The horn sound on this album moves VDGG closer to what King Crimson were doing during the Lizard/Islands period while the classical keyboards pull the sound towards early Genesis (with whom they toured the following year). I love the confluence of gorgeous vocals and rhythm guitar work that goes head to head with free-jazz saxophone on tracks like What Ever Would Robert Have Said? Hammill had a lovely voice (and possibly still does) and he uses it to great effect, from a croon to a growl and often in the same song.

vdgg-tlwcd2After the deluge of Darkness (11/11), Refugees is a beautiful interlude with some nice harmonies before White Hammer, another example of proper early prog histrionics. Lyrically the latter owes too much to its source material (the 15th century treatise on witchcraft, Malleus Maleficarum). That said, the interplay of the sax and keyboards can occasionally make you forget the words. I hope I can find a live version, because the fadeout (given that this song closes side A) is annoying. Honestly not sure where I got my hatred for the fade, but in general I think the shows that the producer was sleeping on the job.

Side B starts with Whatever Would Robert Have Said? For being only about six minutes long, it goes through several sections, some with vocals, some without. The opening wailing saxophone shows off some interesting production – the sax in the left channel is different than the sax in the right. They definitely knew what stereo was for.
Out Of My Book is another musically gentle track. Primarily flute-driven, it’s another first-person not-quite-love-song.
After The Flood has a section with some great flute/drum interplay. Lyrically it’s half biblical flood and half apocalypse. The horn work in the middle of the song has the free jazz feel of contemporaneous King Crimson. I like the Dalek effect on the word ‘annihilation’. Alas, the refrain of And when the water falls again / All is dead and nobody lives doesn’t really do justice to the majesty of the music.

The version on Spotify is the 2005 remaster with two extra tracks: The Boat of Millions of Years and the single version of Refugees. Wikipedia says that these are the B and A sides of single released two months after the LP. The latter still isn’t exactly radio friendly at 5 minutes 18 (versus the 6:25 of the album version), but radio was a different beast in 1970.