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THE PENDULUM

Gerard

Neo-Prog


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Marcelo
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Beside Ars Nova female power trio, Gerard is one of the highest points in Japanese prog production. This is an album plenty of fast keyboards and full of melodies. The modern sound doesn't matter, there's a real flavour from the symphonic classic tunes. "The Pendulum" was released with two new members coming from the metal scene (bassist and drummer) and without guitar player, giving to the band a more powerful sense, but the most important fact in this album is the keyboardist, Toshio Egawa, technically amazing. There's no bad tracks nor weak points, conforming an excellent option for symphonic prog fans and specially for the fast keyboards lovers.

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Send comments to Marcelo (BETA) | Report this review (#2872)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I don't know whether it happened accidentally or not but for sure the music of Gerard - if I can tell you in a nutshell - is very similar with its counterpart from Japan: Ars Nova. Influence-wise both are similarly influenced by ELP and Triumvirat. While Ars Nova is very focus on Keith Emerson center of ELP music, Gerard is more towards emphasizing the symphonic side of ELP / Triumvirat. Gerard has more sense for melody as opposed to rapid-fire keyboard solo. However, you may hear segments with multi-layered keyboard textures combined with simple solo. Awesome. That's the overall picture about Gerard. But, talking about this album - when you listen to it at first spin, the music will ring you a bell on something you may have heard before: it's like a combination of Pendragon, Marillion, and ELP / Triumvirat. With the voice line by western vocalist Robin G. Suchy, the band can remove the Japanese- English dialect. Now, I think you have a complete picture about the music of Gerard.

The album opener "Empty Lie, Empty Dream" starts off with a music loop representing a clock that in a way reminds me to the opening of Pink Floyd's "Time" in style - but this is completely not a rip-off at all. The music comprises multilayered and beautiful keyboard works in symphonic style, upbeat tempo, accentuated with dazzling drum works. The voice line merges beautifully with the music, producing nice harmonies. It moves to the next uplifting track "Killing Our Mother, Condemning Our Children" (oh, what a title!) with another richer keyboard outfit. This track offers wider combination of high and low points with some breaks with quieter passages when vocal sings. Oh man . if you really love intertwining keyboard sounds, this track is really for you. Bass lines are really good, combined with dynamic drumming. I do enjoy the ending part with powerful keyboard. The next track "Orpheus" starts off with keyboard-drenched music heavily influence with classical music. The structure is much complex than the other first two tracks. Listeners are bombarded with multi-layered keyboard sounds.

"Ascending to Heaven" is a short instrumental track with piano and keyboard solo performed mellow. "Crime of the Future" starts with keyboard effects followed with symphonic style music accentuated by great drumming. Soaring keyboard and organ solo characterize this track. It's an excellent instrumental track. I like the feature on drum solo during interlude part. As album title track, "The Pendulum parts 1 to 3" concludes the album with the kind of encore that offers listeners with richer musical arrangements. This time keyboard is much more inventive augmented with solid bass lines and dazzling drum work. You can hear the heavy influence of ELP even thouh Gerard puts more emphasize on the exploration of keyboard and rarely use organ as rhythm or solo. This what differentiates Gerard from ELP / Triumvirat; they push the music forward the envelope of classic symphonic prog. Some lyrical parts of this track were sung with piano as rhythm section, giving more variations to the music. This track is truly enjoyable and I'm almost sure that it will please many Karn Evil Niners ..

Overall, this is a modern prog album that those who love keyboard based music in the vein of ELP should not miss. Another similar band of Gerard beside Ars Nova is probably Cairo. With no intention to slash the richness of this album's music composition, I have a personal opinion that this album has too much bombard me with keyboard sounds that sometime are too complex and a bit of reducing the overall music harmonies. And I don't think this album falls into neo prog box as the music is relatively complex and less-melodic. Nevertheless, it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,

GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#38698)
Posted Wednesday, July 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Another good work from the Japanese scene of prog/melodic hard rock:yet this "The pendulum" is characterized by a new arrangement regarding a couple of old songs ("Empty lie, empty dream" and "Orpheus") and other controversial tracks.in the same manner as within for example some albums by Cast, the Japanese ensemble and-in particular- Toshio Egawa, the keyboardist- is self-indulgent during the solos, sometimes very prolix in their performance.apart from such defect (it reminds me of the virtuosity concerning some albums by Ars Nova.), the melodic lines (Uriah Heep-like) are pretty and more interesting than their harmonic solutions!! Their first debut album-dated 1984- stands alone as one of the best Japanese albums of the early eighties (in spite of a few minor defects), while the present "The pendulum" is too much controversial and sometimes uneven, in spite of showing an improvement.check it out anyway and then make your own choice once again!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#43649)
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This was the first album from Gerard after five years of silence. I was so glad that they were back on the track because this is my favorite Japanese progrock band. On this album we can enjoy two new versions of songs from their first two albums (originally with guitar) entitled "Empty lie, empty dream" and "Orpheus". Keyboard virtuoso Toshio Egawa (his mother was a piano teacher) blows you away with his ultra-bombastic sound on the Korg synthesizers (that has even a sound that is similar to Eddie Jobson his violin play), Hammond organ and Mellotron samplers. The rhythm-section is amazing, what a powerhouse! And the vocals from half Canadian-half Japanese singer Robin G. Suchy have a very special flavor, I like it.

To repeat myself: IF YOU LIKE KEYBOARD DRIVEN PROG, THIS ONE IS YOURS!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#43726)
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Keyboards lovers, ELP freaks, fans of the great prog of the seventies: you are welcome on this board. Because when you listen to this album, these times are definitely sounding so splendid?

I am not saying that this work sounds as a masterpiece (far from it), but it is indeed reminding me the good old days (of my youth). Still, several passages are almost plagiarism of the great "Watcher", but this is no news under the neo-prog scene. Because from a symph act, the band is now seriously heading towards the neo scene, but that's fine.

The technique of the musicians is rather good (keys and drumming), but the problem is the song writing and the vocal department (truly below average, even if performed by a new vocalist).

In comparison with their previous work ("Irony & Fate"), this "Pendulum" affair is much more achieved and pleasant.

This Japanese band reverts to the bombastic and plentiful style of their debut. I wouldn't say that there is much variety in the music offering, but as a nostalgic guy from this period, I have to say that it is at times rather enjoyable to listen to such a work.

Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#338587)
Posted Monday, November 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Gerard on this album play an intriguing style of symphonic neo-prog - it's got the sort of song structures, influences, production and leaning towards the mainstream much neo-prog has, but keyboardist Toshio Egawa changes the game up by playing in a bombastic and frantic style which reminds me of Keith Emerson and Eddie Jobson - perhaps more towards the Jobson, since Egawa's keys are played to aid the composition rather than the compositions being geared towards showing off his keyboard skills. Robin Suchy also does a great job on vocals, and on the whole the band match the neo-prog greats at their own game on this release.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#625617)
Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars In mid-90's Egawa decided to fully reform Gerard from zero point.He recruited bassist Atsushi Hasegawa and drummer Masuhiro Goto, while for the first time the band had a decent vocalist, who could actually sing in English, Canadian singer/songwriter Robin Suchy.Additionally Egawa managed to sign a good contract deal with French label Musea.The new Gerard era started with ''The pendulum'' album in 1996.

The album contains a couple of reworked Gerard tunes from the previous albums, ''Empty Lie, Empty Dream'' and ''Orpheus'', in which Egawa kept more or less the arrangements, making them far more bombastic and with a clearer production, while Suchy's slightly AOR-ish voice present a non-accented version of the tracks.The rest of the (new) tracks follow more or less the same typical vein of Gerard.Powerful, edgy and muscular Symphonic Hard Rock with strong ELP influences.Egawa's work remain a work for seminars.Bombastic synth flights, massive organ jams, incredible solos and light piano parts show a musician, who's talent was enough to lead alone a whole project.Both Hasegawa and Goto had a strong metal background and thus the rhythm section sounds as dynamic as ever.Suchy's voice is good and fits the style of Gerard, though his voice has sometimes a cheesy tone.However his vocal lines remain actually limited, it is the music who speaks in ''The pendulum'', and this is really nice with tons of breaks and shifting moods.

''The pendulum'' is a keyboard-fan's paradise.Passionate Symphonic Rock with a heavier edge and incredible work on keyboards by Egawa.Nostalgic followers of the 70's may find the album too modern and flashy for their likes, still this one comes easily recommended...3.5 stars.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#787553)
Posted Saturday, July 14, 2012 | Review Permalink

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