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GTR - GTR CD (album) cover




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2.34 | 156 ratings

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2 stars Just another proof the eighties had a horrible influence on good musicians. Gtr stands for the guitars of Steve Howe and Steve Hackett. Two famous guitarists in one band ? The result should be breathtaking. Unfortunately it isn't. Their only album is full of streamlined AOR. "When the heart rules the mind" charted in the states and is a perfect example. The melodies are absolute catchy but this stadium rock is far from what you expect from a line up like this. "The hunter" is a mysterious sounding track with moody keyboards, enjoyable melodies and stunning guitar solo's but it could be included on an Asia record as well. Surprise Surprise. A look at the credits show that Geoff Downes was the composer. Ten years after GTR the song would be recorded by Asia for a compilation album. Downes is also credited as producer but he didn't do a great job to my opinion. Never before have I heard an album which sounded so harsh. The sound on the remastered CD hardly improves. Two tracks deliver the kind of music an album like this should have more of . "Sketches in the sun" was a Howe song that was around for some time and finally got recorded. A peaceful and enjoyable instrumental on electric guitar that would sound better on acoustic guitar. True to it's name "Hackett to bits" is basically "Please don't touch" in a heavy outfit but only less appealing. Still two highlights on this record : "Jekyll & Hyde" and especially "Imagining" are full of complex changes in moods and rhythms. My favourite moment on the album is the instrumental part of "Here I wait". Although the song starts very cliché, as soon the second part is announced by virtuous guitar lines, you'll get what you came for. A perfect atmospheric mood, angel voices and Howe and Hackett playing one stunning guitar line after another. Other tracks aren't really bad but too slick and commercial to appeal even if the former Nightwing vocalist Max Bacon has an enjoyable voice. During the recording process the two Steves had an argument which lead to the departure of Hackett while Howe tried to keep the river flowing by replacing Hackett with Robert Berry. This wasn't working out either and within a year the writing was on the wall. However they did record lots of demo's which ended up on a bootleg. Some tracks got an official release afterwards on solo albums from Hackett and Berry.

This album has some excellent guitar lines but on most of the tracks the point gets lost. Generally the album lacks a real soul and the overall format of the song is too conventional. It aged not too well either ; you can tell it is a product of the eighties with the big drum sounds and the dubbed vocals. Not much to tell from the rhythm section either. The bass and drums don't really fit in with the tracks and add no essential elements. Spalding did some excellent work with Toyah and Mike Oldfield before joining GTR proving he's a skilled bass player but here, you don't notice. A missed opportunity. two stars and a half for the stunning guitarlines

Fishy | 2/5 |


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