Gentle Giant – The Power and The Glory (1974/2010)

Gentle Giant - The Power and The Glory (1974/2010)
Artist: Gentle Giant
Album: The Power and The Glory
Genre: Eclectic Prog
Label: Alucard
Year Of Release: 1974/2010
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)

1. Proclamation (6:47)
2. So Sincere (3:52)
3. Aspirations (4:40)
4. Playing The Game (6:46)
5. Cogs In Cogs (3:08)
6. No God’s A Man (4:29)
7. The Face (4:13)
8. Valedictory (3:17


– Gary Green / guitars
– Kerry Minnear / keyboards, cello, vocals
– Derek Shulman / vocals, saxes
– Ray Shulman / bass, violin, vocals
– John Weathers / drums, percussion, vocals

“The Power And The Glory” is the sixth studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1974. The line up on the album is Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman, Gary Green, Kerry Minnear and John Weathers.

“The Power And The Glory” is revered by many as one of the strongest of all Gentle Giant’s releases. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most aggressively challenging and complex progressive albums that Gentle Giant ever released, which of course means that it’s one of the most aggressively challenging and complex albums ever made in the progressive rock music. While some may argue whether “Gentle Giant”, “Octopus”, “In A Glass House”, “Acquiring The Taste”, “Three Friends”, “Free Hand”, or this one, remains the gem that stands out in the Gentle Giant’s catalogue, there’s no doubt that “The Power And the Glory” has certainly its share of some of the most classic Gentle Giant’s songs ever.

“The Power And The Glory” is Gentle Giant’s third conceptual album, this time taking the power and the 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 came before him. In the end, he becomes in what he always fought against, a corrupt person as happened with so many others before. Where I’ve seen it before? It seems that history always tends to repeat itself. I really don’t know why, but it seems to be a fact, unfortunately.

Contrary to popular belief, the title of the album and its many lyrical themes weren’t inspired by the author of Graham Greene’s novel of the same name. By the other hand, many believed it was inspired by Watergate, but the band themselves has always denied that. After all the band is the only one who knows the true motif of the choice of this concept. Anyway, 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 all their workings.

“Proclamation” opens the album in a stunning way with its bouncing, quirky and very catchy melody. As always there’s also room for complex instrumental parts, and the grandiose chorus has been sped up and down to make it sound out of tune in order to mock its fascist like feel. This was indeed a classic opening for the album. It continues with the same very high standard level. “So Sincere” is, despite the extremely complicated nature of its arrangements and melody, one of Gentle Giant’s catchiest songs. If they ever had some hits, this should have been one of them. It became one of the best known songs from the album, and it’s one of their favourites in concerts, too. “Aspirations” is one of Minnear’s most beautiful vocal performances, where his soft voice floats gracefully upon the laidback and pleasant arrangements. This is the way that a ballad really should be, with no signs of tasteless and sugary sappiness. “Playing The Game” is a lot more challenging musically, and both the rhythms and main melody sound to have a slight Eastern influence into my ears. It’s a really multi-faceted and pure progressive rock song, in the Gentle Giant’s most pure musical vein. “Cogs In Cogs” represents Gentle Giant’s most aggressive and hardest rocking track, but with the complex and unusual riffs that few, or no heavy rock bands, would have the imagination or even the ability to write. “No God’s A Man” have a feel similar to “Playing The Game”, despite being a completely different kind of song. It opens with the main theme being played instrumentally, before going into the verse that has lots of the band’s complex harmonies, and the chorus itself don’t appear until the very end of the song. “The Face” is a fast and folk influenced song with some outstanding violin work and an aggressive guitar solo from Green. It’s a song with an incredible instrumental section, and is probably the most spectacular and creative on the album. “Valedictory” is basically a shorter and slower version of “Proclamation” with a considerably heavier and different arrangement. 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 of the previous opening track.

Conclusion: “The Power And The Glory” is undoubtedly one of the best albums from one of the best bands in the progressive rock universe, and an essential masterpiece in any progressive rock 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 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 it remains as a must have for all progressive rock fans. Enjoy it.
Review by e210013,

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