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Van Der Graaf Generator - A Grounding In Numbers CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.44 | 459 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
3 stars After the mildly disappointing 'Trisector' I wasn't exactly looking forward to yet another Jackson-less VDGG installment, and as it turned out, this album isn't far below or above expectations. There's no fire left in this VDGG engine, but on the other hand, the band still follows its own artistic vision regardless of what happens to the rest of the world.

We're off for a difficult start, 'Your Time Starts Now' is a ballad that faithfully follows Hammill's known 90s styling, be it with a mr Banton on the organ. The song nor the playing is anything exciting though. 'Mathematics' is a bit better, it's a soft and subtle song with a kind of dreamy-mystical touch due to Banton's organ and what sounds like glockenspiel. What follows is the most cringe-worthy moment on any VDGG album, the main riff of 'Highly Strung' is the kind of cheesy grand-daddy-rock riff that sound completely out of place on a VDGG album. It reminds me of Hammill's 86 pop album 'Skin'. Dreadful. The songs heads off in a likeable cacophony of time signatures, weirdness and VDGG-ness, only to return to that awful riff for the chorus. What a shame.

'Red Baron' is the first of a couple of short instrumental tracks on the album. It's only 2 minutes long but it offers more excitement and anything that preceded. It's too short unfortunately but at least it leads into a better part of the album. 'Bunsho' and 'Snake Oil' are both deserving VDGG songs showing a band that has aged a lot but that did so with style and class. 'Splink' is the next instrumental but a rather forgettable one this time. Also 'Embarrassing Kid' can't convince as it misses the testosterone levels of old that could make it work. Ballads fit this band better these days, so the gentle 'Medusa' is much more attractive. It leads into 'Mr. Sands', which is the better of the more energetic tracks on this album. Two short little awkward tracks open up for the album's finale 'All over the Place', one of the few songs here that really give me the VDGG feel.

There is little here that reminds of the creative freshness and sparkle of 'Present', and none of the songs matches the better compositions of 'Trisector'. Still, this remains an artistically faithful and deserving VDGG album.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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