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GTR - GTR CD (album) cover




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2.27 | 120 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars If ASIA was cheesey, GTR was bacon with cheese. The group was centered on the estimable talents (and considerable prog rock cachet) of two guitarists: STEVE HACKETT (late of GENESIS) and STEVE HOWE (late of YES & ASIA). ASIA founder Geoffrey DOWNES produced their eponymous debut (contributing one song as well, "The Hunter"), which also featured (in descending order of fame) vocalist Max BACON, drummer Jonathan MOVER and bassist Phil SPALDING. "When The Heart Rules The Mind" did rule the airwaves for a little while, and there's no question that GTR's debut is superior to ASIA's waning product, but spending HACKETT and HOWE in this setting is akin to using a pair of Faberge eggs for door stoppers. That may be my musical elitism showing through, since both guitarists thought enough of this amalgam to fully engage themselves, adding all manner of mighty riffs to the material. BACON is also a worthy vessel for the vocals, not quite as powerful as WETTON but not prone to his sentimentality either. Like ASIA's first album, there are quite a few songs that find patches of prog rock fertility within the seemingly sterile landscape of arena rock: "Here I Wait", "Toe The Line" (no, not the TOTO song), and "Imagining" among them. The album also includes an instrumental each from HOWE and HACKETT. Howe's "Sketches In The Sun" is warm and agile and idiomatic; HACKETT's "HACKETT To Bits" is a variation on "Please Don't Touch."

Prog fans can take umbrage with GTR's packaging, but the product is pretty good. After a worldwide tour, GTR disbanded, underscoring what prog fans already knew to be an unnatural alliance. Still, their lone album is an interesting detour for fans of Steve Howe and (to a lesser extent) Steve HACKETT, and a logical second course for anyone who feasted on ASIA's first offering.

daveconn | 3/5 |


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