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Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant  CD (album) cover

GENTLE GIANT

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.86 | 798 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Pnoom!
3 stars Gentle Giant, with each new release of theirs that I discover, continue to strike me as one of the greatest bands ever to come out of Britain, and their fabulous debut is no exception. While I would not call it their best effort, it is certainly quite good. From the opening notes of Giant to the closing strains of The Queen, Gentle Giant deliver a stellar album. Their penchant for strangeness and inventiveness can already be seen, as, with Gentle Giant (the album), they are, right from the start, challenging the very nature of traditional rock music. The songs are a blend of hard rock and art rock, and with that Gentle Giant touch that makes everything much better. Gentle Giant (the album) pounds away for its duration, not once letting up the great energy it contains.

This album is widely overlooked in the Gentle Giant discography, and there a couple of reasons for this. While it is stellar, it is not their "most" anything or anything-"est." It's not as fun and quirky as Octopus, it's not as bizarre as Acquiring the Taste, and it's not as boundary-pushing as In a Glass House. Nevertheless, as far as quality goes, it is on the same level as all of those. None of the songs are bad, and with the exception of Nothing At All (it's full of great ideas, but drags on just a bit) and The Queen (simply because it only really works in context, which it does splendidly), they all rank among Gentle Giant's best. Giant is a killer opener, pretty immediately accessible and easily among my top Gentle Giant songs. Funny Ways is nearly equally as great, with soft vocals, amazing violin work, and a blistering guitar solo as well. Alucard, like Giant, is another killer track, with a great opening riff, and it only gets better from there. Also like Giant, it is based generally in hard rock and has a ton of energy, but is still strange and different enough to please even the most diehard Gentle Giant fan. Isn't It Quiet and Cold takes the album in a slightly different vein, one similar to the softer Funny Ways, but with more strange Gentle Giant twists thrown in and even better violin work (and better vocals, too). This song is up with Alucard and Giant. Nothing At All opens and closes really well, but falters in the middle with the drum solo, where it tends to drag on too long. Like I said earlier, it's full of great ideas, but just doesn't pull them off perfectly (though it's still far from a bad song). Why Not? is another hard rocking track in the vein of Alucard and Giant, and just as good (especially, but not solely, in the vocals department). The album then closes with The Queen, a short closing-type track that only stands in the context of the album.

On the i-tunes review of Acquiring the Taste, it said that one of the main improvements of Acquiring the Taste(their sophomore effort) over their debut was the improvement in vocals. I'm not sure where the reviewer was coming from, because the vocals here are some of my favorite from Gentle Giant. The music, whether hard rocking or softer, is also among Gentle Giant's best. Often times, debut albums allow the listener to look forward and see the heights the band would reach in the future. With Gentle Giant, however, the debut stands up with all their best work. Definitely essential for Gentle Giant fans, and it truly belongs in every progressive music collection. Highly recommended for everyone who likes music.

Pnoom! | 3/5 |

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