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GENTLE GIANT

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Gentle Giant biography
Formed in the late 60's by the Shulman brothers, GENTLE GIANT is known as the paradigmatic progressive rock band. With an uncomparable musicianship, they went as far as no one ever did into unexplored grounds in the progressive music, navigating over dissonant 20th-century classical chamber music, medieval vocal music, jazz and rock. The multi-instrumentation capabilities of the musicians gave such dynamic to their music, which set parameters to a whole coming generation up to these very days. They explored Moogs, Mellotrons and Fender Rhodes usage with such majesty! Not to mention other instruments like oboes, violins, cellos and horns among others.

The band was able to come across the 70's maintaining an outstanding level on their music, altering their style over the years and keeping the quality as only a few bands were able to do. Among their magnificent discography, all the albums from "Acquiring the Taste" through "Playing the Fool" are essential progressive rock releases (with the possible exception of "Interview"). This portion of the band's career would see a fittingly grand conclusion on the live "Playing the Fool" album. What more is there to say about these masters of progressive music?

Compilations Albums: Numerous collections and greatest hits albums have appeared over the years.

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Octopus (Remixed by Steven Wilson)Octopus (Remixed by Steven Wilson)
Alucard 2015
Audio CD$14.98
$6.22 (used)
The Power And The Glory (Mixed By Steven Wilson) [CD/Blu-ray Combo][Deluxe Edition]The Power And The Glory (Mixed By Steven Wilson) [CD/Blu-ray Combo][Deluxe Edition]
Alucard 2014
Audio CD$13.61
$13.60 (used)
Giant For A DayGiant For A Day
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$6.71
$4.50 (used)
OctopusOctopus
Import
Imports 2013
Vinyl$37.48
$24.99 (used)
Free HandFree Hand
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$6.97
$6.96 (used)
In A Glass House [LP]In A Glass House [LP]
Alucard 2010
Vinyl$22.99
$27.51 (used)
InterviewInterview
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$6.97
$6.73 (used)
Acquiring The TasteAcquiring The Taste
INgrooves Fontana/Mercury 1990
Audio CD$4.30
$2.58 (used)
The Missing PieceThe Missing Piece
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$3.67
$7.47 (used)
Gentle GiantGentle Giant
Import
Imports 2013
Vinyl$29.99
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Live At The Bicentennial 1976 by Gentle Giant (CD, Nov-2014, Alucard) USD $13.95 Buy It Now 4h 22m
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GENTLE GIANT shows & tickets


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GENTLE GIANT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GENTLE GIANT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 947 ratings
Gentle Giant
1970
4.24 | 1177 ratings
Acquiring the Taste
1971
4.11 | 982 ratings
Three Friends
1972
4.28 | 1510 ratings
Octopus
1972
4.36 | 1308 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.29 | 1217 ratings
The Power And The Glory
1974
4.28 | 1175 ratings
Free Hand
1975
3.75 | 585 ratings
Interview
1976
2.94 | 425 ratings
The Missing Piece
1977
2.32 | 367 ratings
Giant For A Day
1978
2.78 | 331 ratings
Civilian
1980

GENTLE GIANT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.48 | 356 ratings
Playing The Fool - The Official Live
1977
3.55 | 23 ratings
In Concert (BBC Radio 1)
1994
4.11 | 54 ratings
Out Of The Woods
1996
2.40 | 33 ratings
The Last Steps
1996
4.10 | 49 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents
1998
4.04 | 23 ratings
Out Of The Fire
1998
1.91 | 16 ratings
In A Palesport House
1999
4.12 | 37 ratings
Totally Out Of The Woods
2000
1.94 | 17 ratings
Live Rome 1974
2000
2.26 | 13 ratings
Interview In Concert
2000
1.78 | 9 ratings
Artistically Cryme
2002
3.74 | 21 ratings
Experience
2002
1.47 | 6 ratings
Endless Life
2003
3.92 | 10 ratings
Missing Face
2003
1.95 | 13 ratings
Way of life
2003
2.23 | 7 ratings
Prologue
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
Playing the Cleveland
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live In New York 1975
2005
3.00 | 5 ratings
Santa Monica Freeway
2005
3.42 | 20 ratings
King Alfred's College Winchester
2009
3.79 | 30 ratings
Live In Stockholm '75
2009
3.89 | 17 ratings
Live at the Bicentennial
2014

GENTLE GIANT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.63 | 177 ratings
Giant On The Box
2004
4.26 | 90 ratings
GG At The GG
2006

GENTLE GIANT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 19 ratings
Giant Steps...The First Five Years 1970-1975
1975
3.13 | 4 ratings
Pretentious For The Sake Of It
1977
4.38 | 52 ratings
Edge of Twilight
1996
3.13 | 57 ratings
Under Construction
1997
4.29 | 32 ratings
Free Hand/Interview
1998
3.20 | 32 ratings
Scraping The Barrel
2004
4.19 | 17 ratings
I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis years (1975-1980)
2012
1.95 | 11 ratings
Memories Of Old Days
2013

GENTLE GIANT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Rock Power
1971
4.58 | 12 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.47 | 15 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.33 | 21 ratings
The Advent Of Panurge
1973
4.45 | 11 ratings
The Power and the Glory
1974
3.33 | 6 ratings
Give It Back
1976
3.00 | 6 ratings
I'm Turning Around
1977
3.75 | 8 ratings
Two Weeks in Spain
1977
4.11 | 9 ratings
Just the Same (live)
1977
2.40 | 5 ratings
Mountain Time
1978
3.17 | 6 ratings
Thank You (edit)
1978
3.25 | 4 ratings
Dando Vueltas
1978
3.17 | 6 ratings
Words from the Wise
1978
2.33 | 3 ratings
Underground
1980
2.20 | 5 ratings
All Through The Night
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
In A Power Free In'terview
2009

GENTLE GIANT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Civilian by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.78 | 331 ratings

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Civilian
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

2 stars Review Nº 56

Gentle Giant was a British group in activity for a decade, between 1970 and 1980. The Gentle Giant's music always was considered very complex and sophisticated even by progressive rock standards. They were musically influenced by many styles like folk, soul, jazz, medieval and classical music. Unlike many of their progressive rock contemporaries, their influences elements range from romantic music, medieval music, baroque music and modernist chamber music.

Mainly because of that, Gentle Giant was never a very popular group at the time. On the other hand, the band never made major concessions on their music to the public and to the media. So, there has always been a certain difficulty of relationship between the group and the media. Because of that Gentle Giant always thought that only few critics seemed to have an idea, about what the band really was and what were the things that they seemed to care about.

In the late of 70's, since the end of 1976, it emerged and developed the punk rock movement and the new wave. That new musical phenomenon was specially created as an opposition to the progressive rock movement, because they considered that the progressive rock music was very complex, elitist, bombastic, sentimentalist and soft. Those new musical changes, that took place at the time, affected the musical careers of all progressive groups, in a way or another. The progressive rock has become discredited, and many of those bands were considered old dinosaurs. The media and the record labels ceased to be interested on progressive rock and adhere to this new musical fashion.

Some progressive rock bands were more affected than others, and obviously Gentle Giant was, in my humble opinion, one of the bands that were most affected, due to the complexity of their music. It's true that Gentle Giant never was a band with great popularity, but with the beginning of punk, for Gentle Giant cessed definitely the possibility of can be recognized as a great band. They lost definitely the possibility of the big recognition for that they'd worked so hard to achieve and that so they richly deserved. Gentle Giant, like other groups, consciously moved the patterns of their music towards to a less complex and more direct style pressured by their record labels and the media. So, it was in that difficult musical context that Gentle Giant created their last studio effort, this album, 'Civilian'.

'Civilian' is the eleventh studio album of the band and was released in America, in 1980. Gentle Giant, relocated the centre operations of the group to Los Angeles, California because they hoped that a change of scene probably would help them at the American market. It seemed to them, that it was the better chance to can improve the sales and therefore be supported by their record label. In short, it would be the way to survive in that new musical reality.

'Civilian' is an album with nine tracks. Let it be said from the beginning that 'Civilian' isn't a classic Gentle Giant's album, neither in sound or style. Most of the songs on the album are written much to the taste of a kind of the American hard rock new wave musical style. Some of the songs remind me the music of Foreigner, one of the most famous American rock bands of the 80's. I'm talking about the first track 'Convenience', the second track 'All Through The Night', the fourth track 'Number One' and the sixth track 'I Am A Camera', although the last of them, has a Gentle Giant's beginning. In reality, the songs are pretty good. I also like some Foreigner songs. The fifth track 'Undergroud' has also a Gentle Giant's beginning, but sincerely, the rest of the song reminds me Yes. However, this is still a good song. The seventh track 'Inside Out' is a song that reminds me Supertramp without saxophones. It's also a good song. The eight track 'It's Not Imagination', despite be a song with a simple American rock beat the keyboards remind me Gentle Giant. Finally, the third track 'Shadows On The Street', I may say that this is a very beautiful ballad that sounds a little beat to a Gentle Giant's song. It remains to me as one of the best tracks on the album.

Conclusion: We can say that 'Civilian' would be a good album if it was released by any other band and that it would to be rated with 3 stars. However, I cannot rate it with 3 stars, but only with 2. Why? Because, this is a Gentle Giant's album that doesn't sounds to a Gentle Giant's album and it has nothing to do with a progressive album. Where is the originality, the complexity, the sophistication and the diverse influences which were the foundation of their music? The main problem with 'Civilian' is that Gentle Giant changed so much that they lost their charisma, identity and their unique footprint in the world of progressive rock, to the point of being a band completely unrecognizable. 'Civilian' can reminds me everything, but very few of Gentle Giant. Even some band's members disliked the album, which caused the end of the group. So, when I listen to this album, I listen to it as if it was released by another band. Anyway, despite "Civilian", Gentle Giant is, and they will remain for the history of progressive rock music, as one of the biggest, original and interesting bands to emerge in the 70's. Even today, their music remains as refreshing as it was then.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 Octopus by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 1510 ratings

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Octopus
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

4 stars The first time you hear this album, you will hate it. That is a fact. Is that because it's a one star album? Of course not! Gentle Giant is a band that grows on you and Octopus is the perfect place to jump in.

A wild, complex ride, Octopus is a succinct album, packing in as much punch as it can in its short 34 minute duration. The album is a great starting point for those new to Gentle Giant as it marks a turning point between the band's two stylistic eras. Each track bears elements of both the bluesier, soulful early days of the band as well as their jarringly complex later albums. Not a single one of the album's eight tracks is weak, each one is well composed and offers something unique. The only drawback to the album is that while its songs are consistent in their inconsistency and controlled in their chaos, nothing really stands out and makes me say "wow!" (though some of them get really close to it).

Hence Octopus is a four star release, an excellent gem that every prog fan should try out, and I thoroughly recommend that everybody should.

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 Three Friends  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.11 | 982 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review Nº 51

"Three Friends" is the third studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1972. It started to be known as a conceptual album, at the time. It was the first conceptual album made by the band and represents also one of the first conceptual albums made by any band. The concept of the album, deals with three childhood friends whose lives take them to very different places. They were separated by the fate, each following a different path. One goes into manual labour, other is a white-collar worker and the last is an artist. The lyrical insights that sketch out the characters are generally banal, with nothing of important revealed about the labourer, the artist or the businessman. But what does finally come off and is really important is the music. The album is comparatively short and drawn on an appropriately intimate scale. The pieces introduce themes that reappear throughout, all over the album.

"Three Friends" is also a special album because it marks the departure of the former drummer Martin Smith and the entry of the new drummer Malcolm Mortimore, who would playing within the band only on this album. So, the line up of this album is Gary Green (guitars and percussion), Kerry Minnear (vocals, keyboards, vibraphone, Moog and percussion), Derek Shulman (vocals), Phil Shulman (vocals and saxophones), Ray Shulman (vocals, basses, violin and 12 string guitar) and Malcolm Mortimore (drums).

"Three Friends" has six tracks. All the songs were written by Kerry Minnear, Phil Shulman, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman. The first track "Prologue", as its name indicates, is a song that opens the album, magnificently. It's a song that progresses nicely all over the theme with great individual musical performances especially with great and strong keyboard riffs and an excellent bass line. This is, in my humble opinion, the best song on the album and it's also one of the top songs of the band. The second track "Schooldays" is a very nice song with experimental vocal and musical passages. It's a song with the use of several musical instruments at the same time. It's also a song with beautiful piano working and we also can say that it represents one of the best performances of Kerry Minnear. Here, Phil Shulman sings wonderfully and it represents also one of his best vocal moments in the group. The third track "Working All Day" represents the rocker song of the album. It's a song with some similarities with "Wreck" from "Acquiring The Taste" and where we can feel strongly, I think, some musical influence of the Van Der Graaf Generator's sound, especially in the structure and in the intensity of the song. This is, in my opinion, another great song. The fourth track "Peel The Paint" is a song inspired by the classical music, in the beginning, that starts very slow and delicate, but that suddenly the music develops into a more intense and dense musical moment, with a heavy rock format. Curiously, in the heavy rock part, it's a song that reminds me strongly the Deep Purple style. I think we are in the presence of an interesting song but at the same time a strange song in their musical repertoire. The fifth track "Mister Class And Quality?" is another good song on the album. It's probably the simplest song on the album, with a nice melody and some interesting musical breaks. It's a rock song, with good musical moments, great keyboards, a good bass working and a good rock drumming. The sixth track is the title track "Three Friends". It represents, for me, the second best musical moment on the album with the opening track "Prologue". This is a song where all comes together in the music, the keyboards, the guitar, the bass and the all other musical instruments. I especially like of the keyboard working performed by Kerry Minnear. We are in the presence of another great song, a very short but a very cohesive piece of music. Despite that we are in presence of a short song, it's really a great piece of music that sounds really fantastic.

Conclusion: "Acquiring The Taste" and "Three Friends" were the albums of Gentle Giant that I met later. So, in a certain way, both are the studio works of the band that I know, less well. However, that does not constitute any problem to me, review these two albums. As I wrote before, when I reviewed it, "Acquiring The Taste" is, in my humble opinion, the most experimental, most discordant, most avant-garde and most experimental album, in all their musical career. And it was also for me, the most difficult studio work of them, to rate and review. On the contrary, "Three Friends" has for me a very fine sound and a very special taste. Everything in it sounds great, especially the guitars, the bass and the keyboards. The musical harmonies and arrangements have a distinctly medieval feel and the melodies are quite catchy. So, in my humble opinion, "Three Friends" is, in general, an underrated album. Of all eleven studio albums of the band, excluding "The Missing Piece", "Giant For A Day" and "Civilian", which are minor works, "Three Friends" and "Gentle Giant" are their simplest and most accessible albums and probably the most beautiful too.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 The Power And The Glory  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.29 | 1217 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars GENTLE GIANT were on a roll pumping out one eclectic masterpiece after another and that certainly did not change with their sixth album THE POWER AND THE GLORY. The band remains as musically inventive and utterly unique for the times and was so far ahead of their time that 21st century music lovers are finally catching up to their challenging style of mixing, melding and fusing musical elements into a musical category that immediately screams GENTLE GIANT. This is actually a concept album about the age old tale of someone gaining political power in order to change things for the better only to be tempted by the dark side and falls into the trap of becoming exactly the opposite of the original vision. A grand concept that continues their line of intelligent story lines that are accompanied by some of the most challenging progressive rock music ever laid down to tape.

This is another album that flows by all too fast for me since this band has become one of my absolute favorites of all time. Too weird for some but fir me by the time i'm done with this album i want more and including more technical wankery included in the mix, but i never feel cheated listening to this in the least bit. While "Proclamation" begins the musical journey with the classic progressive keyboard riff, it takes no time at all for their unique brand of melodies that are certainly an acquired taste to take root.

What amazes me about this band is how they can take a simple melody and twist it here and tweak it there and stretch it a little in the middle and overdub a counterpoint and create a mad tornado of sounds that swirl around in a seemingly chaotic manner but somehow make it fit together to keep an overall melodic and rhythmic flow albeit an overtly complex one. "So Sincere" has to be one of the most twisted examples of how to get from London to Paris via all seven continents! Indeed one of my favorite tracks that i wish more tracks on here would repeat the formula of but even less frantic tracks that are more designed for a smooth emotional connection like "Aspirations" are so well crafted and beautifully constructed that i become the helpless fish taking the bait.

Ironically the song that has the same title as the album was released as a single but not included on the original release of the album but has since been included as a bonus track on newer remastered editions. It seems this band is finally getting the respect it deserves as the Steven Wilson remixes are sending them up the charts over 40 years after their release. This is excellent news because as much music as i consume, no one comes close to the melomania i feel when i listen to a GENTLE GIANT album like THE POWER AND THE GLORY. This is just perfect music for my tastes and like the whole string of albums up to and including "Interview" only get better after every listen. This album is yet one more pièce de résistance that 70s prog rock has to offer.

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 Octopus by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 1510 ratings

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Octopus
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by ster

5 stars Probably their best known album and a great one to start. Octopus may be the best GG album among many of their greats. Octopus is complex but also pretty accessible in some weird way. A very energetic album and it sounds like they had fun making it. On Three Friends, Gentle Giant started experimenting with the ensemble playing that would appear on Octopus which where one instrument would start a phrase then another would add to or complete it. Octopus showcases this, front and center. One instrument would play a theme then later in the song it would be another and so on. Kind of like a rotation. GG would take this approach to the extreme when performing Octopus live.

This would be drummer John Weathers first album with GG and he was the right man for the job. JW was able to add a steady beat to whatever was thrown at him unlike the previous drummer who pretty much went along with the other players. He made them actually rock without losing their complexity and he also added xylophone as well. This would also be Phil Schulman's last record with the band.

Don't let the short times of these songs fool you. They are packed with detail and are very fun to listen to. The ensemble playing is on another level. GG didn't do jazz, what they did was construct songs in a hyper organized way. Like a highly complex puzzle where everything just fits. No loose jamming or solos just incredibly structured music. Amazing juxtaposition of instruments and voices. No other band does it like GG and Octopus is the pinnacle of that direction. A masterpiece. GG would take this direction in a more sublime way on the next few releases.

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 Playing The Fool - The Official Live by GENTLE GIANT album cover Live, 1977
4.48 | 356 ratings

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Playing The Fool - The Official Live
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review Nº 46

Gentle Giant is, for me, one of the best ten progressive bands that have already existed and is surely one of the most innovative and experimental of all. Gentle Giant is a truly progressive band in all the meanings of the word and always has been a band that never made big commitments, to become a more commercial group. Compared to some other huge bands at the time, such as Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd, for instance, the Gentle Giant's music was always extremely complex and intricate. It was the main reason that never helped them to expand more their fan base.

'Playing The Fool' is their debut live album and was released in 1977. This live album was recorded one year after their eighth studio album 'Interview' released in 1976, which is in general considered the last great studio work of Gentle Giant. 'Playing The Fool' is a perfect example that demonstrates in live, the group's complex musicianship and talent as well as showcasing versions of themes which are in some cases greatly modified from their original studio versions. This is even more remarkable, due to the great complexity of the band's music and which seems to me that is extremely difficult to be performed live. However, Gentle Giant played their complicated music with all perfection.

My 'Playing The Fool' version is the Castle CD. So, my 'Playing The Fool' is a live album with nine tracks and this is the version that I will review. In some cases the tracks are divided in two parts that corresponding to songs which were played together. The first track 'Just The Same/Proclamation' opens the show in a very effective way and 'Proclamation' actually turns into 'Valedictory', the last track on 'The Power And Glory', towards the end. 'Just The Same' and 'Proclamation' were originally released on 'Free Hand' and 'The Power And The Glory' in 1975 and 1974, respectively. The track was performed live in D'sseldorf, Germany. The second track 'On Reflection' was rewrite when compared with the original version. The middle section has been moved to the beginning and a completely new theme appears at the end of the song. It was originally released on 'Free Hand'. The track was performed live in D'sseldorf, Germany. The third track 'Excerpts From Octopus' is a 15 minute medley of their album 'Octopus' released in 1972. It was a version partly and strongly rearranged of parts from the record. It opens with "The Boys In The Band" that goes into acoustic instrumental versions of "Raconteur Troubadour" and "A Cry For Everyone" before going into "Knots" and the highlight of the medley, "The Advent Of Panurge". The latter one has been extended by a recorder part in the middle that further strengthens the song's medieval feel. The track was performed live in Paris, France. The fourth track 'Funny Ways' was originally released on 'Gentle Giant' in 1970 and features a lengthy solo on vibes. The track was performed live in Munich, Germany. The fifth track 'The Runway/Experience' is made of two tracks originally released on 'In A Glass House' in 1973. Here, Derek Shulman is singing the Minnear's parts on 'Experience', and the heavy mid-part is slightly faster than on the original version. The track was performed live in Paris, France. The sixth track 'So Sincere' has been stretched out to ten minutes by a lengthy instrumental part that starts with some really sparkling guitar work from Green, before it goes into a percussion part that is really better than the usual drum solos you'll find on most live albums. It was originally released on 'The Power And The Glory'. The track was performed live in Paris, France. The seventh track 'Free Hand' is, as you would expect, hard rocking and energetic. They even dropped the quiet mid part in favour of a much louder jam. It was originally released on 'Free Hand'. The track was performed live in Brussels, Belgium. The eighth track 'Sweet Georgia Brown' is an original and very short instrumental piece that sounds as a jazz piece of music based on violin. The track was performed live in Brussels, Belgium. The ninth track 'Peel The Paint/I Lost My Head' is a short version of two tracks originally released on 'Three Friends' and 'Interview' in 1972 and 1976, respectively. The track was performed live in Paris, France.

Conclusion: Gentle Giant never ceased to impress me, except after the 'Interview' album. Too bad their last three studio albums which are more pop oriented and have clearly shown the signs of weakness as the truly dark ages that were pointing at the horizon of the progressive rock music. However, Gentle Giant had proudly let their personal mark in the progressive rock music, and until then, their musical quality level had rarely been equalled. 'Playing The Fool' is without any doubt one of those cases. It has great performances of a very complicated and technically brilliant music. The final result is a very good track list with a great sound quality level. All of these factors contribute to that 'Playing The Fool' can be seeing as a great live album. With it, we have a great live album that will long live in the progressive rock history as one of the best live albums ever made by one of the best and most unique bands of the genre.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 Octopus by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 1510 ratings

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Octopus
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Sachis

5 stars Well, what can I say about Gentle Giant? One of the perfect prog bands ever. This album I enjoy it from the first. A very complex, but rather listenable progressive music. Every composition has its charm and a very enjoyable way of tasting. Shulman brothers & co. prove that the progressive rock music should be played at the highest peak. I cannot say I have a favourite song. However, Raconteur, Troubadour and Think of me with kindness are my favourite ones. Overall, this album represents a truerly masterpiece of prog music. I said this, based on the complexity of the music, the diversity of sound and instruments the members are playing and , of course, the voice of Derek Shulman which fits very well on the sound. Highly recommended : 4,5 stars.

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 The Power And The Glory  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.29 | 1217 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review Nº 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*)

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 Octopus by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.28 | 1510 ratings

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Octopus
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars My dear. I meant just wow. In the past I've heard tidbits of Gentle Giant's Octopus, mostly that of 'The Advent of Panurge', still remaining one of my favorite of their lyrical and musical work, but there is literally no problems with this album. Every song has an amazing production, delves in deep without becoming unconventionally mixed about, and each has it's own personal flare. Perhaps the most hard rocking of their albums, featuring prototype hard rock that could be considered influential to some, but that is hardly the main focus. A very notable stylistic quality the album features is an amazingly developed and varied vocal arrangement, using every open moment where the guitars grow quiet for Phil to take the lighter moments while Derek takes the stronger sections. Also on the subject the A Capella arrangement 'Knots' is a fantastical addition to the interesting vocalizations of Gentle Giant. 'The Boys in the Band' is probably in my top ten if not five instrumentals of all time. The more hard rocking tracks that you'll find are 'A Cry for Everyone' and the closer 'River' for anyone who is curious. I heartily believe that Octopus remains in the collection that Phil's wife Roberta mentions as the "octo-opus", perhaps as the best. Do not by any means pass this one up.

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 The Power And The Glory  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.29 | 1217 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Gentle Giant were sort of the "odd-man-out" group when it came to popular 70s progressive rock bands. While maintaining a solid fanbase, they never really achieved the stardom that bands such as Rush or Yes received; when you start listening to the band's music, it quickly becomes evident why this was the case. In the liner notes of their second album Acquiring the Taste, the band stated: "It is our goal to expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of being very unpopular." During their prime, they'd follow this quote and shun the commercial world as the commercial world generally shunned them in return. It's really quite unfortunate though, as the group made some of progressive rock's finest works; they'd mix technicality and multi-faceted arrangements with an emotional weight and depth rarely seen in progressive rock. Nowhere does that seem more wonderfully represented than in their 1975 masterpiece The Power and the Glory.

The record is a concept album about a man who wants to use his political power in a beneficial way. However, as he becomes more power-hungry and dictatorial, the man ultimately becomes no different than the leaders who came before him. It's a pretty typical concept, but it also allows for Gentle Giant to get creative with their themes and musical settings. For instance, the opening track "Proclamation" has a very frantic discordant section in the middle, suggesting panic stemming from either the previous leader or the position of this new leader in the story. Also, every song references the previous song by title; so for instance, "So Sincere" would put "Proclamation" somewhere in its lyrics, "Aspirations" would put "So Sincere" somewhere in its lyrics, and so forth. It's a clever way to tie each song and theme together, all leading to the climactic "Valedictory" which displays the complete reinvention of the main character; the song is essentially a more distorted and dark version of "Proclamation," leading the story and album to come full circle. A great concept indeed.

Musically, Gentle Giant were better than ever here. You've got the typical sudden changes and instrumental shift displayed in other albums by the band, but there's a greater sense of cohesion at the same time. The concept and certain compositional choices led to this album being a bit more streamlined than In a Glass House (contrary to popular belief, this album is not as complex as you might think), but in a good way. While technically challenging numbers such as the multi-layered violin-led "So Sincere" or the incredibly nimble, dissonant-sounding (for the most part anyway) "Cogs in Cogs" are on the album, a song like "Aspirations" is a completely different tune. Instead it's a heartfelt ballad that's very quiet and keyboard-driven; also unusual for Gentle Giant is how the 4/4 time signature is the main beat of the song. Almost as if it's... conventional??? Well, it doesn't go that far; there are still a few odd breaks and diversions here and there that add the band's unique touch to the music. You've also got "No God's a Man" which goes for a similar slow pace with occasional instrumental diversions, as if separate musical "conversations" are putting their stamp on the atmosphere of the song. And that's what makes this album work so well... it has a very healthy mix of simplistic accessibility and complex multi-faceted technical moments. It's a perfect combination of the two, and the band are very keen on not giving the listener too much of either at a time. For every "So Sincere," there's an "Aspirations" to follow. It's so pleasing to the ears to hear two musical thoughts collide into one cohesive whole. "Playing the Game" and "The Face" have a tendency to be a bit weaker and less played (by me, at least) than other songs on the album, but they have their own share of highlights too. The 6/8 portion of "The Face" is a great shift from the main 4/4 melody played during the verses. The violin's a highlight here just as it was in "So Sincere," working well as a lead instrument against the complex rhythm parts.

This is an amazing record. Not only is it a very technically accomplished progressive rock effort, but it also has a cleverly-executed concept and numerous emotional moments to balance out the virtuosity. It may be a bit tough to find this in stores, but I'm sure it's pretty cheap online. No matter how you get it, just get it. If you like progressive music, you won't be disappointed in the slightest.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

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