Revered by many as one of the strongest of the Gentle Giant releases, 1974's The Power and the Glory has received sparkling remaster treatment from Derek Shulman's DRT Entertainment. With crisp, powerful sound, this new reissue is a must have for the Gentle Giant fan who is looking to replace their old CD version, and for the new fan, to hear this legendary prog rock band the way they should be heard.
While some may argue whether 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 catalog, there's no doubt that The Power and the Glory has its share of classic songs. "Proclamation" bristles with newfound life here, as the sparkling clarity of Kerry Minnear's keyboards and Gary Green's guitar perfectly meshes with the nimble bass and drums from Ray Shulman and John Weathers. Derek Shulman's crafty vocal interplay with Minnear on the fan favorite "So Sincere" really makes this quirky gem come to life, bolstered by Ray's muscular bass lines and the constantly shifting tempo changes between guitar and keyboards. Green's solo here is raw and bluesy, savage in it's intent and flawless in its execution. The moody and reflective "Aspirations" is accentuated by calming vocals and Minnear's haunting electric piano and Green's emotional acoustic guitar strums. The band bounced back for some bouncy and quirky prog on the song "Playing the Game", again with Green and Minnear carrying the main theme while Weathers and Shulman provide a tight groove. The clever lyrics allow Derek to put in a grand and majestic vocal performance here, as he interjects his unique style between the many musical passages throughout this piece. Listen especially for Minnear's awesome Hammond solo here, proof positive that he was always among the keyboard greats like Emerson, Wakeman, and Banks.
For the ultimate in complex prog rock interplay, go no further than "Cogs in Cogs", a furious workout for the entire band, featuring Green's heavy riffs, Minnear's nimble Moog runs, rock solid rhythms, and Shulman's aggressive vocal performance. The majestic "No God's a Man" combines deft acoustic and ethereal electric elements, along with that famous Gentle Giant multi-layered vocal approach, and is one of the sleepers of the album. The guitar/violin/cello number "The Face" is a real treat, and one of the album's most fun tracks, and I'm sure the band had a blast putting this little rocker together in the studio. Again, Derek's vocal is right on target here, providing the lead in for the rest of the band to project in their complex yet catchy musical lines. Not only is Ray a rock solid bass player, but his scorching violin adds a nice element here, and Gary's wicked guitar lead is a real stunner. The band excels at powerful hard rock on "Valedictory", with Minnear's roving synth lines playing the perfect foil to Green's muscular riffs and Shulman's acrobatic bass grooves.
This remaster also contains the unreleased studio title track, which is more of a straightforward quirky hard rock song, but it still works. In addition, Derek Shulman has included a live version of "Proclamation" from ZDF German TV in 1974. It's not the best quality recording, but it suffices as a decent extra-added bonus. Packaging wise, you get the booklet in its original LP concept, shape, and foldout, plus complete lyrics. Overall, it's a nice presentation of a classic album, and a must have for Gentle Giant fans.
2) So Sincere
4) Playing the Game
5) Cogs in Cogs
6) No God's a Man
7) The Face
9) Proclamation-bonus live track
10) The Power and the Glory-bonus studio track, previously unreleased