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Peter Hammill - A Black Box CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 281 ratings

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3 stars Allthough this album often comes with big recommendations, there isn't very much that really convinces me.

Most of the other songs start out interestingly enough but many of them wander off at some point or another, either by the chorus, a nasty break, one of Hammill's overindulgent vocal gymnastics or the strange production choices made for this album (do we have the first 'gated' drums here?) Golden Promises can maybe clarify what I mean. It starts with a strange drum sound that feels disconnected from the rest of the music. As such it is a foretaste of worse things to come in some of Hammill's sound choices in the 80's. Once you're used to the drums however it's an enjoyable rock song.

Losing Faith in Words, The Wipe and the Jargon King are really weird. That's about all I can say about them. I don't know what to make of them. My favourites would be the brooding Fogwalking and In Slow Time. Hammill comes very close here to similar Bowie-influenced experiments in the goth rock from Siouxsie and Bauhaus from the same era. (If you want to see for yourself, check Tenant and Red Light from Siouxsie's album Kaleidoscope and check out all Bauhaus albums while you're on to it ;-)

The main trace of prog-dome is to be found in Flight of course. The last 20+ minutes track for many years to come. If I'm not wrong that is... The next one that comes to mind would be Porcupine Tree's 1995 Sky Moves Somewhere (And no, Grendle is a 17 minutes). This little historic irrelevance aside, I can enjoy the first half of it but the second half has little appeal. Too disjointed and those ugly drums again.

Hammill had better stuff ahead in the next couple of years.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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