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GERARD

Neo-Prog • Japan


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Gerard picture
Gerard biography
In the Eighties NOVELA was a pivotal Japanese band that gradually turned from heavy progressive into hardrock. Their keyboardist Toshio Egawa left NOVELA to start his own band with a bunch of musicians from which guitarist/vocalist Yukihiro Fujimura was the most important. The first two albums "Gerard" ('84) and "Empty Lie, Empty Dream" ('85) are masterpieces with Toshio Egawa (his mother was a piano teacher) as the Japanese answer to the great keyboardplayers from the UK: he has the androgyn looks from Eddie Jobson, the elegant virtuosity from Rick WAKEMAN and the bombastic approach from Keith EMERSON. An attempt to a description is "a harder-edged mid-GENESIS". Their third LP "Irony of Fate" ('91) was a good effort to create a more original sound but sound less symphonic. That's probalby why GERARD's next album "Save Knight by the Knight" and the mini-CD "Evidence of True Love" (both '94) were presented as Toshio Egawa's GERARD. It contains strong and impressive synthesizerplay but the songs are a bit too predictable. In '96 Toshio Egawa's GERARD returned in the world of progrock with new musicians: Atsushi Hasegawa (bass), Masuhiro Goto (drums) and the hugh Canadian singer Robin G. Suchy. Their strong and compelling album "The Pendulum" ('96) is still highly acclaimed and their next album "Pandora's Box" ('97) is also OK. Then the singer left and down to a trio GERARD released "Meridian" ('98), "Live at Marseille" ('98) with the BANCO cover "La conquista della posizione erretta", "The Ruins of a Glass Fortress" (2000) and "Sighs of the Water" (2002).

The albums "Gerard" and "Empty Lie, Empty Dream" contain all the elements that makes progrock worth listening: good vocals, beautiful keyboards (soft piano, heavy organ, sumptuous Mellotron or flashing synthesizer runs), moving and biting guitar play, a strong and tight rhythm-section, spectacular breaks and alternating compositions with a lot of tension and variation. The longer tracks contain a captivating building up, culminating in moving interplay between guitar and keyboards. The new line-up in '96 impressed with a dazzling rhythm-section as a foundation for the splendid keyboard pyrotechnics by Toshi Egawa, especially when GERARD became a trio after the singer left. The magnificent CD "Meridian" was a special edition with old songs in new versions, loaded with spectacular Eddie Jobson-like synthesizerplay, often so sharp that it sounds like a biting guitar! Altough "Live in Marseille" is great with exciting and spectacular music GERARD gives the impression to run gradually out of ideas, the music sounds less captivating and less creative on "The Ruins of a Glass Fortress" and "Sighs of Water". They need some fresh blood, for example a singer or a guitarplayer, like in the first line-up.

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator

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GERARD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GERARD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 35 ratings
Gerard
1984
3.03 | 29 ratings
Empty Lie, Empty Dream
1985
2.51 | 27 ratings
Irony of Fate
1991
3.14 | 11 ratings
Save Knight By The Night
1994
3.68 | 45 ratings
The Pendulum
1996
3.20 | 32 ratings
Pandora's Box
1997
3.79 | 14 ratings
Keyboards Triangle (with Ars Nova)
1999
3.73 | 45 ratings
The Ruins Of A Glass Fortress
2000
3.94 | 26 ratings
Sighs of the Water
2002
4.21 | 29 ratings
Keyboard Triangle II
2002
3.31 | 20 ratings
Power Of Infinity
2004
3.56 | 27 ratings
Ring Of Eternity
2010
4.08 | 12 ratings
Visionary Dream
2011

GERARD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.61 | 8 ratings
Live in Marseille
1999

GERARD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.96 | 4 ratings
Chaos Live
2000

GERARD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 14 ratings
Meridian
1998

GERARD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.15 | 7 ratings
Evidence Of True Love
1997
4.25 | 4 ratings
Gap Moe
2012

GERARD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gerard by GERARD album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.44 | 35 ratings

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Gerard
Gerard Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars 'Outstanding Heavy Prog debut album from Japanese Gerard'

Back to 1984, in the year that Yes conquers the world with the smooth progressive pop single Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Marillion rules with the Neo-prog from Fugazi, Rush embraces electronics on Grace Under Pressure and Dutch keyboard hero Ton Scherpenzeel shines on Stationary Traveller by Camel. On the other side of the world Japanese formation Gerard is scouting the borders between harder-edged symphonic rock and Heavy Prog, in a pretty exciting way on their eponymous debut album.

Their story started when keyboard player Toshio Egawa (his mother was a piano teacher) decided to leave the popular Japanese Heavy Prog band Novela and found his own formation Gerard, including guitarist/singer Yukihiro Fujimura. The name is derived from a clothes store in Tokyo. After their highy acclaimed eponymous debut CD (1984) and successor Empty Lie, Empty Dream (1985) Yukihiro Fujimura left Gerard in order to found his own band Vienna. These first two Gerard albums are pretty original Heavy Prog, but then the music gradually turned into more and more ELP and UK influenced. During the years Gerard suffered from multiple line-up changes, with only prime mover Toshio Gerard as the constant factor. Between 1991 and 2011 Gerard has released 11 studio albums, the CD Live In Marseille (1999), the live DVD Chaos Live (2000) and the limited edition compilation box Meridian (1998). Their latest effort is entitled Visionary Dream, from 2011, according to Toshio Egawa (August 2018) the band Gerard is no longer active and nowadays he plays in other bands. During the years Toshio Egawa has been a very prolific musician and also joined Earthshaker (once Don Airey was a member ), Sheherazade and Fromage. And he contributed to the Bohemian Symphony Project (with former fellow Novela musician Terutsugu Hirayama) and Keyboard's Triangle I and II (the first edition with Ars Nova).

Listening to the first Gerard album is an overwhelming musical experience: what an awesome blend of hardrock guitar and 'symphonic rock keyboards', what a tension between the mellow and bombastic parts, and what a dynamic interplay between the musicians! Prime mover Toshio Egawa turns out to be a Japanese answer to the legendary keyboard wizards from the UK: he has the the elegant virtuosity from Rick Wakeman, the ultra-bombastic approach from Keith Emerson and the androgyn looks from Eddie Jobson,

1. Meridian (2:57) : An intro with church bells, then an increasing sound of a powerful guitar riff, followed by cheerful synthesizer flights and a bombastic eruption with dazzling synthesizer runs. Then a slow rhythm featuring howling electric guitar leads and finally again those sensational 'presto and vivace' synthesizer runs, supported by a powerhouse rhythm-section. This instrumental track clocks only 3 minutes but so much happens, a very exciting start.

2. Orpheus: (8:51) I) I cry for help II) Decision III) Elysium : This long composition delivers lots of changing climates: from dreamy with strong interplay between piano and guitar to a mid-tempo with pleasant native vocals and bombastic outbursts with lush Hammond and fat synthesizer flights. Halfway a captivating break featuring an ominous climate, led by powerful guitar runs, first slow and then fiery. Strong points are also the variety, interplay and tension between the mellow and bombastis part. Like in final part, with first a bombastic eruption, then an accellaration and finally dreamy piano and vocals, Gerard takes you to every mood in the galaxy.

3. Incantation (9.09) : This other long composition contains a cascade of shifting moods and again a huge tension between the mellow and bombastic parts. Toshio Egawa shines with his fat synthesizer flights and majestic Mellotron violins. Halfway a strong build-up with powerful electric guitar and sparkling piano and a very dynamic rhythm-section. This culminates in a compelling and sumptuous grand finale with lush synthesizers, mighty Mellotron, Moog Taurus bass pedals and fiery electric guitar, it sounds like a heavy version of W&W Genesis, goose bumps!

4.Lasting Memory (5:13) : After a beautiful intro with classical piano arpeggio's the music alternates between dreamy and bombastic. The one moment a buzzing fretless bass and mellow piano work, the other moment sumptuous outbursts with Mellotron and bass pedals. The final part features glorious Mellotron violins, slowly fading away, again goose bumps.

5. Revenge (3:35) : This track is mostly inspired by Toshio Egawa his former band Novela, with an un-tempo beat and dazzling synthesizer flights, then a short part with propulsive drum beats and Mellotron violins. In the second part a spectucular duel between a biting electric guitar and flashy synthesizer work, Gerard their version of Lord and Blackmore, but made in Japan.

6. Melting Time (9:37) : This is one of the highlights on this album, what a varied and elaborate composition. It starts dreamy with wonderful native vocals, topped with subtle strings and piano. Then a slow rhythm, gradually the music turns into more lush, culminating in a spectacular break with powerful organ waves, sensational synthesizer flights and biting electric guitar runs.To me it sounds like 'Steve Vai meets UK', very exciting. The final part is breathtaking, after sumptuous eruptions the music slowly fades away, but then a crescendo and a final outburst with heavy guitar, bombastic keyboards and an excellent rhythm-section. Like a long and intense, extended 'eargasm', wow!

7. Visionary Dream (4:24) : A strongly build-up ballad with lots of delicate musical ideas. First dreamy with warm native vocals and piano, then a slow rhythm with passionate vocals, gradually turning into a mid-tempo with fiery electric guitar, flashy synthesizers and powerful drums. The final part sounds very subtle with soft twanging electric guitar, a wonderful conclusion.

8. Midnight dreamer (4.27) : This final track is a blend of melodic ' and symphonic rock featuring mainly native vocals but the title is sung in English. The structure is pretty simple but the colouring adds an extra dimension: a heavy guitar solo and bombastic eruptions with fat synthesizer flights and deep Moog Taurus bass pedals. A crafted song but to me it sounds a bit commercial, like an attempt to make a single. I had rather seen one of the other compositions as the final track.

What a debut, it's so exciting, varied, dynamic and elaborate. And Egawa delivers floods of virtuosic keyboard work, topped with Fujimura his excellent powerful guitar play, in perfect balance.The pleasant Japanese vocals are a special flavour. Highly recommended to the fans of Heavy Prog (like Journey and Angel in their early years), harder- edged symphonic rock(like Kansas and Eighties Eloy) or keyboard extravaganza like ELP, Trace and UK.

 Keyboard Triangle II by GERARD album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.21 | 29 ratings

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Keyboard Triangle II
Gerard Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars The first edition of this Japanese project blew me away, my favorite Japanese progrock bands Gerard and Ars Nova playing seven compositions from legendary progrock bands (ELP, Rick Wakeman, PFM, Trace and Il Balletto Di Bronzo), what a Vintage Keyboard Heaven! If you like bombastic, keyboard driven prog, well, that album is ultra bombastic virtuosic keyboard driven prog.

In 2002 the second edition was released, I own the 2010 remaster, all tracks are played by my first Japanese progrock love Gerard (I am a huge fan since I bought their first two album in the early Nineties).

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (8:02) : What a captivating start, a King Crimson cover with organ and synthesizers (by Japanese keyboard wizard Toshio Egawa) but it sounds great. I even conclude that Gerard did an outstanding job by blending the typical Gerard elements (bombastic keyboards and a furious rhythm-section) and the heart of this dark and compelling song. The vocals by Simon Nakaji are OK, no more or less.

2. Danger Money (8:02) : A strong rendition with powerful drums and exciting keyboards, my only negative remark concerns the vocals, too powerless and too much a disturbing accent (I am sure former Gerard singer Robin Suchy would have done a way better job on this album).

3. Knife Edge (6:32) : Awesome Hammond organ work, a mindblowing rhythm-section and wonderful part featuring a church organ sound, for sure an extra dimension. But again the vocals are the weak point, too much a poor contrast with with powerful and bombastic atmospheres. Like a sparrow wants to overscream a bold eagle.

4. Alaska-Time To Kill (7:40) : This track starts with an impressive keyboard intro and a jawdropping imitation of Eddie Jobson his distorted electric violin sound, very spectacular, one of the highlights!

5. Lark's Tongues In Aspic Part Two (6:54) : The second King Crimson cover, also in this composition Gerard surprises us with swirling Hammond organ, supported by powerful and fluent bass play and propulsive drums, topped by wonderful violin work. As in the first King Crimson cover, Gerard succeed to show an own face without doing harm to the heart of the song.

Although I in my opinion the instrumental first edition is superior to this second effort, I consider it as very interesting, mainly due to the awesome renditions of the two King Crimson compositions. Here we can enjoy how Japanese prog rises to the occasion, blending their distinctive vintage keyboards drive prog with Classic Prog!

My rating: 3,5 star.

 Keyboard Triangle II by GERARD album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.21 | 29 ratings

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Keyboard Triangle II
Gerard Neo-Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars Let me be the first to say that the cover looks like a wonderful cross between those of "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" and "Love Bites". Now, Gerard are no strangers to cover albums like this, but this is the best of theirs. Several Crimson, ELP, and UK pieces are covered with a unique and powerful rendition heavy on keys and bass. The band plays excellently on the whole album, laying down some great new versions of these classics. What takes the cake and guarantees a whole five stars is their version of "Knife Edge", which manages to outdo the already excellent ELP original. Egawa really does hammer on his Hammond, and Hasegawa has a killer vocal delivery that makes this track work spectacularly. One of the best cover records of prog classics, this should be acquired for "Knife Edge" alone, but is as a whole excellent.
 Evidence Of True Love by GERARD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1997
3.15 | 7 ratings

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Evidence Of True Love
Gerard Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Like trying to take advantage of the presence of a powerful vocalist in the line-up, Gerard kept producing music in a prolific rate, while Robin Suchy was still around.''Evidence of true love'' was their second work released in the year 1997, a mini-album and propably a Japanese market only release with three tracks, launched via Trycle Records in December.Unfortunately this would also be the last work of Suchy, before saying goodbye to the band.

''Dirty hunters'' is a total new track recorded by the band and among the most pompous pieces written by Egawa.A mix of Symphonic/Hard Rock, Pomp Rock and AOR with monster keyboard lines and rhythmic patterns, highlighted by Suchy's aggressive vocal performance and featuring a memorable chorus, great stuff, which however comes closer to the pompous works of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN.''Delirium'' was among the tracks of ''Pandora's box'', very E.L.P.-like Symphonic Rock with flashy twists on synthesizers and organ by Egawa and some pounding bass lines and drums, extremely bombastic and dense, very close to the dark offerings of compatriots ARS NOVA.''Evidence of true love'' was in the tracklist of ''Save knight by the night'', but this was re-recorded with English lyrics and Suchy behind the microphone.Typical long piece of the Gerard repertoire, containing this time evident Classical influences and smoother, more romantic sections, but the main game is again played around Egawa's powerful, grandiose keyboard fanfares, featuring extended instrumental workouts and a beautiful ending section with a pompous, haunting orchestral atmosphere and atmospheric choirs.

Might be an excess to get this album, if you already own the basic albums of Gerard, but this is one of these works that you should appreciate if coming across.A great and enjoyable new piece along with two older cuts, among the best of Gerard's offerings.Recommended.

 Sighs of the Water by GERARD album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.94 | 26 ratings

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Sighs of the Water
Gerard Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Gerard are a Japanese trio from Japan who, on the evidence given by their newest offering on Musea, are very heavily influenced by Emerson Lake & Palmer. Although the band released their debut album as long ago as 1983, they settled into the current line-up in time for their 1996 album 'The Pendulum'. The music is mostly instrumental although drummer Masuhiro Goto provides vocals on two songs, and a guest vocalist is used on another. Although the drumming and bass playing is top quality the focal point of the music is very much keyboard player Toshio Egawa.

With no other melody instrument (not even a guest guitarist), it is very much in his hands to provide all of the musical styles necessary to drive the songs forward. In many ways this is music out of time as it belongs in the Seventies, long passages designed to keep the listener's jaw firmly on the floor as the speed and dexterity of Toshio is designed to amaze. It is not all frenetic stuff though, and there are dreamy interludes to counterpoint the more rampant excesses.

Any fan of ELP will surely enjoy this release as much as I have. Originally released only in Japan, the Musea version contains a bonus track.

Originally appeared in Feedback #69, Aug 02

 Pandora's Box by GERARD album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.20 | 32 ratings

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Pandora's Box
Gerard Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars With the arrival of Robin Suchy there seemed to be a breeze of fresh air in Gerard's history.Among the many lives the group was performing around mid-90's Gerard found time to enter the studio at the fall of 96' in order to record another bombastic work.This was meant to be ''Pandora's box'', finally released in March 97' on Musea Records.

From the opening self-titled number things are getting really serious.Toshio Egawa is in an absolute orgasm, performing an over-10-min. powerful Symphonic Rock suite with angualr synthesizers, bombastic Hammond organ and loads of Mellotron in a KING CRIMSON vein around the middle.The remaing three out of five tracks follow the same if not heavier lines.Very dense, keyboard-based Symphonic/Hard Rock with tons of virtuosic synth moves, dynamic pyrotechnics and a huge amount of tehnique in a bit abstract but very enegetic arrangements.''Siren in the Mysterious Sea'' is a different story.Based on sampled flutes, Mellotron and harsichord, this instrumental piece is closer to New Age/Symphonic Rock in a much needed interruption between the heavier ideas of Egawa.The closing ''Freedom'' is again on the softer side.It sounds like an AOR ballad with Suchy's vocal in the forefront with a more aggressive section clodsing it in a synth-drenched enviroment.

Mostly instrumental and tremendously bombastic Symphonic Rock is the perfect style for Gerard and the band's leader Toshio Egawa knew this better than anyone else.Good album, maybe some more melodies could be included.Nevertheless, recommended.

 The Ruins Of A Glass Fortress by GERARD album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.73 | 45 ratings

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The Ruins Of A Glass Fortress
Gerard Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 really

The ruins of a glass fortress from 2000 is another worthy release from this japanese band. This time, I mean from previous 2 albums they optain for a distinct direction towards Triumvirat, UK and even Rick Wakeman influences here and there. The influences from the bands mentioned above are more evident here in contrast with early works, because the head of the band Toshio Egawa take out from the arrangements the guitar, no trace of this instrument here, and because of that the passages are keyboard driven prog. Not bad, really, but is not fantastic either, hardly original album and little flat in some parts, but the skills and talent of Egawa make from this album a real pleasent ride, not to mention that the rhythmic section is quite great and solid. Also in some moments I trace some fusion elements specilly in bass/drums category, where the instruments are complex and complicated, I like the bass lines very much. The opening track Labyrinth and Fall Into A Doze are the best from here, instrumental with complex moves, twist lots of layers, speedy keyboards and some dark atmosphere overall, but in the end really good I might say. All album is instrumental minus two pieces where features Jean-Luc "F. Nazaki", and to my opinion his voice is horrible at best, so I will not count this bad section from my rating system. So, even the arrangements and overall sound is more modern then let's say on Empty lie, empty dream from their early works, I prefer that 1985 album face this The ruins, because of the guitar who gives a more melodic , dynamic and overall better atmopshere to my ears. 3 stars rounded to 3.5 , excellent cover art, like on almost all Gerard albums, that romantic aproach very much in vein with the music offered. Good band, I like what I've heared so far from their catalogue, so for sure I will buy more of their albums.

 Empty Lie, Empty Dream by GERARD album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.03 | 29 ratings

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Empty Lie, Empty Dream
Gerard Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Actually 3.5 stars

Gerard were one of the leading progressive rock bands from the '80 in Japan together with Novela, Fromage, Pale Acute Moon, Outer Limits or Mugen. They offer a quite good symphonic prog very much in vein of UK or a harder version of Genesis (Trick of the tail era) but with their own twist and with that particular japanese flavour , musicaly speaking that many bands from '80 from this country had. I review so far two of their albums and I liked what I've heared so I've decided to check two more from their catalogue, one of them is Empty lie, empty dream, the second release from 1985. This is enjoyble to me for sure, is to low rated for such music, really. Symphonic prog well played and well performed. The album is mainly instrumental and the keyboards and guitar are great. In their first phase they sounded not very much a la ELP like their later releases, because of the guitar arrangements, this instrument being left aside from Pendulum onwards. So, , forte pieces are the opening instrumental The acts of the Apostles , really awesome pieces where the talent of Toshio Egawa on keyboards and of Fujimura on guitar is obvious. In that darker days of prog mid 80s only japanese school of prog counted on market and the british neo prog who just exploded in Europe around that time, and of course do not forget Rush, the rest of the world were in shadow and the rest of the movement in aderground for sure. So, this release keeps the flag as high as possible for that period, no weak moment but in same time nothing is close to masterpieces status, still enjoyble and good from start to finish.

 The Pendulum by GERARD album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.68 | 45 ratings

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The Pendulum
Gerard Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.

 The Pendulum by GERARD album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.68 | 45 ratings

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The Pendulum
Gerard Neo-Prog

Review by 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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