Gentle Giant lead vocalist/saxophonist Derek Schulman is celebrating this phenomenal ‘70s progressive-rock band’s legacy with 35th anniversary edition CDs of the original LPs. Re-mastered and featuring a bonus live track -- culled from the ensemble’s 1976 live performance in Hempstead, N.Y -- this is one of those classic endeavors that sustains its inherent uniqueness rather well, since its 1975 inception.
Influenced by a medieval tone, the musicians combine quirky themes with precision oriented time signatures, stately vocals, regally fabricated themes amid British folk music and much more. In addition, the odd-metered complexities are tempered by harmonious passages and an underlying, in-your-face type rock groove.
The ensemble’s reverent following and hero-type status has not dwindled a whole lot over the years, especially since it established a paradigm for many aspiring progressive-rock groups. The artists uncannily intertwined the multi-thematic intricacies of a genre that was at times, marred by bombast and superfluous musical exercises. However, this unit remains an enigma of sorts. And with this release it all seems so natural, partly due to a host of contrapuntal phrasings, and contrasting mini-motifs enveloped within movements, often containing phantasmagorical qualities. Hence, the pursuit of prog-rock perfection yields substantial rewards throughout the majority of this magnificently articulated session. (Exuberantly recommended)