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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 | 993 ratings

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Xonty
5 stars My favourite Gentle Giant album by far and away, "The Power And The Glory" is so musically exciting and unique compared to all of their early works which I often switch off listening to. There is such a refined signature sound that runs through all of the pieces. It fits all of the disparities you hear on the album, and is seriously indescribable. The band's extreme talents all work together, augmenting these incredibly intricate pieces as they are. Undoubtedly a masterpiece.

"Proclamation" starts with that recognisable funky offbeat keyboard, layered on with Derek's deliciously peculiar melodies, teamed with quite a harsh delivery. Despite what my family thinks, the song has excellent melodies throughout, and keeps on building with electric and bass guitars that ingeniously fill the gaps between the keyboard riff, as if to give it a delayed sound. This creates a superb effect, and adds to the dissonant middle section, where everything comes together to punch you in the face! The best track on the album and an outstanding track almost beyond belief! "So Sincere" then enters with similarly brilliantly sagacious lyrics and distinctive chord progressions to the opener, shining a whole new light on this chaotic all-instruments-everywhere in the chorus. Very innovative techniques and another tremendous track!

"Aspirations" retreats more towards acoustic guitars, with more "singable" melodies (all of which beautiful) and a great contrast to the first insane 10 minutes. The lyrics and vocals are much gentler, and the instruments still fill the gaps with some funky rhythms, and occasional intriguing chord progressions. Another very creative piece of songwriting. "Playing The Game" is immediately brought in with some very intriguing effects and music, soon getting you into another groove with a return of Derek's vocals. Once again, the melodies keep this signature sound but are somehow very different to all the other tracks on the album. All sorts of musical excellence is hurtled towards you, which you are able to intercept after a few listens. If this album does sound a little "perplexing" to begin with, still give a couple more tries - you won't regret it, especially if you're at all into King Crimson or VDGG. Anyway, the track becomes much more depressed on the flip of a coin, with a wonderful keyboard solo leading you back into the familiar verses to end it.

"Cogs In Cogs" introduces some more odd time signatures and percussive keyboard techniques, forming a very active song that works fantastically live and in the studio. Very heavy and each instrument hits the offbeat notes so definitely! "Cogs In Cogs" probably shows their greatest talents on the album, additionally including inspired melodies and a quirky dissonant feel for a piece with major arpeggios playing on low down on the song. A little too short compared to the other tracks, but nonetheless one of Gentle Giant's best. "No God's A Man" then brings in some nylon guitars to the mix, and carries a very flowing, airy atmosphere compared to their more manic pieces. Very gentle on the ears, with some more harmonies that really push the boundaries of even progressive music! Fantastic instrumentation by each member, with some great acoustic pianos and occasional electric guitar outbursts, plus many other of these strange tools making a one-off appearance on the track.

"The Face" immediately enters with another symphony of crazy melodies, with an excellent inclusion of the violin too. Has a great feel and structure too, and quite underrated in my opinion, although the vocal melodies are perhaps a little repetitive for such a track. Otherwise, yet another flawless piece, remaining the album's standard unbelievably high. "Valedictory" then reprises the distant "Proclamation", almost forgotten by the absolute overload of music crammed into just over half an hour. A little more melodic, and less dissonant than the opener, with a slower tempo - qualities which help prove it as a grand closing track. Perhaps could have been a teensy bit more adventurous and outgoing for Gentle Giant, but essential to the album and brings it all home brilliantly.

A(+): A very underrated album by the general public, and to an extent, even progressive fans! Combining funk, rock, and 20th century classical elements, it sticks to the true meaning of progressive music in a year when Yes and ELP were becoming more distant from real experimentalism. A must-have for every prog rock fan.

Proclamation: ***** So Sincere: ***** Aspirations: ***** Playing The Game: ***** Cogs In Cogs: ***** No God's A Man: **** The Face: ***** Valedictory: ****

Xonty | 5/5 |

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