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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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Prog Reviewer
5 stars "As swift as any arrow..."

Within the world of prog, VDGG are often associated with the so called 'big six' English bands of the '70. Of the six, I found VDGG to be the hardest to get into, and this particular album has taken me two whole years to fully appreciate. It was recorded shortly after the band reformed in 1975, following a handful of quality solo releases from band leader Peter Hammill. I won't profess to know anything about it that hasn't been noted by other reviewers, so all I can give you is my personal opinion.

It's almost impossible to compare the sound of VDGG to any other bands of that era, they were of course pioneers within own little corner within music, but uniqueness doesn't necessitate quality so what makes VDGG, and in particular 'Godbluff', so special? Its not just the eclectic songwriting, the intriguing lyrics, the bombastic vocals, the unusual keyboards, or the excellent drumming, the answer lies within the perfect balance it presents. When compared to its predecessor 'Pawn Hearts' (jarring) and its successor 'Still Life' (calming), for me the sound of 'Godbluff' (exciting yet refined) sits somewhere in the middle. These are of course only very loose descriptions based on an overall impression, but its almost feels like the best of both worlds.

Another thing that stands out for me is the use of saxophone, especially on Scorched Earth. Its an instrument which often falls into two extremes, the avant-garde meanderings of King Crimson or Naked City, and at the other end of the scale, super cheesy pop melodies or lounge jazz. Once again, 'Godbluff' strikes a nice balance and the employment is not only tasteful, but also a key component towards my enjoyment of this particular piece. Incidentally, Scorched Earth has always been my favourite track on the album, but more recently I have grown quite fond of The Sleepwalkers which pays testament to the depth and endurance this record has to offer.

The Verdict: Absolutely essential.

Starhammer | 5/5 |


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