After the reunion of the ‘classic’ line-up in 2005 and saxophonist David Jackson leaving the band in 2006 Van Der Graaf Generator have continued as a trio and released Trisector in 2008. Being one of the few active 70’s prog rock bands they still achieve to release albums of importance – yet without their trademark saxophone sound nobody knew what to expect from the new trio.
But Peter Hammill (vocals, guitar and piano), Hugh Banton (organ and bass) and Guy Evans (drums and percussion) can do the job by themselves in a great way. The opening track The Hurlyburly already shows the way, being an organ-driven hard rock track in the style of early Uriah Heep. It’s the same with Drop Dead and the heavy All That Before. Yet the true prog sound comes with the second track Interference Patterns, a fantastic complex piece with a certain Gentle Giant touch.
Some of the tracks are quiet ballads like The Final Reel or Only In A Whisper. Others have some kind of nervousness, Lifetime or (We Are) Not Here, for example. But the twelve-minute long center piece Over The Hill combines it all: loud passages, quiet sounds and a fantastic song structure. What makes this music so special is the band’s reduced sound. They manage to keep the instrumentation simple and they don’t use many effects as well – it’s the music itself which simply is so undeniably good!
All in all Van Der Graaf Generator’s Trisector is a great album which brings back the sound of classic progressive rock without sounding outdated. Instead the trio gives it a modern touch while still being original.
Written by Wolfgang Merx