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Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant CD (album) cover

GENTLE GIANT

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.95 | 1254 ratings

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Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Somewhere in between the pop stardom of Simon Dupree and the Big Sound and the ostentatious prog pinnacles of the post-Phil bi-Shulman era, Gentle Giant cranked out one of the most solid, consistent and unique debut albums in all of rock music.

The band's debut often gets criticized by prog fans because it's "not as complex" as the group's later works. In all due respect, though, who cares? "Gentle Giant" is a vicious blues-fused prog attack that sounds like the bastard child of Deep Purple and Genesis. Who doesn't like Deep Purple and Genesis? All seven songs on this album are classics. "Giant" is the perfect opener, with its hard-hitting horn arrangements and drums-bass-mellotron groove that almost seems like a precursor to the Yes classic "Heart of the Sunrise". "Funny Ways" is the first indication that Gentle Giant is capable of compositional greatness, though. This seemingly awry tune manages to churn out more quality musical ideas in under 5 minutes than I've ever heard, from mystical bard-style acoustic sections to boogie woogie funk to heroic battle trumpets, "Funny Ways" has it all, and a little extra.

"Alucard" is classic early Uriah Heep-style horror prog, with an extra dose of jazz and "Isn't It Quiet and Cold?" offers some nice breathing room after its predecessor's train wreck ending. "Nothing At All" is truly a testament to how incredible the Shulman brothers are. One minute you'll be shivering and tearing up from its absolute pastoral beauty and the next minute you'll be air drumming to what is probably the only drum solo in a ballad. The album finishes off with two great blues rock numbers, including a rendition of God Save The Queen that makes what is debatably the most boring national anthem on the planet into a bombastic, no-holds-barred rock and roll fanfare, because why not? (pun intended)

"Gentle Giant" is the absolute gem of the Gentle Giant discography. Though it may not be as over-arranged and needlessly busy as "The Power and the Glory" or "Free Hand", it is still subtly complex, and more importantly, it has SOUL. This is absolutely essential listening for anyone who likes quality progressive music and isn't too worried to listen to something with slightly muddied production. THE quintessential Gentle Giant work; 5 stars.

Magnum Vaeltaja | 5/5 |

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