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GTR

GTR

 

Prog Related

2.30 | 94 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars GTR surfaced in the 80s in the context of the most compromised era of symphonic prog. I actually find the material in this sole album better than Asia at their best, since I happen to enjoy (in some way, as a sort of guilty pleasure) the more muscular sound based on the prominence of the dual guitars and the non-intrusive use of keyboard sounds. That's the main virtue, but it cannot hide the unsubstantial attempt by the band's leaders and main writers to sound as 'renewed sons of the era', which proves to be an artistic mistake. The compositions are mostly desgined to provide a nice combination of stylish melodic flavors (this is where the prog ingredient comes in) and AOR-ish hooks (this is where Bacon's polished vocal style comes in as the major factor, but it also applies to the arrangements that forge the musical ideas' final shape). The powerful opener 'When the Heart Rules the Mind' perfectly incarnates this nuclear idea: it is catchy, moderately sophisticated, comprising effective arrangements and atractive guitar leads. 'The Hunter' is a very nice mid-tempo ballad: penned by Downes, it might have become another mellow Asia ballad, but the use of acoustic 12-string guitars and mandolins among the guitar riffs and solos makes it genuinely attractive. From now on, the repertoire will mostly go from mere AOR ('Here I Wait', 'You Can Still Get Through', 'Reach Out (Never Say No)') to prog rock with a poppier twist ('Jeckyll and Hyde', 'Imagining'). I believe that the latter two would have benefited from more expansive arrangements, since the main riffs and melodic shifts show some interesting potential, but that's how it goes. The classical guitar intro to 'Imagining', especially, could have been as an individual number on its own. On the other hand, the acoustic- based ballad 'Toe the Line' and 'Sketches in the Sun' are symptoms of Howe's firm sense of majesty: these two numbers are really inspired. Also inspired are the exciting opening riffs of 'Hackett to Bits', but in the end it is only a reprise of one of Hackett's most archetypical compositions, 'Please Don't Touch'. It is a pity that Hackett's input tends to be surpassed by Howe's: a more balanced equilibrium between the two guitarists might have helped the band to gain a more solid sound had Howe allowed Hackett instill some of the energy of his previous two solo rock albums "Highly Strung" and "Till We Have Faces", but that's how it is, isn't it? "GTR" is an okay album that gives soem decency to the history of 80s prog-pop. At least, more decency than Genesis at the time and most of Rabin-era Yes albums, and evidently, more energy than the Camel albums for the early 80s.
Cesar Inca | 3/5 |

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