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GIANT Promise Land Frontiers (2010)


In the wish lists of bands melodic rock fans want to see joining the reformation craze, Giant have always been near the top of the list and their first two albums (setting aside the later Giant 3 which was essentially demos and unreleased cuts) have stood the test of time better than other ‘classics’ from the genre.However, the excitement of Giant resurfacing has been clouded with controversy as lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Dann Huff is not part of the new project, being fully occupied as Nashville’s go-to producer.

Instead only his drummer brother David and bassist Mike Brignardello remain, and have added guitarist John Roth, stepping out from the shadow of Reb Beach in Winger, and former Strangeways/The Sign/Slamer singer Terry Brock. Although Dann still provides several songs, both old and new, and the odd guitar solo, his absence means that many will not be able to accept this as a true Giant album. To add to the surreal circumstances, the opener, entitled Believer (Redux)has a chorus that runs ‘I’m a believer’, the opening song title from their Last of the Runaways debut, and is one of the songs on which Dann delivers a tasty solo.

Terry Brock, one of the great AOR singers, then comes into his own on the anthemic Promise Land, which reminded me of the glorious Survivor-esque title song of his Back to Eden solo album, while Never Surrender comes over as Survivor meets Journey with its archetypal AOR lyrics ‘keep the faith,never surrender- don’t give up, never give in’. Hardly original, and neither is the telegraphed power ballad Our Love which follows, but when they are this classy who cares?

For the rest of the album there is a good balance of rockier moments - notably Prisoner of Love, which with its crisp riffs and Hammond organ comes closest to ‘old’ Giant, and Plenty of Love, which reminded me of Foreigner- with the Journey-esque ballad Dying to See You and a fine version of the much recorded Dann Huff/Mark Spiro-penned Through My Eyes.

The final three tracks- Double Trouble, Complicated Man and Save Me- are all in a heavier, slightly bluesy direction with the former showing off the southern roots of Atlanta-born Terry.

In truth, it doesn’t sound too much like a Giant album, but what's in a name? Leave prejudices aside and what you are left with is a fine album with truly superb vocals and one which is sure to still feature in many melodic rock best ofs at the end of 2010.


Review by Andy Nathan

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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