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Peter Hammill - The Fall Of The House Of Usher CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.44 | 109 ratings

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1 stars I hate musicals. I think you need to keep that predisposition in mind for understanding my estimation here of Hammill's rock opera: The Fall of the House of Usher. Oh, and I hate rock opera. You better take note of that partiality as well.

Hammill had been working on this work for around 20 years. So, despite me loathing musicals, I was still expecting something. After all this was still Hammill right? Unfortunately, I couldn't believe my ears when I heard it.

After 20 years of hard work, Hammill couldn't have chosen a worse moment to actually record and release this. First of all, around 1991 he was close to hitting rock bottom of the continuing creative downfall that had set in with the ill-conceived ballad-collection The Love Songs. Secondly, at that time he was still fumbling around with premature midi-equipment and was releasing one exercise in plastic rock after the other. So instead of releasing this as a proper band effort or just as a low-fi play for piano and voice, he employed his entire midi-orchestra again, complete with toy-box drum computer and amateurish sounding violins and keyboards.

If that wasn't bad enough yet, the actual music is poor as well, entirely made up of all musical clichés from the Handbook For Derivative Musical Writing. (By the way, in case anyone's interested, I will be glad to dispose of my copy of that very handbook for a buck, shipment excluded.). Of course Hammill uses his harsh voice on occasion, but it is rather preposterous then it is effective here. In fact, this whole undertaking has only one track of note, Architecture, where Hammill sets off for an impressive dialog between his different vocal persona. Similar to Medieval on the album The Future Now, but nearly not as good as that song was. Oh, and I hate rock opera and after hearing this album again, I fully remember why.

No, all musical-bashing aside, I really can't see this as an accomplished piece of work. It's way below many other weak albums that Hammill released in the 90's and with hardly 3 minutes of music that I can stomach, this will be just 1 red dwarf.

Bonnek | 1/5 |


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