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GTR

GTR

 

Prog Related

2.30 | 95 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Like a lot of 'supergroups', GTR has widely been regarded as a disappointment and a wasted opportunity by progressive rock fans. Also like a lot of supergroups, some of the flak it receives is deserved, but a fair amount of it is the result of unfair expectations. Anybody expecting a grandiose symphonic prog masterpiece in the vein of Close to the Edge or Foxtrot from this 1986 collaboration between Steve Howe and Steve Hackett is probably looking in the wrong place, and though their disappointment is likely to be monumental, folks that set more realistic expectations may be likely to find some enjoyment from this decent eighties' rock album. GTR feels rather unadventurous and disappointing considering the stellar lineup, but the end result is still an average effort that is substantially better than anything Yes or Genesis were doing at the time.

In many ways, the music found on GTR's sole album is what we'd expect from progressive rock's 'dinosaurs' during the mid eighties' - commercial oriented and melodic tunes with catchy choruses and approachable lyrics. Fortunately, GTR is a notch above what one may initially anticipate as most of the songs here are not too shabby at all. "When the Heart Rules the Mind" is a decent little pop tune, "Imagining" and "The Hunter" are pretty good rock tracks, and "Sketches In the Sun" and "Hackett to Bits" are nice instrumental pieces that let us know that we are dealing with two legendary guitarists. Lead vocalist Max Bacon has a powerful set of pipes that suits this style of music perfectly, and this combined with the hard rocking AOR compositions should definitely bring Journey and other American rock groups to mind. This 'American' style, however, sacrifices everything that made Hackett's pastoral tones and Howe's frantic fretwork so unique in the first place; the lack of personality is probably GTR's greatest setback, and although it is mightily disappointing to see two progressive rock giants make an AOR album, their failure to leave a unique stamp on the material is what impacts my enjoyment of the music most.

That being said, the material here is still not bad as far as I'm concerned. Does it sound like it was produced through a tin can? Yes. Does it fail to highlight what makes Hackett and Howe such excellent guitarists? Yes. Is it a relatively mediocre AOR album when all is said and done? Also yes. Still, no matter how much I should hate GTR, I find myself singing along to a few of the choruses and enjoying the hell out of the crisp riffs and melodic vocals every time I give it a spin. GTR is a supergroup with a massive amount of missed potential, but for what it is, they put out a decent observation before disappearing for good.

J-Man | 3/5 |

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