February 19, 2022

Another name always guaranteed to delivery thrilling and exciting melodic hard rock is the American powerhouse that is Giant, a band with a long history but, sadly, not as many album releases as we all would have liked.

The band formed in 1987 with the line up of Dann Huff on lead vocals and guitar with brother David on drums, Mike Brignardelloi on bass and Alan Pasqua on keyboards and brought us two great albums in Last Of The Runaways in 1989 and Time To Burn in 1992. The band subsequently split but returned in 2000 with a new album entitled III coming out in 2001 with the same team intact except for the loss of the keyboards of Alan Pasqua. Dan Huff then left or was not available which put the band on hiatus from 2002 until another reformation saw vocalist Terry Brock of Strangeways and Seventh Key fame and guitarist John Roth of Winger coming in which led to the release of Promise Land in 2010. Dann Huff was not part of the band as he was engaged in his other activities as a much in demand session musician and producer but he did co-write a number of the songs and played on two of the tracks. Sadly, that was it for recorded output until now with Shifting Time being long overdue at something like 12 years since Promise Land!

Indeed, the band seems to release an album every 10-years which hardly makes them prolific but it does ensure that we are all desperate for our new Giant fix when an album does finally come along. Shifting Time sees another slight shuffle in the band with Brock being replaced by the Swede Kent Hilli, the fabulous vocalist with Perfect Plan and now a solo artist in his own right. The original members, Huff and Brignardelloi, remain along with guitarist Roth with Hilli being an excellent choice for the band as he really does have a voice that is rich and sumptuous therefore perfect for melodic rock and, crucially, he does have a delivery that is very much influenced by all of the American AOR gods. Providing keyboards and backing vocals is Alessandro Del Vecchio and he and Hilli plus Kristian Fyhr, Pete Alpenborg, Jonas Eriksson and Mike Palace have all been involved in the writing process with a little bonus being that Dann Huff plays lead guitar on Never Die Young which is a typical Giant classic sounding track that could very easily have slotted onto the early albums quite easily. Getting the role as front man has put Kent Hilli in dreamland as he is a self-confessed nut about all things Giant so to actually join the band is something very remarkable for him and he has not let the boys down and he surely must have been destined to take up this position.

If you are a fan of the band then the new album has the unmistakable Giant sound yet comparisons between the early and later albums are not really fair as a lot of time has passed since the debut and many things have changes including the line-up, recording techniques, studio facilities and, above all, the music industry itself. So, it is a part of the most impressive Giant legacy but it is the band as it is today and they are in very fine form indeed. The original musicians of Huff and Brignardelloi ensure that traditional Giant standards and core sound remains but music has to progress and the band has recorded a spectacular hard and melodic rock album for the 2020’s but, such is the class of AOR, the album would very much stand up as a Giant album regardless of what decade you would care to put it in. John Roth is a genuinely superb guitarist and if you care to listen to a true master at work then simply close your eyes and listen to a guitarist who is up there with the very best. All you need to do then is to factor in the sublime vocals of Kent Hilli add a wonderful collection of songs and you have a perfect recipe for melodic rock heaven.

Twelve years is far too long to wait for a Giant album but I predict it will not be long before these guys are back in the studio as they have found the perfect dynamic to drive the band forward for many years to come.

Shifting Time

  1. Shifting Time (1:33)
  2. Let Our Love Win (3:58)
  3. Never Die Young (3:23)
  4. Don’t Say A Word (3:34)
  5. My Breath Away (4:46)
  6. Highway Of Love (4:24)
  7. It’s Not Over (5:37)
  8. The Price Of Love (4:31)
  9. Standing Tall (4:13)
  10. Anna Lee (4:30)
  11. Don’t Wanna Lose You (3:31)
  12. I Walk Alone (4:02)