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Van Der Graaf Generator - H to He Who Am the Only One
Label: Caroline Records
Release: 1970

Tracklisting:
Killer
House With No Door
The Emperor In His War-Room
---i. The Emperor
---ii. The Room
Lost
---i. The Dance in Sand and Sea
---ii. The Dance in Frost
Pioneers Over C.
H to He Who Am the Only One - Van Der Graaf Generator
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Well, if "Least We Can Do..." was VDGG's "A Saucerful of Secrets", then this album is their "Dark Side of the Moon". It didn't take long for VDGG to build upon "Least We Can Do..." and create their classic sound - this album was releasedin the same year (1970). As a result, there's not one weak moment on this record - it's a total classic, and the firstin a rather large set.

The signature VDGG-sound kicks in on the monstrous "Killer", which is also probably the only VDGG song you stand a chance ofknowing. Incredible twisted progressions abound, along with devastating David Jackson saxophone of death. And, of course,mr. frontman himself, Peter Hammill. Hammill is now in full force, and he delivers his lyrics with a conviction and powerthat's only surpassed by Kate Bush. He is utterly devastating on every single track - and he would remain this way for awhile.

The almighty "Killer" is followed up by an incredible ballad - the fantastic "House With No Door" - again, complete with agood vocal line, and a great set of lyrics (Dealing with loneliness, a theme that Hammill would later explore on "A LouseIs Not A Home", amongst others). Beautiful. Following that is probably the most standard track on here, with "TheEmperor In His War-Room". However, that's not a complaint - the song's still great. A creeping mood, and good Hugh Bantonplaying. The song goes into overdrive though, when guest guitarist Robert Fripp delivers a ripping solo. Plus, it has a great ending.

The winning track on this album follows - the powerful, emotional, epic "Lost". A devastating track - not really the sort of musical background you'd want for a love song (a very possessive love song, mind you). Hammill shows greatemotion here - delivering his top-class lyrics with utter conviction. The song also has bags of melody - albeit the mostunconventional and twisted ones. The song employs about 1 trillion different time signatures. But it's still great. Andplus, you get an amazing finale - Hammill's final wails of "I LOOOVVE YOUUUU - I LOOVVVEEE YOU"...followed straight off by an ending that sounds like the whole thing's just about to come crashing to the ground, killing everyone. But it fades outbefore it does. An utter classic - one of the best songs in the whole VDGG catalogue.

And the album ends with "Pioneers Over C.", a song which achieves everything that "After The Flood" failed to achieve.Cohesive playing, good melodies, and a great atmosphere...especially when Hammill goes acapella in several sections - it'svery spacey. The culmination of these spacey songs would be the classic "Red Shift" on Hammill's "The Silent Corner..." butthis is also a classic.

A definite 10 for this album - every song is fantastic. The band, and Hammill, are at their peak - really going for everything. Classic album - 10. And they would follow it up with another.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

 


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