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Van Der Graaf Generator - H To He, Who Am The Only One CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.31 | 1575 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars A few hours ago wrote a post in which I commented how much I dislike VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, but immediately remembered that I had not heard "H to He, Who Am the Only One" in decades, so even when my prejudices against this band are strong and never cared for it, decided to give it a new chance.

The result is not surprising when you are a fan of Progressive Rock, because you may hate an album for years, but in the 100th listen, find something you haven't found before and start to like it. This is the case with this excellent release, probably have listened it 20 times before today and didn't like it, but this morning one listen was enough to prove me the music is great and enough to pay it at least 5 times in the last 6 hours.

The album starts with the fantastic "Killer", a track that reminds me of "21st Century Schizoid Man", even when there's no real resemblance, probably David Jackson in the powerful Sax is the key for the similarity. But that's not all, "Peter Hammill" sounds more or less like "David Bowie" in his days as Ziggy Stardust mixed with some sort of Jazzy Psychedelia of great complexity but strong melody that I enjoyed from start to end.

."House with no Door" starts with a piano and Peter in the vocals in a song that seems like David Bowie singing an Elton John song, a mood that goes on until more or less the third minute, when again a flute that takes us back to "In the Court of the Crimson King". Not a very complex track, but extremely beautiful and surprisingly for me, with great melodic sense, and at the end Peter Hammill nicely supported by Hugh Banton in the organ, prove how versatile they are.

"The Emperor in his War Room" is simply brilliant, it has all the elements to be considered a Progressive Rock icon (even Robert Fripp), the interplay between Banton in the organ and Jackson in the flute is impressive, the radical changes are surprising but always respecting the melody, and of course Fripp performance is as good as usual. A song that has everything.

"Lost" is a strange song, some sort of hard Rock mixed with a few troubadouresque moments all blended with a huge dose of Psychedelia and dramatics, keeps the listener in constant suspense asking himself what's coming next, and the good thing is that they never disappoint.

The original version ends with "Pioneers Over C", which is the reason why I won't rate this album with 5 stars, absolutely cacophonic and makes me think that VDGG took the experimental thing too far, weak closer for a good album

My version of "H to He, Who Am the Only One" has two excellent bonus songs, but as usual I won't review them, because I like to comment an album in the way the author released it, of course it's not a reason to leave "Squid 1 / Squid 2 / Octopus" (Specially the breathtaking organ solo) and "The Emperor in his War-Room (first version)" un-listened, because both are excellent tracks.

As I mentioned before, won't go with 5 stars because of "Lost", but any rating bellow 4 stars would be unfair for an essential album.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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