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Gentle Giant - The Power And The Glory CD (album) cover

THE POWER AND THE GLORY

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.30 | 1423 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 34

After thirty-three reviews on Progarchives, finally comes the moment to make my first review of a Gentle Giant's album. "The Power And The Glory" represents, for me, one of the best musical works of the group and it's one of my favourites, too. This is an album that I know since the 70's and it's also one of the band's albums that I listen most.

"The Power And The Glory" is their sixth studio album and was released in 1974. This was their third conceptual album, taking the power and corruption as the linking theme. The concept was focused on an individual person, who wants to do the good using the political power. He finds himself tended to abuse the power, as all of those who have come before. Finally, he becomes in what he always fought against. He becomes in a corrupt person as many others.

It seems that "The Power And The Glory" is the group's favourite album and it's also, perhaps, one of the most difficult and complex Gentle Giant's albums, despite the usual complexity of almost of all their albums.

The line up on "The Power And The Glory" is Derek Shulman (lead vocals and tenor saxophone), Gary Green (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars,) Kerry Minnear (lead vocals, Hammond organ, piano, minimoog, clavinet, electric piano, mellotron, marimba, vibraphone and cello), Ray Shulman (vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, violin and electric violin) and John Weathers (drums, tambourine, sleigh bells and cymbals).

"The Power And The Glory", on my 35th anniversary edition, has ten tracks. It has all the original eight tracks and plus two bonus tracks. All the music and lyrics were written by Minnear, Shulman and Shulman, except "Aspirations" which was written by Ray Shulman and Minnear. The first track "Proclamation" is one of the two lengthiest tracks on the album and remains as a brilliant opening track. It's a song with the typical Gentle Giant's relatively complex musical arrangements, and it has a great melody. This is one of my favourite themes of them. The second track "So Sincere" is a more complex and dissonant song than the previous one. It's a more experimental and avant-garde song with some jazz influences. We may be able to say, that it has a certain nonsense and it's a rather exquisite song. The third track "Aspirations" is a calm, relaxing, melancholic and ethereal ballad, probably one of the most beautiful and well constructed songs from the band, in a more classic progressive vein. The fourth track "Playing The Game" is the other lengthiest track on the album, and it's a dynamic and a relatively complex theme. It's a really multi-faceted and pure progressive song, in the Gentle Giant's most pure musical style. The fifth track "Cogs In Cogs" is the smallest track on the album, and is another excellent song with very complex multi-part vocal harmonies. It's a track with a very intricate orchestral arrangement. The sixth track "No God's A Man" is another song with some intricate, complex and intriguing arrangements, with also multi-part vocal harmonies. It's a complex song with many mood and tempo changes. The seventh track "The Face" is a song with an incredible instrumental section, and is probably the most spectacular and creative on the album. It's a great example of the creative genius of the group. The eighth track "Valedictory" is the reprise of the melody from the first song on the album. It's a more rock version, heavy, dissonant, and a little bit darker than "Proclamation" is. This isn't surprising, because the lyrics reflect the opposite idea of the previous song.

Normally I don't review bonus tracks. So, I will not review one of the bonus tracks, the "Proclamation ? Live". However, I'm going to make an exception with the other bonus track "The Power And The Glory". "The Power And The Glory" is the song which gave its name to the album and it seems that it didn't originally appeared on the album because it hadn't been written yet, when the album was released. It's really a good song, a short theme with the classic Gentle Giant's sound, but it seems to be much less complex than the typical work of the band. This song came out as a single, and so, no wonder that it be a much more simple musical work, than what the band was accustomed to do.

Conclusion: "The Power And The Glory" is one of the best albums from one of the best bands in the progressive rock universe, and an essential masterpiece in any progressive musical collection. Some may say that "Octopus", "In A Glass House", "Acquiring The taste" or "Free Hand" are better than "The Power And The Glory" is. I really don't know if it's true and sincerely I don't think that it be really relevant. What I really think is that it's more a question of personal taste. What is really true and relevant is that "The Power And The Glory" has its share of classic Gentle Giant's songs, and remains as one of the best progressive rock music albums ever made. This is a truly amazing album, not only in its very technically accomplished progressive music, but also in its clever concept. It has numerous emotional and virtuoso musical moments and remains as a must have for all progressive fans in any musical collection.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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