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Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

3.95 | 1254 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Gentle Giant is one of the best discoveries you will make as a prog fan. Their music is extremely technical, highly complex and strictly non-commercial. Every prog fan's wet dream! After starting with 'Octopus', I found their debut album in a CD shop, and bought it without hesitation. Since this was their debut, I was worried that this would not be as progressive as 'Octopus', just like how Yes's debut is not as progressive as 'Fragile'. I needn't have worried. 'Gentle Giant' not only surpassed my expectations, but I liked it even more than 'Octopus'!

In fact, I own the Repertoire reissue, which comes in a great LP-replica sleeve. When you open the gatefold (vertically, not horizontally), the iconic giant's face becomes linked to his lower half and a drawing of the band in his hands. The artwork is done by George Underwood, who also did the amazing album cover for the UK version of 'Shine On Brightly' by Procol Harum. On the inside there is a printed story about a gentle giant, written by Tony Visconti, the legendary producer. As on most of the Gentle Giant CDs, there are problems with the remastering. The sound quality is crystal clear, and all the track markers are in the right place, but this version is missing a couple of the synthesizer riffs heard at the end of a couple of the tracks. With help from a friend who owned a different version of the album, I was able to piece together a better version of the album.

The album starts with Giant, which is something of a prog rock classic. The song is perfectly complex, and amazingly played. The See the world in the palm of his hand. section is flawless. The instrumental is brilliant. Perfect song.

Funny Ways is extremely different. The song has an old-fashioned feel to it. The middle section changes completely once more, and there is an epic section with a fantastic guitar solo. A lot less complex than Giant, but still excellent.

With Alucard (which is Dracula backward), we return to the complexity and progressive nature of Giant. Most of this is instrumental, but there are two verses. The highlight of the song comes at 4:38, where each member of the group play their instruments seperately in rapid succession. This song shows just how far the band could themselves and technology in the studio.

Isn't It Quiet And Cold again has the old-fashioned feel of Funny Ways. This song is even less complex, but feels very sophisticated, and is not a dull song at all. Some good instrumentation here.

At only 9 minutes long, Nothing At All would turn out to be Gentle Giant's longest song. This of course is very surprising for such a good prog band, but it goes to show that prog rock doesn't need to be sprawling suites to be good. Nothing At All is a timeless classic. A truly epic song indeed. It's not extremely complex, but the opening to the song is fantastic and plays like a great rock song. Half way through the song changes into an epic 3 minute drum solo which is augmented by the rest of the group occasionally, before coming to the coda. This is one Gentle Giant's most epic songs, and is a wonderful composition.

Why Not? is a brilliant fusion of prog with rock and roll. There is nothing unenjoyable about this track. Of course the highlight of the track is the guitar solo in the outro. If you need to air guitar, then this is the song for you! Gary Green you legend!

The album closes with Gentle Giant's own interpretation of the British national anthem, The Queen. This version is not only better than Queen's God Save The Queen, but was also released earlier. A fine tune it is too!

All in all, this is a stunning debut album. It's not quite as complex as the work they'd release in the future, but the compositions speak for themselves. It's incredibly easy to give this album the five stars it deserves.

baz91 | 5/5 |


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