GIANT – Promise Land [retail CD]
“Promise Land“, the comeback album by GIANT via Frontiers Records appeared some time ago, is must have in your Melodic Rock collection. This was requested by one of you, because there was some problems with the original release. Initial CD copies presented manufacturing defects, so if you already have a digital version of “Promise Land”, better check if isn’t one of the damaged…
This is a crystal clear retail CD (quite hard to find nowadays), the way this awesome album should be enjoyed.
GIANT was one of the greatest Melodic Rock / AOR acts from the late ’80s American scene. After recording some albums with rockers Whiteheart in the early ’80s and having made a name as session players in the US industry, guitarist / vocalist Dann Huff and his drummer brother David hooked up with Alan Pasqua, an experienced keyboard player, and Nashville session bass player Mike Brignardello to form GIANT.
They eventually signed with A&M Records and released 1989’s “Last Of The Runaways”, featuring a classic, melodic hard rock sound, which yielded a top-twenty hit with ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams’.
GIANT’s debut album is still regarded nowadays as one of the highest points in the genre creating an instantly recognizable sound. After countless tours and live performances in the US and Europe, the band recorded the follow up album “Time To Burn” in 1991. Slightly more aggressive than it’s predecessor, but still magnificent in the production and songwriting departments. This album is also regarded as a main source of influence for many melodic and hard rock bands nowadays.
Soon after the release of “Time To Burn”, Alan Pasqua decided to quit the band and went back to session work. The band toured once again Europe and US without him, but soon after disbanded.
Dann Huff then became one of the most respected producers of our era, working in the Rock, Pop and Country Music with countless artists. His brother David also started to become more and more involved in the production business and thanks to a mutual friend he was introduced in 1999 to Frontiers Records managers.
This eventually brought to a meeting in Chicago were the label proposed David to bring back the name and the music of such a great band. The “III” album was released in 2001 with major acclaim in the Classic and Melodic Hard Rock community.
However Dann’s busy schedule along with the other members’ commitments, made the reunion impossible to carry on. Anyway, the vision of bringing back GIANT as a living band unit with a recording and touring line-up was raised a few times in conversations between David Huff and Frontiers.
As time went by it became apparent that Dann Huff could not be a full part of this concept, even though he loved everything that GIANT was.
Thus original members, drummer David Huff and bassist Mike Brignardello, who wanted to go back to Melodic Rock, started an endless research for the right musicians that could be part of a renewed GIANT line-up.
And in the end the choice fell on singer extraordinaire Terry Brock (Strangeways, Seventh Key) and on John Roth (Winger) on guitars.
The result was “Promise Land”, and while Dann Huff is not in the official line up, he participated as co-writer on several tracks and offering songs from his catalogue, such as the title track, ‘Through My Eyes’ (both co-written with Mark Spiro) and “Two Worlds”.
He also recorded lead guitars on “Save Me” and “Believer (Redux)”, the latter being one of the 3 songs written by Erik Martensson and Robert Sall of W.E.T., Eclipse, et all.
So you have top class songwriting, an awesome vocalist and a bright production: “Promise Land” is a melodic rock / AOR winner.
The first thing that hit you is the fact this is a direct continuation of the band’s original 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.
The CD opens with the insanely upbeat “Believer (Redux)” which has a huge chorus and a great summery vibe to it. A true GIANT sound.
There are songs on here that just scream ‘old-school Giant rocker’ like “Double Trouble”, “Plenty Of Love”, “Two Worlds” and “Prisoner Of Love”. GIANT were always good for some powerful, atmospheric and powerful ballads, and they don’t disappoint with “Through My Eyes” and “Our Love”.
Another top ballad 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.
“I’ll Wait for You” is terrific tune with all the late ’80s GIANT feel (and polished US Melodic Rock style in general), and ironically is written solely by John Roth, but could have easily been lifted from ‘Time To Burn’.
Now “Through My Eyes” is something of a surprise with its melodic and airy AOR chorus and slick soloing. The song doesn’t have the bite or edge of some of the other tracks but is maybe the closest they come to sounding like Brock’s former band Strangeways. Total AOR and a great track!
As bonus, you have a non album track, a great version of the classic song “Stay [Acoustic Mix]”, taken from a rare Maxi-single CD.
“Promise Land” is a fantastic classy Melodic Rock album. It should not be compared with the original GIANT, and while retains all the vibe of the ’80s line up, it shines in its own right.
Actually, I think the songwriting is even stronger than on the band’s first efforts, or if you prefer, on par with them. 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 both.
A must in your Melodic Rock / AOR collection.
01 – Believer (Redux)
02 – Promise Land
03 – Never Surrender
04 – Our Love
05 – Prisoner Of Love
06 – Two Worlds Collide
07 – Plenty Of Love
08 – Through My Eyes
09 – I’ll Wait For You
10 – Dying To See You
11 – Double Trouble
12 – Complicated Man (Bonus Track)
13 – Save Me
14 – Stay [Acoustic Mix] (B-Side)
Terry Brock – vocals
John Roth – guitars
Mike Brignardello – bass
David L. Huff – drums
Dann Huff – lead guitars on “Believer (Redux)” and “Save Me”
Tim Lauer, Jack Holder – keyboards, synths
Erik Martensson, Robert Sall – songwritng, backing vocals
BUY IT !