There’s been a lot of talk about this album since it was announced, a lot of it surrounding the fact that Dann Huff was not to be part of the band. A lot of people questioned whether the band should continue without Dann, or was this just a way to rip fans off by using the “Giant” name. I’m sure camps will remain divided on this one, and it’s true given the new look Giant line up they could have easily chosen another band name and still been successful. Although retaining the name keeps the legacy of the band alive and should the band play live, they’ll be able to air all those classics from back in the day.
There is absolutely nothing sinister about Dann’s decision to not continue with the band, it’s just that he’s so busy with his other work commitments that he could not dedicate fully to the band. The band’s last stab at a reunion in 2001 with the album “3” felt distinctly lacklustre, and sounded suspiciously like a collection of sub-standard songs that weren’t good enough to be on the band’s previous albums. Having said that the album did receive great acclaim from the critics, but to me - other than the powerful ballad “Can’t Let Go” - it was a real let down.
Original band members Mike Brignardello (Bass) & David Huff (Drums) have now been joined by John Roth (of Winger) on guitar and vocalist extraordinaire Terry Brock. Although Dann isn’t part of the line up anymore, this release has his blessing and he even contributed lead guitar parts to two songs and was heavily involved in the songwriting process on many of the songs. There are also a few other writers external to the band involved on a couple of songs, including Robert Sall (Work Of Art) and Erik Martensson (Eclipse) - but new boys Brock and Roth have both contributed their share of songwriting.
The first thing that hit me when I listened to this new album, was that this is a direct continuation of the band’s sound. Regardless of who wrote what and who plays what, all the songs have that Giant-vibe, with the band remaining true to their legacy. The album is absolutely outstanding in quality and seems to have been crafted with a lot of love and passion. Terry Brock’s vocals in particular are magnificent - the band needed a quality vocalist to step up to distract from the missing Huff, and Terry delivers the goods without stooping to imitating his predecessor. Also a special mention has to go to John Roth who manages to stamp Giant-isms all over this album with his guitar work.
I’m sure Giant purists will have me hung, drawn and quartered for saying this but I actually think this is my favourite Giant album. I am a big fan of “Last of the Runaways” & “Time to Burn”, but such is the impressive nature of this album that it easily stands shoulder to shoulder with the band's previous works. If you like Giant, I’d find it hard to understand you not wetting yourself with joy over “Promise Land”!
The album opens with the insanely upbeat “Believer” which has a huge chorus and a great summery vibe to it; I’ll definitely be playing this one a lot when the sun returns! The song that has been used as the lead song is title track “Promise Land” and it received mixed reactions, I have to say - on first listen - I wasn’t blown away, but since I’ve been listening to the album my opinion on the song has changed. I don’t think it’s the best song on display here, but I’ve come too really like the gentle nature of this atmospheric soothing ballad. “ I’ll Wait for You” is probably my current favourite track, which is an old school Giant in-your-face rocker, and ironically is written solely by John Roth, but could have easily been lifted from “Time To Burn”.
There are songs on here that just scream "old-school Giant rocker" like “Double Trouble”, “Plenty Of Love”, “Two Worlds” and “Prisoner Of Love” which sound like they would be killer live! Giant were always good for some powerful, atmospheric and powerful ballads, and they don’t disappoint with “Through My Eyes” and “Our Love”. Although my favourite ballad on the album is the blues-tinged, melancholic brilliance of “Dying to See You” which combines the feeling of yearning to full affect in both lyric and music.
A top quality rock album with a real feel good factor, which - whilst not breaking any boundaries or being anything new - will no doubt please all Melodic Rock fans and certainly reaffirms why I personally love this genre of rock. Full of upbeat songs that’ll have you singing away 'til the early hours, and a few powerful and emotive ballads - a well-crafted album full of excellent musicianship which oozes passion. A triumphant return for one of the most loved bands of the Melodic Rock genre.
Track Listing: Believer (redux) / Promise Land / Never Surrender / Our Love / Prisoner Of Love / Two Worlds / Plenty Of Love / Through My Eyes / I’ll Wait For You / Dying To See You / Double Trouble / Complicated Man / Save Me
Album Rating: 5 / 5
Woody’s Essential Track: I’ll Wait For You
Promise Land is OUT NOW in the UK from all good retailers and www.destinyrocks.com
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