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Gerard - Ring of Eternity CD (album) cover





3.57 | 30 ratings

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5 stars After long (6 years!) break Toshio Egawa & Co. comes back to life with another fantastic album - "Ring Of Eternity". This time he took on board 2 new members: drummer Kenichi Fujimoto & lead vocalist Yasuo Sasai, and Gerard's veteran Atsushi Hasegawa on bass duties.

Whole album has 7 compositions and only one can be considered as a weak misstep. Let's look at them one by one:

1. "Ring Of Eternity" - album begins with mysterious space rockish synthesizer sounds similar to cosmic moments of Erik Norlander's solo output. After a while music suddenly stops...and Egawa hits us with brutally powerful Hammond chops! I don't remember when last time I've heard so heavy organ attack! Probably only Toshio and his Japanese fellow Keiko Kumagai from "Ars Nova" know how to produce such horrifying sound. Whole track is a highly dynamic instrumental with blazing organ and soaring synthesizers.

2. "Night Before Revolution" - this song starts very lame with some horrible, vocoder modified voices (like "Daft Punk"!), but don't be afraid it's only 3 seconds long section and soon after band shows us their full force again. This composition - just like previous one - is driven by mighty Hammond chops and very good, hardrockish voice of Yasuo Sasai who seems to be perfect replacement for Alex Burnori and Robin G. Suchy which sounded slightly too poppy for me. Yasuo has good English accent (I'm not native English speaker too, but I really think so) and can sing very well in high-register, screaming parts. Very fast but also melodic organ solo in the middle of the track is truly splendid and seems to be inspired by the best moments of Keith Emerson work in 70s.

3. "Justice And Faith" - another great tune bordering between Deep Purple, Rainbow and early ELP. Toshio delivers another aggressive attack of swirling organ and Yasuo sings in great, catchy manner. Take note fiery solo synthesizer built on phenomenal organ "base".

4. "Dawn After The War" - first epic of the album starts with violent and a bit repetitive synthesizer/organ attack. Then tempo changes and Egawa begins to play smooth, ballad-like melody based on beautiful mellotron samples and acoustic piano. Vocalist sing in hymn-like style here and it suits him very well. After this mellowish part tension starts to grow again and Toshio comes back to his trustful Hammond & Korg synth groove. After high-pitched synthesizer section with some mid-east influenced motifs, keyboardist presents us another fascinating wild organ solo full of mind-blowing outbursts and noises. After this energetic moments band calms down again in 3-minutes "outro" of this mini-suite.

5. "Long, Long Way To Your Soul" - one of my favorite in this album. I really like the main motif played by Toshio on some keyboard which sounds like something between piano & clavinet/harpsichord. Together with standard organ bashing it gives great, 70' feeling to the whole song. Vocal is clear and truly rocks here, and during middle section we can hear breathtaking synths solos (including guitar-like one).

6. "Land Of The Dead" - second epic of the album starts to simple piano chops before Hammond and crazy Moog-like synthesizer kick in with powerful fury. Later vocalist join the party with rather dramatic but surely suitable singing. But around 4th minute real thing begin: constant orgy of organ & various types of synthesizers. I especially like second Hammond solo where Toshio goes mad again! Only the ending of this composition is rather poor (acoustic guitar sounds, some synthesized flute and horrible, annoying moaning of the vocalist).

7. "Love Save The World" - unfortunately Gerard decided to finish this great album with this oddity. IT starts with very soft synthesizer layers and later changes into very lame, over-sweet pop ballad about saving the world with love... Man, what a horrible disaster. I can't imagine worst song to end a progressive rock album. It's good that near the end of the song Toshio takes harder approach and deliver couple of tasteful synth solos.

In general this is another fantastic recording of Gerard, where mixed are symphonic prog, neo-prog and melodic heavy metal influences. I especially like that Egawa decided to use even more analog sounding gear (Hammond, piano, Moog-like and mellotron-like synths) then ever before. It's another gem for all keyboard-laden prog fans out there. Along with Gerard's "The Pendulum", "The Ruins Of A Glass Fortress" and "Sighs of the Water" this in another 5 stars album for me.

ozzy_tom | 5/5 |


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