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Van Der Graaf Generator - Godbluff CD (album) cover

GODBLUFF

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.48 | 1998 ratings

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Modrigue
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The resurrection of Van Der Graaf Generator

Fans of alternative prog, rejoice! After four years of silence, Peter Hammill, David Jackson, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans unexpectedly reunite in 1975 and simply offer one of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's best albums! "Godbluff" inaugurates the band's second era in the mid-70's and proves that miracles exist. After "Pawn Hearts", Hammill started a solo career and his works were a bit different from VdGG's style. Same goes for the other members, who released average jazz-rock albums, under the name "The Long Hello", without their singer. These three separation years thus demonstrates that Peter Hammill is not VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR all by himself, and, vice-versa, that VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR cannot exist without its lead vocalist.

Composed of four mini-epics, "Godbluff" is their first self-produced opus, as well as their most accessible. Again, the music, somber depressive, tortured and dominated by keyboards and saxophone instead of guitars, investigates the depths of the human mind. This time, the atmosphere is maybe even more bitter and aggressive than on "Pawn Hearts". In addition of his raging and theatrical voice, Hammill makes an important usage of clavinet and Jackson's saxes are literally possessed here. Also featuring various changes and complex rhythms, the songs are perhaps a little less demanding than those of VdGG's first era, but still as interesting, creative and touching.

Opening with whispering vocals and saxophone, "The Undercover Man" is sad and beautiful. Melodies to cry for. The tension then rises with the raging and somber "Scorched Earth". After its heroic overture, the music goes crescendo, stronger to conclude with a surprising distorted guitar section. A powerful track, driven by the organ and Jackson's demented sax.

Do not trust the ambient free jazz introduction of "Arrow": this song is the most violent and darkest of the record, but also the maybe the most heartbreaking. A magnificent explosion of mastered wilderness! Back to calm with the more melodic "The Sleepwalkers" and its strange bossa-nova interlude. This ethereal ender contains also quite spacey keyboards and a grandiose finale. Epic!

Out of time, "Godbluff" is much more than just the return of a major progressive band, it's a miraculous resurrection, a musical black meteorite darker than most other disc of the same time-period. Each track is superb and offers its own variety of ambiances. A little gem of tortured and frightening impressions, so human...

Most accessible record from the band, this fifth opus is definitely the one to start with for newcomers. "Godbluff" is a masterpiece of depressive prog, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's creative peak, with "Pawn Hearts" of course...

Modrigue | 5/5 |

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