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Fall of the House of Usher

Peter Hammill Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Some Bizarre
  • ASIN: B000024W6Q
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,934 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blinding darkness 2 Aug 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful monstrosity of an album. Edgar Allen Poe's story is given exactly the right treatment within this musical genre - akin to a darker and electronic Sondheim or Lloyd-Webber - and it is a crime that this is now a rare recording, when it should be being celebrated worldwide by all those with a love of the theatrically dramatic and the musically gothic.

Reviewers were initially unfair to this album - no doubt comparing it to more immediate and fashionable pop and rock in their pile - and this combination of dissappointing reviews (though few actually bothered at all)and low marketing exposure (if any) meant that few - other than already established Hammill fans - would be aware of this. However, it it still not too late for this record to get the recognition it truly deserves.

The album tells the story of Poe's Usher family in a very direct way, with Chris Judge-Smith (the writer of the libretto) even lifting exact passages from Poe at times, giving an astonishing lyrical intensity throughout. It begins fairly sedately - prettily even - but soon an overwhelming sense of dread emerges as we are introduced to the madness of the Brother Roderick and the desperately bleak situation he shares with his sister Madeline. However, despite the gathering gloom that (rightly) pervades this story, Hammill injects fantastic multi-layered melodies - that resemble rock songs more than classical opera most of the time, despite the lack of guitars here - and after several plays, these become fascinating and addictive and stand up individually even without the context of the whole album. On first hearing, I thought the album to be too long, but with repeated listens, I realised nothing could be ommitted.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HAMMILL,S MASTERPIECE 21 Feb 2009
Format:Audio CD
last week i wrote a very long but extremely interesting review re. this cd for posting on amazon.well it has not appeared as of now.maybe it was too long,whatever the reason lets try again but i am not going to the length of before that took to much time and effort to do and i am not prepared to spend all that effort again if my work is not then published,maybe amazon could explain why some of my reviews seem to dissappear into the ether,they could be too complex for them ?
anyway this time around i will simply say that this record ,if put out by any other more well known artist would be hailed as a worldwide masterpiece.
if my other earlier review ever does turn up it will explain the convoluted background to its birth.
nevertheless,what you have here is a long form opera,about the edgar allen poe story about the usher house and residents.
the music and lyrics are fabulous with andy bell( yes him of erasure fame ) taking on and winning with one of the main roles of montressor.hammill does usher and voices of the house.
this is not for everyone but for those of you with an open mind(should i say ears !)you will be in for a challenging listen.
over 73 minutes of music and gothlike atmosphere will unfold for you.
very well produced by hammill himself and consisting of minimal instrumentation ( compared to mainstream methods),if this was put out by steven sondheim or lloyd webber it would set broadway /west end on fire.but it isn,t however this does deserve a much wider listening audience exposure and i reckon even some prog rock/alt rock fans do not even know of its existence.
so,i,ve now done my bit for its exposure and promotion,you do your bit and buy it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, gothic masterpiece 8 Dec 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Peter Hammill's opera based on the Edgar Allan Poe tale was first released in 1991. The recording was, by his own admission, dry and cramped. Now he has re-recorded his own vocal parts, added massed guitars instead of sampled keyboards, and made a number of other improvements. The result is akin to the restoration of the Sistine Chapel ceiling! This is a difficult, demanding work, but it amply repays the listener's patience.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the tale of E. Allan Poe,a jewel of theatrical darkprog 10 Feb 2003
By Lethe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This re-recording and re-remix concerning the famous theatrical dark project of Hammill,which has been the main reference for a lot of dark prog bands, including Devil's Doll, is the best effort by this versatile UK artist in the recent times...the plot is based upon a famous tale by E.Allan Poe, featuring also Lene Lovich as Madeline Usher: the development of this theatrical act is well constructed !! This great vocalist has a strong expression during his vocal excursions, as long as the plot lay-out is completed by the original tale's development of the characters. It's difficult to compare this work to those ones of V.D.G.G., but in my opinion this is the peek of his career and also a true Hammil trademark !! It is very confortable for him,by standing here as a one man band,regarding of his total personal control over the construction of the opera ...moreover by demonstrating also his maturity in this fresh remake! I hope such re-make and the re-recording as well of the whole opera,keep on maintaining the original mood as a secure reference for the next thatrical music acts ...
Highly recommended, not for the fans of V.D.G.G. only !!
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too bad the CD is unreadable and unreturnable 3 Aug 2012
By T. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
What else can I say?
Maybe the music is good. I'll never know.
I have no idea if this is a common problem.
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what's the catalog number of this CD? 0 18 Jul 2011
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