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Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant CD (album) cover

GENTLE GIANT

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.91 | 1038 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars I sometimes listen to a band's whole discography (if it's not too big) before I start to review their albums. I do this in order to get an overview of the band prior to turning to the specifics of each individual album. I have now heard all of Gentle Giant's albums. I started with this debut album a few years back and worked my way through their catalogue in roughly chronological order all the way up to their last album Civilian. But this very first Gentle Giant record is still one of Gentle Giant albums I listen to the most.

The powerful jazzy hard rock of opener Giant and Alucard stands out as the greatest songs. Nothing At All could easily have been the best Gentle Giant song ever if they hadn't insisted on including an unnecessary drum solo in the middle of the song. Having drum solos on a studio album is never a good idea! Still, even this cannot destroy the beauty of this song.

The music on some of these songs is rather heavy and not too far away from what Deep Purple and Black Sabbath were doing at the time. Also, Jethro Tull sometimes comes to mind. The silly Funny Ways and Isn't It Quite And Cold, however, would not sit too well on a Deep Purple or a Black Sabbath album. The lyrics also firmly put them apart from the early heavy metal bands. And the silly lyrics are the weakest link in my opinion. Indeed, Gentle Giant is often a pretty silly band, which is evident from the very band name itself as well as the cover art to some of their albums and the titles of many of their songs.

The album closer is an electric guitar version of God Save The Queen. About five years later Queen, one of my all time favourite bands, would end their album A Night At The Opera with a similar guitar version of this British national anthem. Did Brian May listen to Gentle Giant maybe?

Bearing in mind that this was released already in 1970 it is rather groundbreaking; remember, this was before we had Thick As A Brick, Selling England By The Pound or Close To the Edge, and the same year as Deep Purple In Rock and Black Sabbath's debut. In that perspective this deserves a high rating despite its few flaws. I will be less gentle on some of the bands following albums.

Recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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