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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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OctopusOctopus
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$6.79
$6.78 (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$14.63
$11.24 (used)
Free HandFree Hand
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$6.82
$6.30 (used)
In A Glass HouseIn A Glass House
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$6.82
$6.81 (used)
Octopus (Remixed by Steven Wilson)Octopus (Remixed by Steven Wilson)
Alucard 2015
Audio CD$9.84
$6.54 (used)
Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant/Acquiring The TasteGentle Giant - Gentle Giant/Acquiring The Taste
Import
BGO 2015
Audio CD$13.70
$17.22 (used)
Playing The Fool - TPlaying The Fool - T
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$6.81
$6.80 (used)
Gentle GiantGentle Giant
Import
Island Def Jam 1990
Audio CD$5.68
$4.69 (used)
Three FriendsThree Friends
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$9.67
$9.66 (used)
Live At The Bicentennial [2 CD]Live At The Bicentennial [2 CD]
Alucard 2014
Audio CD$9.27
$9.26 (used)
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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)

3.91 | 1042 ratings
Gentle Giant
1970
4.25 | 1298 ratings
Acquiring The Taste
1971
4.11 | 1065 ratings
Three Friends
1972
4.29 | 1660 ratings
Octopus
1972
4.35 | 1444 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.30 | 1344 ratings
The Power And The Glory
1974
4.28 | 1291 ratings
Free Hand
1975
3.75 | 645 ratings
Interview
1976
2.94 | 472 ratings
The Missing Piece
1977
2.31 | 405 ratings
Giant For A Day
1978
2.76 | 369 ratings
Civilian
1980

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

4.50 | 384 ratings
Playing The Fool - The Official Live
1977
3.57 | 23 ratings
In Concert (BBC Radio 1)
1994
4.12 | 55 ratings
Out Of The Woods
1996
2.41 | 33 ratings
The Last Steps
1996
4.12 | 54 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents
1998
4.05 | 26 ratings
Out Of The Fire
1998
1.89 | 16 ratings
In A Palesport House
1999
4.14 | 40 ratings
Totally Out Of The Woods
2000
1.98 | 18 ratings
Live Rome 1974
2000
2.28 | 14 ratings
Interview In Concert
2000
1.79 | 10 ratings
Artistically Cryme
2002
3.74 | 22 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
2.25 | 8 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
3.39 | 20 ratings
King Alfred's College Winchester
2009
3.89 | 25 ratings
Live In Stockholm '75
2009
3.93 | 22 ratings
Live at the Bicentennial
2014

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

4.63 | 184 ratings
Giant On The Box
2004
4.26 | 92 ratings
GG At The GG
2006

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 1
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 2
1974
3.46 | 18 ratings
Giant Steps...The First Five Years 1970-1975
1975
3.13 | 4 ratings
Pretentious For The Sake Of It
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Circling Round The Gentle Giant
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Il Grande Rock
1991
4.38 | 52 ratings
Edge of Twilight
1996
3.12 | 60 ratings
Under Construction
1997
4.28 | 33 ratings
Free Hand/Interview
1998
3.21 | 31 ratings
Scraping The Barrel
2004
4.21 | 20 ratings
I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis years (1975-1980)
2012
2.14 | 12 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
4.62 | 13 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.50 | 16 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.34 | 22 ratings
The Advent Of Panurge
1973
4.42 | 12 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
4.10 | 10 ratings
Just the Same (live)
1977
2.40 | 5 ratings
Mountain Time
1978
1.50 | 7 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
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Power And The Glory
2010

GENTLE GIANT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1344 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars The art of being avant-garde while not being avant-garde: 10/10

THE POWER AND THE GLORY features not only complex songs but also intricate concept and thematic that are much better explained by others than it can be by me. It features some of GENTLE GIANT's best tracks such as Proclamation, Playing the Game and The Face. It features the most insane arrangements they could've come up with, which so happens to be their best as well. In this album, the band represented, in the prog scene, the groundbreaking fellas of the bunch. Throughout their discography, it's noticeable the exponential increase of complexity, which as I see so far culminated in their most compelling and challenging work, that is THE POWER AND THE GLORY.

They constantly sculpt their music on the most bizarre, unintuitive but still amazing shapes, with terrifying odd time signatures that are actually common time and chaotic polyrhythms that feel as fluid as common time. We observe constant experimentation without losing enjoyability, in a form that, although completely chaotic, is still easily identifiable as music, with normal instruments, normal sounds, made by normal people, to normal people.

Their music is perfectly avant-garde in the strict sense of the word's definition of experimentality, as even for their context - the epoch of creativity of early 70's - they were considered unusual (not complaining). Paradoxically, however, GENTLE GIANT can't be considered part of the Avant-prog genre because their crafts and compositions are absurdly fluid (not complaining either), to the point it's rather ludicrous to say they are maddeningly adventurous in their sound - a characteristic of the avant-garde genre, but not necessarily of avant-garde people and groups themselves.

GENTLE GIANT was and still is indisputably one of the most mind-blowing bands of progressive music. They break our spine and our soul on what is common so masterfully they really remind me of MESSHUGAH's fame. In this way, if MESSHUGAH is the princes of polyrhythms and translates that into power - powerful extreme metal, GENTLE GIANT is the king, translating it into the purest form of glory - glorious classic prog rock.

 Acquiring The Taste by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.25 | 1298 ratings

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Acquiring The Taste
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nş 119

'Acquiring The Taste' is the second studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1971. The dissonant counterpoint, the nearly eponymous debut peculiarity that made them renowned, has their first appearance in 'Acquiring The Taste'. On this album, each of the six musicians, alternatively, played different instruments, with a massive use of electronic keyboards that gave a nearly symphonic feature to the album. With this album Gentle Giant begins the incredible versatility of their music which explores many various genres, ranging from jazz, blues, hard rock, experimental, classical and medieval, but always in the root of the tasteful progressive rock music.

The line up on the album is Gary Green (vocals, 6 string guitar, 12 string guitar, 12 string wah-wah guitar, donkey's jawbone and cat calls), Kerry Minnear (vocals, electric piano, organ, mellotron, vibraphone, Moog piano, celeste, clavichord, harpsichord, tympani, xylophone and maracas), Derek Shulman (vocals, alto saxophone, clavichord and cowbell), Phil Shulman (vocals, alto and tenor saxophones, clarinet, trumpet, piano, claves and maracas), Ray Shulman (vocals, bass, violin, viola, electric violin, Spanish guitar, tambourine, 12 string guitar, organ bass pedals and skulls) and Martin Smith (drums, tambourine, gongs and side drum). Paul Cosh (trumpet and organ), Tony Visconti (recorder, bass drum and triangle) and Chris Thomas (moog programmer) are additional musicians that appear on the album.

'Acquiring The Taste' has eight tracks. All songs were written by Kerry Minnear and the three Shulman brothers. The first track 'Pantagruel's Nativity' is one of my favourite songs of the album and became a classic Gentle Giants' track. It's a song with continuous music and a nice melody. It has beautiful keyboards very well combined with a powerful and great guitar work. What is most impressive on this track is the use of so many musical instruments such as saxes, vibraphone, celesta, harpsichord, tympani, trumpet, clarinet and so on. The second track 'Edge Of Twilight' is one of the most avant-garde musics on the album. It's a very dark music with short vocal line, nice to hear and with a good explorative musical work. The third track 'The House, The Street, The Room' is another avant- garde music with nice melody and the exploration of strange sounds. This is one of the heaviest songs recorded by the band that at some times reminds me the typical apocalyptic sound of Van Der Graaf Generator. The fourth track is the title track 'Acquiring The Taste'. It's a very short instrumental track, another avant-garde and explorative track with some nice and catchy musical moments despite its length. The fifth track 'Wreck' is probably with 'Pantagruel's Nativity' one of the two best tracks on the album. It's a strong song with the fantastic and typical vocal harmony of the group with great and interesting musical passages especially the keyboards and guitar passages. This song reminds me 'Argus' of Wishbone Ash. The sixth track 'The Moon Is Down' is another interesting song that starts very slow but that develops into a more energetic sound. It's another song with nice and good exploratory musical passages and with a beautiful vocal work. The seventh track 'Black Cat' is the calmer song on the album but with more experimental musical passages. It has some good and interesting musical moments but it seems to me the less inspired song of the album and the weakest song on it. The eighth and last track 'Plain Truth' is a solid rock song with the typical Gentle Giant's guitar work and also with good vocal harmonies. It's probably the most accessible track on the album, the less complex and the more traditional, and less typical of them. Still, it's a solid closer for this interesting, great and surprising work.

Conclusion: This album represents a giant's step into their music, relatively to their previous eponymous debut studio album. 'Gentle Giant' represents probably their less complex musical work and it's for sure their most hard and heavy rock album. By the other hand, 'Acquiring The Taste' represents, for me, the most experimental, most discordant and most avant-garde album, in all their musical career. This album has everything that characterized Gentle Giant's music, the fusion of several and different musical styles such as rock, blues and jazz, the influence of the renaissance and medieval music and the prolific use of multi musical instruments. It's interesting to note, that in the sleeve text, the band made their declaration with the objective of defining what they wanted to do in the music: ''Acquiring The Taste' is the second phase of sensory pleasure. If you've gorged yourself on our first album, then relish the finer flavours (we hope) of this, our second offering. It is our goal to expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of being very unpopular. We have recorded each composition with the one thought - that it should be unique, adventurous and fascinating. It has taken every shred of our combined musical and technical knowledge to achieve this. From the outset we have abandoned all preconceived thoughts of blatant commercialism. Instead we hope to give you something far more substantial and fulfilling. All you need to do is sit back, and acquire the taste''. And this is all really true.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Gentle Giant by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.91 | 1042 ratings

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Gentle Giant
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nş 118

'Gentle Giant' is the self titled debut studio album of Gentle Giant. Their music tried the most daring fusion of jazz, classical and rock. The band was formed by Schulman brothers who had before joined some blues band in Glasgow. The major point of strength of the sextet were Kerry Minnear's electronic keyboards, the guitar playing by Gary Green and Philip Schulman's winds. Besides their complex scores, their sound differed from other bands especially for Derek Schulman's singing, so aseptic that in some way resembles Conservatory's solfege and Gregorian chant.

So, the line up on the album is Gary Green (backing vocals, lead guitar, 12 string guitar and flute), Kerry Minnear (lead vocals, backing vocals, keyboards, some bass, cello, synthesizer and some tuned percussion), Derek Shulman (lead vocals, backing vocals and some bass), Phil Shulman (lead vocals, backing vocals, saxophone, trumpet and recorder), Ray Shulman (backing vocals, most bass, violin, some guitar and percussion) and Martin Smith (drums, percussion and xylophone). Paul Cosh (tenor horn on 'Giant') and Claire Deniz (cello on 'Isn't Quiet And Cold?'), are additional artists that appear on the album as guest musicians.

'Gentle Giant' has seven tracks. The first track 'Giant' written by Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is a fantastic begin to the album. This is a truly classic progressive Gentle Giant's song very dynamic and creative. I love the way how the guitar is played and the great keyboard work made by Kerry Minnear. This is one of the best moments on this album. The second track 'Funny Ways' written by Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is a song completely different from the previous one. It's a mellow song more classic and acoustic with an extraordinary exploration of several musical instruments, some classic and acoustic which are fantastically married with the others, electric and more modern. It's also in my humble opinion a song with a relatively complex musical composition. This is a perfect example how these guys were absolutely unique. The third track 'Alucard' written by Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is, if you have noticed, 'Dracula' spelled backwards. This is an atypical song of the group because is more a hard rock influenced song. It's relatively complex and has some interesting and good instrumental musical passages and with disturbing vocals. However, this never was one of my favourite songs on the album. The fourth track 'Isn't It Quiet And Cold?' written by Kerry Minnear is a very mellow song that reminds me The Beatles and some stuff of early King Crimson's albums. The song is performed in an unplugged style with strange and delicious parts performed especially by violin and cellos. This is a song very simple and despite being a song with a very soft and nice melody this isn't one of my favourite tracks on the album too. The fifth track 'Nothing At All' written by Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is the biggest song on the album and is really a truly surprising track. This is another atypical song of Gentle Giant and it has practically everything. The song begins as a soft and nice acoustic ballad with melancholic harmonies, in the middle it grows as a hard and heavy rock song, then comes the curious drum solo by Martin Smith, so typical on the albums of those times, curiously with the piano of Kerry Minnear adding some nice melodies on the background and finally the song ends with the initial soft and beautiful acoustic ballad. This is one of the strangest, original, curious and interesting songs ever composed by the group, a real must. The sixth track 'Why Not' written by Kerry Minnear is in my humble opinion another high point of the album. This is a heavy Rock'n'Roll song a little bit dark and frantic with some calm and nice passages. It's worth of noting the appearance for the first time in their music, of the clear influence of the medieval music, which isn't surprising because this is a song of Minnear and he is a musician strongly influenced by those music. The seventh track 'The Queen' is a rock version of their national anthem 'God Save The Queen'. It's a short version arranged by Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear. I've nothing special to say, unless that it reminds me Queen who did it five years later on their fourth studio album 'A Night At The Opera', a version that I personally prefer.

Conclusion: Who usually read my reviews on Progarchives, especially those who are about Gentle Giant, know that I'm a big fan of the group. Gentle Giant was one of the pioneer bands of progressive music and was also one of their biggest and best representatives. And about the album, 'Gentle Giant' is an excellent debut album. It's probably their less complex musical work and it's for sure their most hard and heavy rock album. But, we mustn't forget that this is an album of 1970 and therefore one of the first progressive rock albums in prog rock history. However, this album already have some of the main characteristics of their music like the avant-garde and experimentalism, the fusion of rock, blues and jazz, the influence of the renaissance and medieval music and the prolific use of the multi musical instruments.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Interview by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.75 | 645 ratings

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Interview
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Kepler62

4 stars It may seem a superfluous endeavor to review an album that was released over 40 years ago but Gentle Giant's 1976 album Interview is worth a brief retrospective glance over. At the time progressive rock itself was in question as a viable commercial prospect and Gentle Giant were at the peak of their popularity. Stylistically they had pretty much exhausted the possibilities of their singular "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to composing and playing music on their previous "Free Hand" album. In recognition of this quagmire they came up with this clever psuedo-concept album that commented on how distant the music industry was from artists and their art in the form of snippets of a mock interview inserted between tracks with noted rock journalist Phil Sutcliffe playing along.

Although it includes all the idiosyncratic elements that made their music so wondrous Interview may elicit some "you've got to be kidding me" reactions for those not acquainted with some of the light-minded and whimsical musical attitudes that comprised Gentle Giant's otherwise less than straightforward technically challenging music. Interview occupies an interesting place in the epicenter of the career of this unique band. Progressive rock was in it's death throws and devotees of the Gentle Giant would notice the toned down instrumentation and more "modern" sound, retaining it's usual adventurous spirit on tracks such as the reggae infected "Give it Back" and the sometimes bluesy "Timing". The album also spawned one of the best loved Gentle Giant tracks, "I Lost My Head" as well as the discordant "Design", another fan favourite that is littered with all kinds of musical outlandishness. So Gentle Giant was still held in high regard by their fans and "Interview" even did well with the press in spite of the climate within the music industry towards outdated progressive rock "dinosaur" bands.

Gentle Giant was even an oddity within the progressive rock realm of the early seventies but attracted a curious dedicated following so it's difficult to find a yardstick with which to measure them. While Interview could have suffered under the shadow of the monumental "Free Hand".during a busy period for the band, keyboardist Kerry Minnear has insisted on more than one occasion that the band fared well under pressure and Interview is a testament to this observation. After the release of the album in the spring of 1976 further albums from Gentle Giant became somewhat more subdued and less audacious but Interview will always stand as a critical moment at the pinnacle of a remarkable career.

 Thank You (edit) by GENTLE GIANT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1978
1.50 | 7 ratings

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Thank You (edit)
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

1 stars It amazes me how friendly ratings (without reviews, of course) this single has received here. I recently listened to all the post- Interview albums of GENTLE GIANT, and it's easy to pick Giant for a Day (1978) as their worst album ever. Its biggest problem is that the songs go nowhere, they're ripped bare of progressive characters. A good example is the opening track 'Words from the Wise' that starts sharply sounding more or less like the classic GG with its vocal harmonies, but as the song goes on and on unimaginatively till the end, the listener realizes that the band, once so innovative, original and skillful, had truly lost their touch, as the preceding uneven album The Missing Piece had indicated. I even prefer the last, equally forgettable album Civilian (1980) in which the former prog group and now an average pop group at least managed to update their sound fairly convincingly.

'Thank You' is an extraordinarily boring, forgettable, country-flavoured middle-of-the-road song from Giant for a Day, actually among the poorest tracks of the poor album. Like it's said in the 4-CD set "I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis Years 1975-1980", it could be a harmless little song by an American midwest band called Montana or something like that, without anyone giving a second thought on its strengths or weaknesses. But being a Gentle Giant song, it's like an acclaimed Nobelist writing a technical manual.

Instrumental 'Spooky Boogie', another outtake from the album, is mildly humorous and witty, definitely better and more original (Gentle Giant -ish) than 'Thank You', but still missing the progressive final touch. At least I don't care to listen to it more than a couple of times. Featuring only weak album material and even having a poor cover design, I see no valid reason to give more than one star to this miserable single.

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1344 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Tapfret
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

5 stars "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely"

Even prior to the statement attributed to Lord Acton in his 1887 letter to Archbishop Mandell Creighton, the premise behind this statement was, and continued to be used to tell many a tale. And of course it is no secret how many times it plays out in real life. The point being, this is the premise behind Gentle Giant's outstanding 1974 concept album, The Power and the Glory. As a concept it is clear that they can lay no claims to originality. However, the manner in which it is presented musically and lyrically is unrivaled and unique.

Not being in any regard a language specialist or connoisseur, it is difficult to properly relate the manner in which the story is so poignantly delivered with precision and brevity. The band had previously demonstrated a love for the alliterative ruminations of RD Laing; using a lot of the same words in rounds to say what could likely be said with a couple short sentences. In The Power and the Glory, the lyrical patterns use some of the Laing influenced metrics, but with more being said with far fewer words. In particular, So Sincere, with its in-line antinymn contradictions. It is one of the few albums that I have been truly able to feel the lyrical content as an essential. That point has been solidly driven home by the recent re-master that include a Bluray disc with video lyric presentations. The word are often in a jumble and seemingly pulled at random or displayed in reverse. A brilliant underscore of the concept as it pertains to double talk in political speaking or drawing example to fit a narrative. Again, its an outstanding bit of lyrical brevity to convey a grand process.

Musically The Power and the Glory is deeply complex. It is an essential complexity that drives the album's theme home. The opener Proclamation uses oddly metered instrumentation in a talkback style that seems to mimic a public discourse that escalates in speed and intensity to eruption of the ultra-dissonant "Hail..." chant. So Sincere uses a freely dysjunctional rhythmic pattern with the previously mentioned use of in-line antonyms to further keep the listener off balance in analogy of political subterfuge. Every little subtlety is a mechanism for storytelling. It is no doubt challenging to the listener to be present in the story. And it is a level of challenge that is well documented in making some uncomfortable. Surely it is not too much to expect that the given subject does come with a little discomfort.

The presentation has been further augmented in recent years by a 5.1 remaster by the 5.1 master of re-master, Steve Wilson. It is for that reason that I have chosen to engage in a review of this already thoroughly reviewed masterpiece. For many years it occurred to me that The Power and the Glory was absolutely made for a surround mix. And, indeed, Mr. Wilson has once again hit the mark. That aforementioned talkback sequences with each instrument coming in one-by-one leading into the final verse of Proclamation was everything I had imagined. The mix adds another amazing element to one of my favorite works of all time.

The Power and the Glory was one of the most routinely bashed albums among mainstream critics in the mid- 70's. And with good reason, its an album that is not a passive listening concept. For my part I find every aspect of this album a delight. From the talent of the players and their individual multi-instrumental capabilities to the completeness of concept, it is a 100% essential piece to any prog collection. 5 stars.

 Acquiring The Taste by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.25 | 1298 ratings

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Acquiring The Taste
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Shade Of Time

5 stars Sometimes after listening to the contemporary and dynamic prog rock I feel an urge to listen to something more deep and sophisticated, and that is why I've just listened to this album once again. And once again I got convinced that it is one of the three best albums of Gentle Giant. Due to many styles and involvement of astonishing number of live string instruments and woodwinds It is probably the most serious and strongest albums of my favorite group. What's also impressive ? extraordinary vocal parties of all 5 singers, well-arranged canons and choral parties. I cannot stop admiring at how organically and at the same time unusually the compositions are developing. The way how the guys played their instruments is impressive even now. It would be really great if new groups could not only copy the Gentle Giant style, but could develop it further. I am looking forward to such projects.
 Three Friends by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.11 | 1065 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Historic preambles seem to be in vogue when writing reviews on this website, so here's a little one. After the groundbreaking "Acquiring The Taste", Gentle Giant decided to do their own take on the increasingly popular concept album. So they devised a concept about three childhood friends who go down their separate paths or something like that. The actual lyrical content of the album is pretty vague, and it would suffice to say that "Three Friends" was a bit of a failed concept. So if you're the kind of person who likes digging deep into concept albums to get a full immersion into the story, you probably won't care for this one, but personally I don't listen to concepts - I listen to music. So let's get on to discussing that, shall we?

The album certainly shows a transition in terms of sound from the band's past two adventures. Gone are the grim, nocturnal vibes of the debut and "Acquiring The Taste"; a lighter sound has taken its place. This is no doubt Gentle Giant's bluesiest album, and most soulful, perhaps harkening back to the Shulman brothers' days as "Simon Dupree and the Big Sound" in a way. You can hear this change right away in the introductory "Prologue", which grooves its way along through pleasant, but largely forgettable, melodies and riffing. There's an ever-so-slight jazz fusion undertone to their delivery; it sounds almost like something Camel would be putting out in a year or two (think "Six Ate").

Following the relaxed intro, "Schooldays" greets the listener to a very soft treat, with plenty of soulful vocals and tasteful vibraphone playing. Many credit this as one of Gentle Giant's most nostalgic tracks and it is an understandable fan favourite. With the first third or so of the album delivering very little punch, "Working All Day" comes along to spruce things up a bit. One would be wont to assume that this track is there to fill the spot of the archetypal heavy jazz rock Gentle Giant number that served as centrepieces on their first two albums, but it comes across as a tad flaccid compared to the assault of, say, "Alucard". No, that title really belongs to the side two opener: "Peel The Paint". This is the first track on the album that gets me genuinely excited to listen to it, acting as a strong analogue to "The House, The Street, The Room", though not quite as hectic.

The album ends off with a lukewarm blues jam on "Mister Class & Quality?" before concluding with its highest peak, the divine-sounding "Three Friends", a short 3 minute coda with a chord progression akin to ascending to heaven. In sum, "Three Friends" presents some very interesting and enjoyable material, but it's interspersed among a bit too much "filler", especially given the short length of the album to begin with. Still, this is an album that all fans of the early, more soulful, Gentle Giant should pick up, and not a bad starting point for those who are looking to get into the band but finding their more well-regarded albums too difficult. Good, but non-essential; 3 stars.

 Three Friends by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.11 | 1065 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Three reasons to love this album

Not often cited by fans, "Three Friends" yet remains one of Shulman brothers and co.'s best opuses as well as their most accessible. First concept-album and first auto-production from the band, the lyrics narrate the story of three childhood friends who will later belong to different social class and cease to understand each other's way of life. A track is dedicated to each character: the worker, the painter and the white collar. Less adventurous and demanding than its predecessor, "Acquiring the Taste", this third effort includes shorter compositions with more catchy melodies. This stylistic direction might not always satisfy complex and always changing songs hardcore fans, however this time the musicians somehow take a break by proposing very pleasant and inspired spacey symphonic progressive rock.

Alternating rocking passages and mysterious aquatic keyboards sonorities, "Prologue" is quite an efficient opener. With its modified vibraphone opening, the nice and strange "Schooldays" is pure gentle giant-ish, to then turn into a calm jazzy piano tune. Now come the three songs of the friends. "Working All Day" is the worker's song and may be my least favorite of the disc. A saxophone rock piece with a cool Hammond organ solo. Not bad but fails a little to really lift off.

The painter's song, "Peel The Paint", is rather misleading. Starting discretely, the music becomes suddenly raging and heavy. There are even unexpected furious Hendrixian guitar sections! Wow! Are we still listening to GENTLE GIANT here? Surprisingly, the record concludes with its two best tracks. "Mister Class And Quality?" is the white collar's song. This powerful composition possesses catchy melodies and great instrumental sections. It rocks! The title track simply finishes the album in apotheosis. Quite atypical in the band's discography, it features a religious- like chorus offering a particular ethereal and contemplative ambiance, like if you were about to enter the heaven. Superb!

As promised, here are the three reasons to love these three friends. First, the music remains sophisticated, playful, featuring many changes, while never going too complex or elitist. Second, there are nice rocking passages and catchy melodies. Finally, the particular aquatic organ sound and floating chorus displays a specific floating atmosphere, which is rather singular for the band. Although the middle of the album may contain weaker moments, this is probably my favorite opus from the Shulman brothers and co.

A bit apart considering GENTLE GIANT's other releases, "Three Friends" is their spaciest record, as well as one of their most accessible. The one to start with for newcomers, with their self-titled debut, and an essential listen for symphonic prog rock fans!

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1344 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by poito

4 stars 4.5 This album meant a strong change of direction for the band. In previous work GG used to craft 6-7 min long themes spotted with multiple experimental and dissonant sounds, apparently never caring about the overall taste of the tracks. In this, all but two of the tracks are 3-4 min, the experimental imagery gets limited to a few successful bits harvested in previous work (that is, no experimental any more), and a rocker Yessistic style gets dominant. For the first time, the themes appear compact, and the album too appears to be uniformly oriented. The keys by Kerry Minnear are superb, growing at every new release. The voices are kind of unusual, more mainstream, but it has an undefined not very pleasant timbre, a step back in this section. I particularly like the combination of bass and keys: the bass takes the lead in some themes, like the great opening Proclamation. Guitars are somewhat obscured, by the way. It seems departure of brother founder Philip is to be blamed for many of these changes, but the result is excellent. In my view, they were not that convincing when they tried unsuccessfully to rival the truly experimental bands like King Crimson, Soft Machine and Caravan or Yes. This sound is more believable, more natural.
Thanks to Ivan Melgar M for the artist addition. and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates

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