Monday, April 20, 2009

Van der Graaf - Vital

4/10

Ugh, this live album is terrible. The sound quality isn't very good, and there's too much reliance on obscure material and the better-known material is ruined by the fact that the songs were rearranged for a violin and guitar (which has a fucking horrible tone). The only "classic" material here is "Pioneers Over C" and a few bits and pieces of "Killer" and "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers". I have to say I'm glad they didn't try to do a full version of the latter song; playing it live in its entirety would've been an incredibly tall task even under the best of circumstances. There's also a performance of "Mirror Images," a Hammill solo song, which does away with the awesome NES synth-tones of the original which made me love it so much. Lame. I would've given this trainwreck an even lower grade if it weren't such an interesting trainwreck, since the songs don't sound much at all like the studio versions.
This was a double album originally, and I have the 1-disc version which deletes a few songs, but I can't imagine this being any better in slightly longer format. Fortunately, the band broke up after this and did not reunite for nearly three decades.

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