Saturday, March 29, 2008
Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts
VDGG weren't your typical prog rock band that was filled with goblins and dragons, they were more of an evil version of a combination of King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King meets Genesis's Nursery Cryme. Their next album, Pawn Hearts is a true defying achievement. The album is filled with nightmare tales from Peter Hammill, screeching saxes from David Jackson, keyboards going haywire by Hugh Banton, and Drums as uzi's from Guy Evans. Even though they had some killing and heavy songs like Killer, After the Flood, The Sleepwalkers, White Hammer, Childlike Faith in Childhood's End, and Darkness (11/11), they filled up the sound of terror and filling up the room like a Progressive Rock version of Jekyll & Hyde rock opera routines to jump out of the lake with dark material and alarming effects to keep you from jumping. Lemmings (Including Cogs), is an electrical wave of evil above the cliff top of insanity. Keyboards and Saxes going off like a ticking time bomb while the drums go into a mellow and attack mode. Peter Hammill sings like a madcat as the music follows him into the mystical darkness. Man-Erg is one of the most glorified tracks on Pawn Hearts. It starts off a ballad in the first 2 minutes of the track, and then it goes into a nuclear and post-apocalyptic musical scenario while Pete screams out the line 'How can I be free?! How can I get help?! Am I really me?! Am I someone else?!' this part and the rest of the track is almost a sneering jazz like scenery as the saxes, drums, organs, and Peter's vocals go into a massive embellishment. And if that wasn't scary, this next piece is almost perfect for Prog-Rock's Halloween tradition. The 23-minute piece A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers, is almost on the edge of your seat as if a Mad Scientist wrote a rock musical about a lighthouse keeper planning to commit suicide or live his life and start a new beginning. It has this piece going into a haywire version of Zappa's 200 Motels with David Jackson's saxes going up to maximum volume, organs and mellotrons scaring the shit out of the neighbors and the ocean scenery of shock treatment, but still a heavy fucking mind-boggling track. If HP Lovecraft were alive today, he would definitely get a real kick out of it for his sexual beheadings and Re-Animators. This album is one of the best I've listened to from VDGG. It's more of another combination of the sound effects of the Haunted House meets Goth music in the 21st century that will crawl up behind you. It's massive, disturbing, and shocking to get you fit shaped for the torture chambers! All in all, buy this album and turn the volume way fucking up!