This collaboration between a Swedish chamber rock group and a prog-rock maverick is promoted as “brimming with twists and surprises” but left this listener largely unmoved.
It’s the work of two artists that have been going for a while, blissfully going about their business undeterred by the relative lack of commercial success and happy enough to cultivate a cult following.
The symphonically inclined Isildurs Bane formed in 1976 and have released thirteen albums prior to this one. Peter Hammill, now in his 70s, first formed Van Der Graaf Generator in 1967 and since then has pursued a concurrent and highly idiosyncratic solo career.
The six compositions are credited to Peter Hammill and Mats Johansson while all lyrics, and vocals, are by Hammill. His distinctive, tonally challenged English voice and high-blown versifying make him a taste I have never acquired. He has always struck me as epitomizing the kind of pretentious bombast that punk tried to blow away.
Nothing on this album persuades me to change this viewpoint although doubtless his presence, together with the inflated everything-but-the-kitchen-sink instrumental backing, will delight diehard prog-rock enthusiasts.
My mother used to dismiss singers she loathed with the plea for me to “Put him out his misery!” Needless to say, I rarely shared her musical judgement but if this entreaty had been applied to Hammill I think she’d have a point.