepwalkers" is an incredible song, it's the perfect way to express the insanity of the sleepwalker.

Godbluff for sure has some of VDGG's best music on it. I don't think it's perfect, but it surely isn't far from perfect. Godbluff really is essential to the collection of a Van Der Graaf fan or any prog fan. The music isn't as extraordinary and memorable as Pawn Hearts, but it is a fantastic experience indeed.

The Sleepwalker | 5/5 |


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