ARTIST:

GENTLE GIANT

(UNITED KINGDOM)
TITLE:

FREE HAND

(1975)
LABEL:

CHRYSALIS

GENRE:

PROGRESSIVE ROCK

TAGS:
Dissonant, Experimental, Fusion, Groovy, Guitar-Hero, High-pitched vocals, Hovering, Instrumental, Low vocals, Melancholic, Old School, Symphonic, Technical
"Gentle Giant turns his back on the sound experiments of the two previous albums to give us a sumptuous album featuring medieval and modern sounds."
ADRIANSTORK (20.03.2015)  
5/5
(0) opinions from our readers (0) comment(s)

One year after the recording of the very ambitious''The Power and The Glory'', Gentle Giant, recently welcomed by his new label Chrysalis (which included in his barn Jethro Tull, with whom Gentle Giant toured), is back in the studio. Will the move from Vertigo to a more deemed label have an impact on the recording of his seventh album ''Free Hand''?

Listening to the first track, one may think that the group, which aimed to''expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of becoming very unpopular'', seems to have made some concessions to what they had previously slayed. Thus 'Just The Same' starts with a keyboard sound so particular that we could accuse the band of coming out in favour of.... Stevie Wonder. This dancing track, falsely simplistic, proves that the band was able to aerate its about without distorting itself ('Time To Kill' is another success of the album with its introduction Pong and its mesmerizing choruses).

However, the group did not abandon the medieval sounds that had helped to forge its musical identity. The eponymous title, which begins with a fugue (on which Claudio Simonetti will be inspired for ´Phenomena´), gives way to a raw rock energy, carried by acid lyrics against the music industry. Little by little, the tormented torrent will change its rhythmic course until it reaches a musing, in which bass, percussion and keyboards offer a short rest. The top of the album is reached with 'On Reflection', which continues on the same basis as 'Knots' with a polyphonic singing for four voices first a cappella (which Spock's Beard will try in vain to copy on'Thoughts'), new instrumentation ideas (a different instrument is used to introduce each voice in the next part), a skin deep emotion magnified by the velvet voice of Kerry Minnear, the violin of Ray Shulman, the vibraphone and flute of Gary Green on the second part, and lyrics dedicated to their former record company Vertigo.

However, the end of the album is less intense. The Welsh instrumental ´Talybont´ with its twirling flute and ´Mobile´ (with its text reminiscent of ´Ladies Of The Roads´ of King Crimson in a less sexual way) seem to have been placed late at the end of the disc and do not constitute a good conclusion for an album of this kind. His Last Voyage', by its title and by the outdated emotion emanating from Kerry Minnear's voice and Gary Green's guitar solo could have been a more credible candidate to close this opus.  It is not a question of quality but of a skillful dosage that hinders the complete listening of the album.

"Free Hand" will mark a satisfactory compromise between heritage and modern concessions. The album is a complete break with the two previous more experimental ones. It will be the only record of the gentle giant to be placed in the American Billboard for the best album (with a derisory 48th place).


More informations on http://www.blazemonger.com/gg/





TRACK LISTING:
01. Just The Same
02. On Reflection
03. Free Hand
04. Time To Kill
05. His Last Voyage
06. Talybont
07. Mobile

LINEUP:
Derek Shulman: Chant / Saxophone
Gary Green: Chant / Guitares
John Weathers: Batterie
Kerry Minnear: Chant / Claviers
Ray Shulman: Chant / Basse / Violon
   
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OTHER REVIEWS
ECLIPSE: Armaggedonize (2015)
MELODIC HARD ROCK - Encore un très bon album de Hard Rock mélodique suédois pour les amateurs de W.E.T. et de H.E.A.T.
TOTO: Xiv (2015)
ROCK - Maybe a little less homogeneous than the previous efforts, "XIV" won't disappoint the band's fans and will even meet all their expectations if they don't expect a second "The Seventh One".
 
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