Free Hand [2012 - Remaster] CD+DVD
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Uncut 8/10 - “Mischievous, eccentric prog virtuosity."
Record Collector 4/5 - "Free Hand, the group’s seventh album and first for Chrysalis, is arguably their last true classic; it swings."
Top Customer Reviews
The music is complex Prog style music hints of Genesis maybe a bit of King Crimson but pretty much not like anything I have heard before so great news, I may at sometime have to deep dive the catalogue.
Highlights for me the the last three songs 'His last Voyage', 'Talybont' and 'Mobile'
The issue comes with a standard CD and a DVD with Dolby Digital (why?) and DTS96/24 4.1 mix of the album which sound great and are very discrete, and a flat 96/24 LPCM (Playable on any DVD player) stereo copy of the original stereo LP master, an excellent reproduction and probably the best it will sound digitally.
There are mumblings on some specialist Surround message boards of the right Channels being swapped on on the Quad mix for this , I can not confirm this as I have no reference, and to me that does not spoil the enjoyment of the disc. Thought I should report this though.
There are no bonus tracks on this which is a bit disappointing but for the price this is a steel for any 'prog' fan and fan of Hi rez music.
It is interesting then that the band's seventh studio album, that I review here, 'Free Hand' was so named because it marked their debut with the Chrysalis label and suggested feelings amongst the band that this heralded a new era of freedom for them.
'Free Hand' is possibly the band's most accessible album, if you are new to Gentle Giant start here and follow with 'In A Glass House' and 'The Power And The Glory'. I am choosing to review this album now because as well as being a lifelong fan of the band, I am also very fond of surround sound and the latest re-mastered version of this album comes with a DVD which includes a 4.Read more ›
Here we have the strongest collection of songs they produced, there genuinely isn't a weak moment. This disk does have by far the best sound quality and the track that stood out for me with regard to cleaning up was 'His Last Voyage'. It's a great song but probably not the first I told friends about when I first heard the album. However on this version I felt like I was almost hearing it for the first time.
I would have to agree with the previous reviewer who was disappointed with the packaging. There is very little inside and as my children will tell you, I do like a good booklet with my cd's and dvd's. Loved the band and any info and pictures from the time of recording are always very welcome. However, it still gets five stars for the sheer genius of the music. (also great cover, always reminded me of the Peter Lorre film, 'the beast with five fingers')
With its soulful singing and rocking choruses, Free Hand has the perfect formula that allow Gentle Giant to deliver the whole package... what enthusiastic new prog fans would call "mind-bending craziness" juxtaposed with sublime hard rock power.
The album contains several highlights including the famous 'On Reflection,' which has some knotted vocals and tuned percussion and could easily be described as a masterpiece of melody and counterpoint, as well as the furiously catchy title-track 'Free Hand,' which is practically worth the price of the disc on its own.
Most songs here are 5 minutes long or over; and the album is definitely a "grower" that becomes better with each repeat listen. When judged against the rest of the band's work it holds up very well and is probably most similar to the band's 'In A Glass House,' and 'Interview' albums stylistically, but also notable for its superior production values.
Overall, Free Hand is a very interesting and enjoyable album that really gives off that 'must-have' air. If you like Progressive Rock in general then it is definitely worth picking up a copy, and if you like Gentle Giant themselves then it'd be a shame not to buy this wonderful album. If you like any of their other work then you'll love this as well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent item, very good shipping package, and very fasy delivery. Would certainly buy again.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
The final master piece from these giants of Progressive Rock, and a must own album for any fan of the band or of Progressive Rock music in general. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Chaser
Very disappointing, not the quality of the music, which is excellent but, reading the other glowing reviews, I was under the impression this product was the 2012 remastered... Read morePublished 9 months ago by DaveAboard
Wonderful CD. I love Gentle Giant since their beginnings in the faboulous prog rock seventies. Free Hand is one of the best if not the best of their albums. Read morePublished on 12 May 2014 by Corrado Maggia
, I am a lover of Gentle Giant. The collection I have all the CD . My only regret is that it ended so soon.Published on 12 April 2014 by Lubos