Really, I’m still trying to get my head around this one. On the one hand, four years makes a huge difference. On the other hand, there were four Peter Hammill albums in between Pawn Hearts and this one, all of which featured most if not all of the other members of VDGG.

vdgg-gOn first listen, the four tracks that make up Godbluff are a bit less varied than those on Pawn Hearts (not hard, given the multiple sources of side two and the extensive recording process). It seemed to be all hard all the time, sort of like ConstruKction of Light/Power To Believe-era Crimson. The dynamics are mostly set to full on. This might have to do with it being the first VDGG album without an outside producer.

The Undercover Man opens quietly, but Hammill leans on the sing/scream dynamic he used to some effect in songs like Man-Erg. His falsetto is still in good form.

Scorched Earth is more full on and Arrow falls squarely into heavy metal territory. Yup, some serious heavy metal saxophone.

And then The Sleepwalkers, the album’s original closing track, has multiple sections including one with this weird fairground organ thingy going on. It’s the piece with the most interesting range of stuff going on. Give the subject matter, well…

The bonus tracks are live versions of Foresaken Garden and A Louse Is Not A Home from Hammill’s 1974 album The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage. The recording isn’t very good – a fair amount of feedback mars the listening experience.