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

THE POWER AND THE GLORY

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

4.26 | 1007 ratings

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LiquidEternity
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This album is a relatively uninteresting Gentle Giant album, nestled among its best releases.

The real issue with this album is the songwriting. Sure, there is complexity. Sure there are some challenging ideas and some strong melodies and all that. But it just feels like a lot of it is rather Frankensteined, stitched together to try to make songs more progressive than their music really calls for. On its own, it's a wonderful album. It's a fun one with some mindbending tunes. But as far as a Gentle Giant album goes, this one is really nothing very special. The band-oriented sound of In a Glass House is temporarily lost on a few of these tracks, creating songs that do not seem to flow with the rest of the album. Instead, a more experimental tact is taken, even though in the end nothing very new is being tried. This is, in short, Gentle Giant writing songs that sound like songs Gentle Giant should write. The motivation and interest is much less keen here than on their other main releases.

The first side opens with Proclamation, one of the Frankenstein tunes in my book. A lot of neat parts went into the writing of this tune, yet it still does not seem to hold much interest or energy as a song. So Sincere does its best to change that, and its best is a rather strong best, displaying simplistic vocals over a complicated mesh of wildly arrayed music during the chorus. This is probably one of the more interesting tracks on the album. The music continues with Aspirations, a very Think of Me with Kindness sort of track, though not quite as good. Still, it's a fairly moving track with a solid chorus melody. Playing the Game rolls in next, another song stitched together but a fair bit more solid this time. There are some very nice xylophone sequences in this piece as well.

Side two kicks off with the Knots-esque Cogs in Cogs, a complicated track that is not quite as exciting as it sounds like it should be. No God's a Man carries the complex vocal interplays much better, creating a unique series of intertwining melodies like Gentle Giant at its best. The instruments, however, are not flying around and driving the energy of these songs like on other records by this band, I must add. That changes on The Face, a frenetic instrumental driven by wild guitar and a pulsating rhythm section. The album closes with Valedictory, a song that reprises moments of Proclamation, though it is just as stitched-together as the other songs referred to as such previously. It ends the album fairly well, though if you have the special edition or whatever, you get the bonus title track. This short piece is probably the most exciting on the album, with a slightly cheesy but very catchy chorus and well-aligned band.

In the end, this is a pretty good album. The fact that it's a Gentle Giant album makes it seem like more of a disappointment, though, since it does not carry as much interest or excitement as the band is usually able to make their records do. Fans of Gentle Giant will enjoy this, but listeners new to the band should go with Free Hand or Octopus instead.

LiquidEternity | 3/5 |

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