Van Der Graaf Generator - Do Not Disturb album review

High-voltage prog.

Van Der Graaf Generator Do Not Disturb album cover

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VDGG’s fourth album since they became a trio in 2007, Do Not Disturb is every bit as strange, angular and unpredictable as anything the band did in the 70s. The passing of time has added weight and poignancy to Peter Hammill’s extraordinary voice, and the chemistry between him, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans verges on magical here.

Their mastery of extreme dynamics has become ever more refined, too: opener Aloft veers from elegance and calm to huge, lurching, organ-driven riffs and back again, each transition more urgent and telling than the last. Similarly, the gorgeous Room 1210 seems to undergo perpetual transformation as textures overlap and merge and moments of calm are punctured by the spikiest of rhythms.

On the deeply peculiar Alfa Berlina, Hammill strides manfully to the far edge of left field, taking infectious delight in jarring atmospherics and electronic tics. The impish (Oh No I Must Have Said) Yes is half skewed heavy metal, half hellish jazz.

With this album, you can hear how more than 40 years of making fearless and eccentric music together has emboldened prog’s original awkward squad and propelled them to a new creative peak.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.