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Van der Graaf Generator: H to He Who Am the Only One

Album Notes

Van Der Graaf Generator: Peter Hammill (vocals, guitar); David Jackson (saxophones, flute, background vocals); Hugh Banton (keyboards); Guy Evans (drums, percussion).

Additional personnel: Robert Fripp (guitar); Nic Potter (bass).

The foreboding crawl of the Hammond organ is what made Van Der Graaf Generator one of the darkest and most engrossing of all the early progressive bands. On H to He Who Am the Only One, the brooding tones of synthesizer and oscillator along with Peter Hammil's distinct and overly ominous voice make it one of this British band's best efforts. Kicking off with the prog classic "Killer," an eight minute synthesized feast of menacing tones and threatening lyrics, the album slowly becomes shadowed with Van Der Graaf's sinister instrumental moodiness. With superb percussion work via Guy Evans, who utilizes the tympani drum to its full extent, tracks like "The Emperor in His War-Room" and "Lost" are embraced with a blackened texture that never fades. The effective use of saxophone (both alto and tenor) and baritone from David Jackson gives the somberness some life without taking away any of the instrumental petulance. H to He is carpeted with a science fiction theme, bolstered by the bleak but extremely compelling use of heavy tones and the absence of rhythms and flighty pulsations. This album, which represents Van Der Graaf in their most illustrious stage, is a pristine example of how dark progressive rock should sound. ~ Mike DeGagne


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