Frontiers / Now & Then FRCD 097
Produced by: Dann & David Huff

Released: Nov. 28
Closest Relative: Def Leppard, Themselves!
GENRE: Melodic Rock

  1. Combustion
  2. You Will Be Mine
  3. Over You
  4. Don't Leave Me In Love
  5. Love Can't Help You Now
  6. Sky Is The Limit
  7. End Of The World
  8. Oh Yeah
  9. Can't Let Go
  10. Bad Case Of Loving You

It was never going to be a question of whether this release would be any good or not. It was always going to depend on just how good!
And just how good are some songs going to sound, given that they were part of a $500,000 production budget?!!
Well, this record is everything and more that I hoped for and is essentially a sensational melodic rock release. Killer tunes, killer production and some nice packaging courtesy of Chuck Wright - wearing his graphic designers hat.
This is of course a collection of unreleased tunes from the vaults of the Huff Brothers.
But one of the best aspects of this release is the attitude of the band members themselves. They have demonstrated their commitment to the name Giant by unearthing the best possible collection of unreleased songs left to the vaults and have bettered their sound with new studio enhancements, remastering and re-mixing.
It would have been quite easy to turn in a collection of half finished tracks and live recordings. This album is the best possible result of the band's decision to try and make their name an ongoing concern in today's marketplace.
After an initial search of the vaults yielded good results, project co-ordinator and band drummer David Huff dug deeper and the result is evident on this release.
All of the songs were recorded or demo'd for the band's previous two releases and have been studio tweaked and re-recorded in 2001 for this release.
Three of those songs - You Will Be Mine, Over You and Don't Leave Me In Love were part of the Terry Thomas production budget for the albums are were only dropped at the last minute due to them conflicting with other tracks already assigned to the albums.
The remaining tracks were fully completed - produced by the band themselves and recently re-mixed, re-mastered and studio enhanced at Dann's Nashville studio. Given that both David and Dann are accomplished producers int heir own right, there isn't one track on this album that doesn't sound a million bucks.
The songs:
Combustion is only 90 seconds long, but is right out of the Giant textbook of building over-the-top guitar solo intro's! Much like the first two albums build their presence with big intro's, so does III.
The intro halts and You Will Be Mine kicks in. With a flash, it's somewhere between 1989 and 1992 again, when bands like Giant were getting major labels bidding for their services! This track is a typical Giant uptempo rocker, in the vein of past classics like No Way Out and Get Used To It.
Over You is a feel good, big production rock number, with a slew of harmony vocals and a very strong Huff lead vocal. The tasteful addition of keyboards around the chorus makes it more commercial and poppy, but it's a great sing a long pop rocker.
Don't Leave Me In Love is the track most of you know already - the lead single that kicked off this welcomed comeback. This track is a typical Giant ballad, with a ton of keyboards, soft moody vocals and then soaring choruses and harmony vocals. Dann spoke fondly of this song, saying that it only just missed the cut with the Time To Burn album. I agree, this is a classic AOR ballad and a sensational vocal from Dann. Mark Spiro co-writes and a version of the song can be found on his solo album Devotion.
Love Can't Help You Now is the first track of this album where I can see reasons why it wasn't originally picked as a previous album track. But as part of this album, it fits perfectly. It's a mid-tempo rock track that kicks your ass come chorus time and is perfectly placed to aid the flow of this album.
Sky Is The Limit is another classic Giant rocker, with more than a hint of Def Leppard about it. The bridge, then the chorus itself are both fabulous examples of catchy hard rock, with Giant fans bound to lap this up.
Just about time for another ballad and End Of The World delivers. Another great moody slow ballad with more great harmony vocals that ads even more strength to this release.
Oh Yeah says Def Leppard, eat your heart out! This is a big guitar driven rocker that starts within itself before bursting into life with a big fists in the air chorus! Sing along, rock along, air-guitar along, the choice is yours!
Can't Let Go is some of the album's true surprises and true gems. This is a soft, moody, sultry and moving ballad that sees a new side of the band we love. Yes, the guys have slowed down for ballads before, but this is a wonderfully haunting vocal performance from Dann. As the song builds and intensifies, so does the passion in the delivery. A beautiful soft ballad for sure.
Ending the album with a bang, is a cover of the Robert Palmer classic Bad Case Of Loving You. Performed with a real 'live in the studio' feel, the band are at their entertaining and hard rocking best.
It's also great to see the late Van Stephenson again involved in the song writing. He co-wrote two tracks on the album.
BOTTOM LINE: Essential. No question about it. There isn't a filler or a below average track amongst this lot. It's a tribute to the band that there was no room for songs of this quality on their original two studio albums.
The songs themselves run together beautifully and have been organised into a perfect running order.
From the outset, I was determined to be as hard on this release as possible, as the band have previously set a high standard and I am a huge fan. I am happy to report that this album has exceeded my best hopes.
It may not quite match the band's first two albums, but it comes close and is a mighty way to re-introduce the band back into life again. I hope they stick around!
Fans of Giant will love this, no problems at all!
ESSENTIAL FOR: All Giant and Huff Brothers fans, fans of the first two albums and fans of big stadium US melodic rock.
DISCOGRAPHY:Last Of The Runaways . Time To Burn . III

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