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Van Der Graaf Generator - Present CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.61 | 497 ratings

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4 stars I've allowed time for the novelty of a new VDGG album to wear off before posting my review, and I have to concur with the majority view here; this is a fantastic comeback. Hammill and VDGG have brought out the best in each other, and if Present isn't quite up to the standard of Pawn Hearts or Godbluff it's still one the strongest sets they've released.

Other reviewers have already analysed the songs in detail, so I'll keep my own comments brief. Every Bloody Emperor is a superlative start to the album, vintage VDGG and you can almost see the veins standing out on Hammill's forehead as he delivers one of his most impassioned vocals in years. Nothing else quite matches this in intensity (though Nutter Alert comes close) but it's still rivetting stuff - other highlights include David Jackson's instrumental Boleas Panic, and the closing track On The Beach which is one of VDGGs mellower songs with a Marvel comics namecheck (The Silver Surfer) for good measure. The only song where the standard dips (slightly) is In Badelsburg, which sometimes sounds like noodling.

The improvs CD is a welcome bonus - while there's nothing essential on here it's nice to hear Banton, Jackson and Evans flex their musical muscle a little, and it's a worthwhile reminder that VDGG is much more than Hammill's backing group.

Equally recommended to newcomers and established fans.

Syzygy | 4/5 |


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