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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Van Der man takes first step to solo survival, 20 Oct 2006
This review is from: Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night: Remastered & Expanded (Audio CD)
A measure of the salient role played by Hammill in the development of Van Der Graaf Generator was his enabling a graceful transition to solo status after its (first) collapse without compromising the band's famously 'big' ideas.

'Chamelon', the first in a welcome reissue programme of the Hammill Charisma catalogue, marked his first home-studio production, a state-of-independence he was to maintain throughout his career, recognising self-sufficiency to be essential to the survival of his esoteric output.

It's a melting pot of acoustic songs, sprawling band workouts (with old VdGG mates) and a premier wig-out in the sinewy 'Rock & Role'.

There's plenty to keep the old fanbase happy as well as engage the newcomer to this extraordinary and individual talent whose booklet notes provide inevitably useful context and insight.

Bonus tracks here include the 1967-penned 'Rain 3am' and a couple of songs from the album released on a 1978 bootleg of a concert in Kansas that emote the charge of Hammill's work even more fiercely than their studio counterparts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Peter Hammill solo album, 15 Dec 2009
By 
Mark Shackelford "mark shackelford" (Worthing, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night: Remastered & Expanded (Audio CD)
This is a beautiful early Peter Hammill solo album, but with large contributions from VDGG. It appeared after the (first) disintegration of the main band, and some of the tracks could well have found themselves on a "real" VDGG album.

Some gentle, sad, songs of lost love and rainy streets - Slender Threads etc, a fantastic heavy rock track (with, perhaps, my favourite ever chorus) on "Rock and Role", and what, surely, was a VDGG track - "In The Black Room" - which reemerges on "Real Time" and "Live at the Paradiso" - so must be one of Hammill's favourites as well...

His later albums become much more personal, and more often actually solo, but this one takes me back to the glory days of the late 60s, early 70s, when musicians played what they wanted with no compromise.

... join the wastrel dance ... and enjoy!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of Despair & Bitterness, 14 Oct 2008
By 
John Ferngrove (Hants UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night: Remastered & Expanded (Audio CD)
This was Hamill's first solo album after the collapse of the visionary Van Der Graff Generator that gave us one of the small handful of Prog masterpieces, Pawn Hearts, just a year or two before. The band collapsed from sheer exhaustion of a life of exploitation on the road, and the weight of paradox that came from being too many years ahead of their time.

For this album Hamill adopted for the most part, with one awesome exception, a simple song format, each song based around either a simple guitar or piano part, but being joined for each song by one or other of the old band to fill out the sound. The main instrument however is Hamill's voice or voices which spans the octaves from high angelic to growling wolf, interspersed with demonic shrieks and venomous snarls. For sheer melodrama the only voice that ever came close was Gabriel in the prog heydays of Genesis, when they were an underground band, and not a pop group, but Hamill was the master. His inspiration after all was Edgar Allen Poe and there is not a little of the Hammer Horror ethos when at his most outrageous.

The awesome exception is what was the final track on the original album The Black Room, where the whole band come together and perform the penultimate VDGG masterpiece, in the spirit of the original classic sound. Though the band members would continue to assist with Hamill's subsequent solo efforts, and indeed the band would eventually reform, the sound would gradually transform to something tamer and slightly more commercial. The sheer athleticism of Hamill's voice would have peaked and most of all, the wacky time signatures, that had come in for so much scorn from the anti-prog tendency would be dropped. It is a satisfyinly long track and would stand next to Lemmings for a comparison.

All the songs on the album are about failure. Failure of dreams, failure of hope, failure of friendship, but most of all just plain failure. The going under of VDGG clearly tore the man up, but he managed to turn the experience into an awesome piece of art with lasting validity.

Finally, the lyrics must be mentioned. Hamill was always one of the finest lyricists around, writing intelligent songs about things that really mattered. Once more, he was at the top of his game at this period,
another facet of his talent that, in my humble opinion, would lose its decisive edge in the coming years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hammill's 2nd solo LP does the business, 27 Aug 2013
By 
A. J. Potter "Andy Potter" (Haslemere UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night: Remastered & Expanded (Audio CD)
What can I say? Chameleon just got better.Well worth purchasing for (In the) Black Room alone.... Along with Rock and Role, German Overalls and Easy to Slip Away. Buy it now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great to have in addition to my vinyl!, 17 Mar 2014
By 
Ian Braby (Woking, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night: Remastered & Expanded (Audio CD)
And what fantastic value to have the AutoRip tracks, too, making it easy to add to my new iPod Classic!
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4.0 out of 5 stars great job, 14 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night: Remastered & Expanded (Audio CD)
well do done mr. Hammill, you're get the target once again. One of his best job
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pawn Hearts Vol II, 26 Sep 2002
By 
J. Mann - See all my reviews
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The three albums "Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night", "The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage" and "In Camera" are generally seen as Hammill's strongest solo period. They all feature all other members of Van der Graaf Generator.
These three albums are also very similar in style: Lots of acoustic guitar, great vocals/lyrics, and some strangeness.
'Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night' is the first album of new material after 'Pawn Hearts' and the break of Van der Graaf Generator phase 1. It tells of Peter Hammill's reconciliation of breaking up the band, continuing to perform as a solo artist. Peter Hammill once referred to it as 'Pawn Hearts Vol II'.
"Easy to Slip Away" is a continuation of the classic "Refugees" while "Black Room", lyrically filled with Tarot cards hints, is actually a Van der Graad Generator song.
A complex, rewarding album, well worth listening to.
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