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Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant CD (album) cover

GENTLE GIANT

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.94 | 1175 ratings

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Pafnutij
3 stars Gentle Giant's debut is probably the most accesible of their "classic" albums, and one of their best too. The first three tracks are the strongest. The opener, "Giant", finds GG mostly in the hard rock mode, with a quirky guitar riff carrying the majority of the song (unfortunately, it's repeated too many times throughout he track and gets tiresome fast, but the band manages to make up for that problem with the softer interludes). Following it is "Funny Ways" , for the most part a gentle ballad relying on violin, cello and acoustic guitar, with great melodies throughout , and although the waltzy piano-driven interlude is rather pointless, it's followed by a screaming electric guitar solo by Gary Green which once again makes up for the mishap.Then comes "Alucard" , GG's best composition ever, thanks to the superb main riff , a dark, dense combination of guitar, organ and brass instrumentation, although the unique vocal harmonies and powerful pentatonic riffing shouldn't be discarded. It's a timeless classic and a must-hear for those who enjoy unusual, complex music. From there, however, things get less enticing. "Isn't It Quiet And Cold?" is another ballad with acoustic guitar and violin playing the main role, but, although interesting, it's somewhat goofy and not as memorable as "Funny Ways". It's followed by "Nothing at All", which I believe is GG's longest number in their entire catalogue. If the main melody appears familiar to you, don't be surprised as it's created by using a major 6th in the context of a natural minor scale - this simple melodic device has been used countless times in all kinds of music by everyone from Vivaldi to Metallica. Trimming the song to 4-5 minutes wouldn't have hurt either - the track isn't an epic by nature in any way, but a simple song with pop-orientated structure extended to 9 minutes, with a drum solo thrown in somewhere in the middle. Next comes "Why Not" , a boring , hard blues-rock number - though parts like the short, classical organ interludes remind you that this is still progressive rock, it's little more than filler. The album ends with "The Queen", apparently an electrified version of the British national anthem. To be honest, I've never properly heard the original (at least I'm not aware of that), so I can't judge this track.

Overall, this is still a worthwhile listen. I find certain musical elements here that I don't hear much on their other records, where they often seem to focus on originality and complexity for the sake of it ( I love inventive music , but this tendency is primarily responsible for why I'm not a big GG fan). Either way, it contains a couple prog classics (namely "Alucard") and shouldn't be overlooked in terms of it's importance and influence on the future of prog rock.

Pafnutij | 3/5 |

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