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GTR

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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GTR biography
GTR was one of those 80´s "super groups"; band was formed around two very well know prog guitarists, Steve HACKETT (Genesis) and Steve HOWE (Yes, Asia), but GTR sound was completely different to the born bands of this two guitarists. GTR sound was oriented to FM radio, a commercial pop-rock of quality, but completely apart of prog sounds. GTR self title debut was published in may of 1986, and it sold more than 500.000 copies!!! so went into gold album. The album includes several potential hit singles and two Steve´s solo performances, but the hit single and most know song was "When The Heart Rules The Mind". Besides two Steve´s, the band was completed with Max Bacon (ex-NIGHTWING) on vocals, Jonathan Mover (ex-MARILLION), on drums and Phil Spalding (ex-MIKE OLFIELD BAND) on bass. As a curiosity a few months after album release a 60 min video was published, with the making-off of the album and "When The Heart Rules The Mind" promo-video.

One year after the release of GTR debut and the following tour, the band starts to write for his second album, but the musical differences between two Steve´s made band splited and GTR project disappear, but an independent label (Elements Of Crime) release a few years ago a bootleg cd with the demos on that album, that includes six songs with Max Bacon on vocals and other six with Robert Berr (Intended to be the singer on second GTR album), this album was called "Nerotrend". Also in 1996, 10 years after the publishing of self titled debut the "King Biscuit Flower Hour Live Series" publish an excellent quality live show of the band at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, on July 19, 1986; being this three releases the only GTR musical legacy.

- Javier Ros Mellado, SPAIN

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GTR: 2CD Deluxe Expanded EditionGTR: 2CD Deluxe Expanded Edition
Esoteric Antenna 2015
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$11.99 (used)
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents GTRKing Biscuit Flower Hour Presents GTR
King Biscuit Flower Hour Records/Sony BMG 1997
$50.00
$9.24 (used)
GTRGTR
Remastered
One Way Records 2001
$54.00
$15.95 (used)
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GTR discography


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

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

2.31 | 129 ratings
GTR
1986

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

2.93 | 22 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents GTR
1997

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

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

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

2.27 | 3 ratings
The Hunter
1986
3.33 | 3 ratings
When The Heart Rules The Mind
1986

GTR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 GTR by GTR album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.31 | 129 ratings

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Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nē 227

'GTR' is the eponymous debut studio album of GTR and was released in 1986. It's the sole official studio album released by the short lived super group GTR. The group was founded by the ex-Genesis' guitarist Steve Hackett and then ex-Yes and ex-Asia's guitarist Steve Howe. The group lasted for two years and made two albums, a studio and a live album, and disbanded in 1987. Curiously, Hackett has subsequently been strongly critical of this musical project.

The band's name, anecdotally, comes from the marking on the studio mixing console that indicates the guitar volume control. In comparison to the two leaders' earlier works within progressive rock, GTR's work followed on an album with a more oriented rock format. One of the central ideas for GTR, as a project, was an attempt to create a fully fleshed contemporary band that sound without the use of keyboards and synthesizers. Instead, Hackett and Howe's guitars were outfitted with Roland guitar synthesizers. All the synthesizer sounds on the album was created using this method.

The line up on the album is Max Bacon (vocals), Steve Hackett (vocals, guitars, guitar synthesizer and bass), Steve Howe (vocals, guitars and guitar synthesizers), Phil Spalding (vocals and bass guitar) and Jonathan Mover (drums and percussion).

'GTR' has ten tracks. The first track 'When The Heart Rules The Mind' written by Hackett and Howe is one of the better tracks on the album. Max Bacon is at his best with his voice similar to Dennis DeYoung of Styx and with Hackett and Howe contributing with their customary guitar work duets. It was the first single of the album. The second track 'The Hunter' written by Downes is a track with nothing of progressive on it. The track is saving by those fleeting guitar moments especially Hackett's guitar ending and Phil Spalding's bass playing. This was the second single of the album. The third track 'Here I Wait' written by Hackett and Howe represents a complete contrast to the previous track with its heavy guitar sound. The duet between Hackett and Howe is excellent and a relief and it remind us that these guys can really play when they want to. The fourth track 'Sketches In The Sun' written by Howe is the first instrumental on the album and is Howe's showcase. This is one of the few reasons why we should buy this album. It has one of the best solo performances made by him. This short instrumental track shows that both could have offered something better to this album. The fifth track 'Jekyll And Hyde' written by Hackett, Howe and Bacon see the band returning to the same style of the first tracks of the album. Once again it has a whole load of synthesizers and guitars with a sound very much like the sound of Yes created when Howe left the band. The sixth track 'You Can Still Get Through' written by Hackett and Howe is possibly one of the worse tracks on the album. Once again we have the eighties keyboard sound and it seems that the band have run out of ideas. The seventh track 'Reach Out (Never Say No)' written by Hackett, Howe and Spalding is a track dominated by the guitars. Fortunately the guitar work manages to save this track from becoming another run to a typical AOR track. The eighth track 'Toe The Line' written by Hackett and Howe is a complete different story and it was primarily written by Howe. This is a good track with a nice acoustic guitar work with some delightful guitar licks, making of it one of the better numbers of the album. The ninth track 'Hackett To Bits' written by Hackett can clearly be identified as a track in the Hackett's back catalogue. This isn't a new piece of music but only a revisit of an original version of their album 'Please Don't Touch'. It seems that Hackett was very reluctant to include new material of his own on the album. The tenth and last track 'Imagining' written by Hackett, Howe and Mover is an excellent track and we may say that this is one of the tracks that save the album. This is one of the few rare moments on the album where we can hear real progressive rock music. The acoustic guitar work is a delight while the percussion and the vocals blend in well making this track are one of the few that can be heard without sounding to much outdated.

Conclusion: One of my last reviews on Progarchives was 'Squackett', the other album with a partnership with Genesis and Yes. In reality we can't compare these two albums. Have these two albums the same quality level? No. 'Squackett' is much better than 'GTR' is. Still, we must note that both albums were released in completely different times. Probably the worst thing to 'GTR' was its release in the 80's, those troubled times for progressive rock music. In my humble opinion, basically 'GTR' can be described as a fairly decent AOR album. It has five tracks that save the album 'When The Hurt Rules The Mind', 'Sketches In The Sun', 'Toe The Line', 'Hackett To Bits' and 'Imagining'. The main problem with it is that it was and still is a truly disappointment to all progressive rock fans who felt that the collaboration between Steve Hackett and Steve Howe, considered two of the best and most respected musicians in the progressive music, could possibly lead to a classical 70's progressive rock album. The fact these two guitar legends also succumbed, like so many others, to the whims of the music industry shows the sad state of affairs the music is.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 GTR by GTR album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.31 | 129 ratings

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Review by jamesbaldwin

3 stars GTR was one of the first records I bought. I was 15, and I knew only by name who the Genesis were (and I did not know who the Yes were). I was drawn to the "When the Heart Rules the Mind" video. That song excites me for the epic melody, the powerful singing, the guitar solo. And yet it is a song that I consider memorable (vote 8,5). I discovered reading a music magazine that GTR meant guitar and that the two founders of the band (and authors of the songs) were two great guitarists. Throughout the 1986 I devoured that record. Actually the other songs I liked a lot less, but I could still find some very interesting pieces for the variety of sounds and musical genres. Over the years, on my advice, some musicians of my small town (a drummer, a guitarist) listened to the record and they said to me to pay attention to the bad sound of the bass (P. Spalding) and of the electronic drums (J. Mover) , perhaps present in all the songs (I think except my favorite). They also made me notice how Max Bacon had a beautiful and powerful voice, but tended to overdo it, to shout too loudly. So, my evaluation of GTR lowered.

Anyway, the two Steves, on synthesizer or guitar, in the prog-pop hit of the Lp, are wonderful. The melody of "When The Heart Rules the Mind" is clear and very inspired, and the progression is engaging. Even the second track, (The Hunter, vote 8), more acoustic, written by the producer Jeff Downes, is very good. It flows like a river, spountanously, without a problem, and reach some epic moments when the voice of Bacon sings "Survives".

With "Here i Wait" comes the problems (vote 7). The sound of the electric drums is horrible, but the refrain and the rhythm are good. "Sketches in the Sun" (vote 7,5) is a classic piece, by Steve Howe, where there are the guitar and the synthesizer. It is a pleasure to listen to the crystalline and symphonic sound of Howe's guitar. Side A closes with "Jekyll and Hyde" whose text was written by Bacon. The song is too much light and repetitive (vote 6,5).

Side B opens with "You Can Still Get Through" (vote 7): characterized by the sound of the synth, tries to touch an epic peak, but it doesn't reach it. It remains an atmospheric song, which has the advantage of changing the sound and the arrangements. "Reach Out (Never Say No) has a good rhythm (it was co-written by Spalding), but, again, it would need a good drum and bass sound, instead... The instrumental code could be very good with brave drummer and bassist, instead... Finally arrived the guitar oriented "Toe The Line", an acoustic ballad with an epic climax (vote 8+). "Hackett to Bits" is an instrumental tour de force. So much Howe wrote a classic song, as Hackett wrote an hardrock song. Very sustained rhythm, inspired and engaging song (vote 7,5/8). After this instrumental rock song, starts a new instrumental song, an acoustic ballad, led by the guitar that then, suddenly, become the last song, "Imagining" (cowritten by Mover). The acostic beginning, conducted by the acoustic guitar acts like an intro for the last song, a very pumped, forced, repetitive poprock song (vote 6+), the lowest point of the album.

GTR is a record that contains good compositional cues and good melodies. It is ruined by the bad production of Geoff Downes, and by the sound of the rhythm section, which presents two musicians (Spalding and Mover) who are not at all the height of Steve Hackett and Steve Howe. The potential of these two progrock genes remains therefore only partially expressed, because the sound of their Gibsons is not at the center of the album, and the melodies are entrusted to a gifted but unrefined singer, Max Bacon. GTR is therefore loved, despite the sound, for the melodies and the presence of "the two Steve of prog".

Medium quality of the songs: 7,35. Vote album: 7,5. Three stars.

 GTR by GTR album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.31 | 129 ratings

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Review by FalconBleck

3 stars #31 Review

Yes! I'm finally reviewing something related to Steve Hackett! But this first??? Yes, Steve Hackett has a ton of albums and i will probably spend most of 2019 if not the entire year reviewing them, and i want to get onto other artists as well, so for now, as an end of the year final gift i'm reviewing the pop-masterpiece of the 80s made by a group of prog-rock giants. 1986 was a really weird year, Steve Hackett and his group, Genesis, Peter Gabriel all fighting for an spot into 80s glory hall, well atleast Genesis related, many artists did hits that year, like Marillion.

1. When The Heart Rules The Mind 8/10 The Pop-hit single of this album, Steve still plays it and i can see why, this single its a pop-masterpiece. The rythm all the way through doesn't get boring, it gives an adventurous atmosphere and has some nice variations in between, it gets boring in the acapella part and it repeats itself a little too much and that means a little less score from me.

2. The Hunter 6/10 Hackett participated in creating almost every song of this album, this is not one of those, its an ok minimalistic precussion and guitar song, where the rythm does well in keeping me interested just for a while, then there's a solo wich i'm grateful for but in the end this theme is just average.

3. Here I Wait 3/10 I have seen people complain that for a group called GTR as in GuiTaR, there's not a lot of guitar, and i can agree that the feeling that this album gives is not of a guitar atmosphere, but i can say that most of the time guitars on prog feel more like classic piano oriented and i really like that, and i think that some of the melodies in the album that are done with a synth can be perfectly been made with a guitar. With all that said, this song has a boring rythm and the guitar near the end (wich for some reason i think is Steve Hackett) make this song a little better.

4. Sketches In The Sun 10/10 This is the other and last theme where Hackett had little to none creative input according to the disc, made by Steve Howe and i really like it, its a fine guitar instrumental, this short theme shows and snippet of what this super group and album could've been able to achieve.

5. Jekyll And Hyde 6/10 Another harmless pop piece, sometimes i get hints from the first song, it has an interesting solo part but that's it, the overall rythm doesn't keep me interested.

6. You Can Still Get Through 5/10 The start reminds me of the game soundtrack of WaterWorld and it could've expanded a little bit from that misterious start, but then as the song evolves, repeats the rythm to much, becomes a really obvious pop-song that feels too happy for what it says, adds too much synths and yes, i can see myself asking "Where is the guitar?" from time to time here, and when it appears it does extraordinary things, but you're not fulling me, is like when they try to add heart to Adam Sandler movies. I know that comparison wasn't fair but i'm just tired of the wasted potential, specially here where they repeat the interesting start near the end, just for putting salt in the wound. "You can still get through", what? The wasted potential? I hope so!

7. Reach Out (Never Say No) 4/10 I'm really getting tired here, everytime something interesting happens, it gets back to the rythm quickly, like it doesn't sink in the variations, and when it finally does, its too late, the solo just doesn't save this, the synth solo sounds much more interesting here and that's sad.

8. Toe The Line 7/10 How beautyful, i want to cry, what a glorious and natural guitar after all that mess. Its a mellow song that its ok, gets a little boring and its repetitive but i feel like being prepared for something else.

9. Hackett To Bits 10/10 Steve Hackett appears, its the final boss of this journey and brings all his prog with him, and its glorious. OK, this is epic, i can't stop recommending this instrumental piece that reminds me of his aweosome previous solo work.

10. Imagining 9/10 I thought that this was continuing from the previous theme, and i think that it could well be the case, reminds me of a soundtrack, has some beautyful scales that give an overall misterious feeling. And in the end it surprises me because it adds the pop conventions into the mix but the theme never stops changing and it keeps it interesting and i like it a lot. This theme could very well be the one that decided the direction in wich this album was going and they sadly picked up more the pop side.

In total this album gets a 68/100 wich is 3 stars, it has some harmless forgetable but ok songs with added pop and prog goodies into the mix, i specially recommend the last 2 themes. Have a happy holydays everyone.

 GTR by GTR album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.31 | 129 ratings

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Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

2 stars How to disappoint your loyal followers in 2 easy steps.

I guess it really is no big news how lame virtuoso guitar players can become when forced or self forced to compose. Since I heard Steve Howe's first solo release, I was well aware that his performing skills are opposite to his songwriting ones. Maybe I was expecting more from Hackett, his first solo release is, in comparison to Howe's, far more daring and creative.

Anyway, the more I listen to GTR's "GTR", 1986, the worst it gets (and I am listening to their 2015 remastered deluxe 2 cds edition). The 80's Pop "clean cut" mainstream song style is the least of its problems. This could justify the audiences it expected to reach. No, the big upset is how self-indulgent these extraordinary guitar players can get. Showing off your lack of songwriting skills can turn out to be the best way to dissapont your talented performances followers.

You could gather around like 5 minutes of what is worth listening to, the rest is just expendable as 1000s of the 80's musical productions.

**2 "lame and forgettable" PA stars.

 The Hunter by GTR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
2.27 | 3 ratings

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Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Only the hunter survives

The Hunter was released as a single to promote the self-titled GTR album in 1986. Written for the band by Geoff Downes of Yes and Asia fame, who also produced the album. This 12" maxi-single contained no less than three different versions of the title song. First we have a single version which is a bit shorter than the album version which is track two of this single. On the flip side we get a special mix of the same song followed by two instrumentals taken from the album to represent the two guitarists of the group: Steve Howe's Sketches In The Sun and Steve Hackett's Hackett To Bits.

This year (2015) the GTR album has been reissued with all three versions of The Hunter included (the single version and special GTR mix as bonus tracks) plus a second disc featuring an excellent live show previously released as a stand alone live album. Personally, I like both the GTR studio album and the live album, both of which I've rated separately with four stars each. All the music included in this single is now available on CD.

 King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents GTR by GTR album cover Live, 1997
2.93 | 22 ratings

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Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This live album, released in 1997, presents GTR sounding better playing in concert than in their self- titled studio album from 1986. Recorded in Los Angeles in July of 1986, and with the addition of a keyboard player (Matt Clifford) to the line-up because apparently the guitar synths technology from those years was still not very reliable. The main "stars " in the band obviously were Steve Hackett and Steve Howe, but the other musicians of the band played very well, particularly drummer Jonathan Mover, whose drum kit sounds more at the front of the mixing than in the studio album. The playing of all the musicians is more "raw" and clear than in the studio album. But having only one studio album from the band forced them to play all the songs from the album (but "Toe the Line" was the only song from their album which was not included in this live album or was not played at that concert, but it appears in other live recordings from the band), so Hackett and Howe played some songs as soloists, with or without the band, even playing "I Know What I Like" and some excerpts from other songs by Genesis ("After the Ordeal" and "In that quiet earth"), and "Roundabout" from Yes, plus a song called "Prizefighters" which was not included in their studio album. The style of the band still is very Pop Rock in most songs, like in their studio album, but maybe the most Prog Rock moments are from the songs "Imagining", "Hackett to Bits", "Pennants", and "Spectral Mornings". GTR, like Asia, was a so-called super-group from the eighties, put together with some very good Prog Rock musicians but with the main aim to play Pop Rock music to satisfy the new audiences from that decade plus the money making ambitions of managers and record labels. Apparently, GTR lasted for about two years, but like in the case of a super-group from the late sixties called Blind Faith (not Prog Rock), it really showed that despite some musical success it could not last for very long, leaving their members not very happy. So, Hackett left the band after the tour was finished, unhappy with the way the band was managed and the Pop style of most of their music. So, GTR remains as a memory from that decade on which Prog Rock music lost some popularity and some of the Prog Rock musicians had to adjust their music and looks to the "new tastes" of the record labels, managers, producers and the "new" audiences. Anyway, this is a good live album from GTR. Still very Pop Rock in style, but good anyway.
 GTR by GTR album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.31 | 129 ratings

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GTR Prog Related

Review by mneil1968

1 stars What a strange paradox are my feelings about this album. It was the 80's, and as is widely known, a paltry, sad, dark decade for prog. I had only just discovered Yes (from 90125, then worked back and discovered everything else), and yearned for ANY new music that would feature any of my heroes, specifically Howe. Asia was, well, Asia, but then Steve had left and they released the truly abysmal Astra. When I heard "When the Heart Rules the Mind" on the radio, I had no idea who these folks were, but I recognized Steve Howe's guitar. This was also before the internet, and I had no idea how to keep up with what anyone was doing, so I had no idea that Steve had been up to anything. I loved the album at first, but now realize that it was just because I was starving. A saltine cracker will taste like filet mignon if you're starving. Now, listening to this, I'm struck by it's awfulness. There's absolutely no depth to the sound. The lyrics are worse than banal. The singer is really annoying. It just sucks. It's a saltine cracker that's stale and doesn't have enough salt. Nonetheless, I still like "When the Heart..." only because I remember the excitement I felt at that time.
 GTR by GTR album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.31 | 129 ratings

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Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

1 stars In retrospect, this album never had a chance. While there certainly have been some exceptions, supergroups are generally the kind of idea that seems really great in theory but quickly becomes unbearable, like deciding to eat an entire pizza yourself. So it was with GTR, the short-lived collaboration between Steve Howe and Steve Hackett (with the rest of the group filled out by various anonymous players, including vocalist Max Bacon, who is an embodiment of all of my least favorite stereotypes of vocalists from the 80s). The story behind the group actually had its roots in another supergroup; while Howe was perfectly content with the kind of slightly artsy arena rock being made by Asia, he wasn't happy with the relatively minor position of his guitar in relation to the keyboards, and this helped to fuel his departure from the band. Howe had three main principles in mind for his new project: (1) the music style would be arena rock, (2) there would be no keyboards, and instead any synth-like parts would be handled by guitar synthesizer pickups attached to the guitars, and (3) he wanted Steve Hackett on board as the other guitarist. Hackett was willing to do the project, but he didn't have the same enthusiasm as Howe did; where Howe viewed this as a potential long-term project, Hackett viewed this as a short-term collaboration, and (on the surface at least) it really seems like the main driver for his participation in this project was that his last couple of albums (Bay of Kings and Till We Have Faces) hadn't sold very well.

Very predictably, this setup didn't work out so well. Howe and Hackett never really got on the same page creatively, and anybody hoping for any quality interplay between two of the giants of 70s prog guitar will be extremely disappointed. The guitar playing on this album (rather predictably) isn't so much interplay as it is the two sides taking turns, with one guitarist at any point either dropping from the mix or acting as a synthesizer mimic. Furthermore, while there are some stretches where it's clear which guitarist is currently playing a given part, there are long stretches where both Howe and Hackett disappear behind the wall of generic arena rock they've put up for themselves. Furthermore, even when the parts clearly belong to one or the other, the effect is to call up a nostalgia for when the technique on display was used in a better song. It should also be noted that any parts clearly recognizable as Hackett basically discard all of the advances and experimentation from Faces; it's pretty clear to me that Hackett didn't put a tremendous amount of himself into this project.

The album's big hit was the opening "When the Heart Rules the Mind," but aside from the mildly promising opening (with a nice part clearly from Howe), the track is mostly generic mid-tempo 80s arena rock of the worst kind, and it's only notable for somebody interested in collecting every spare Howe and Hackett lick ever recorded. Much better is the following track, "The Hunter," written by producer Geoff Downes (an aside; if Howe's main drive for leaving Asia was that he didn't like the ratio of keyboards to guitars, then why would he invite Asia's keyboardist to produce this album? Of all the peripheral details of this album, this one still confuses me the most); aside from a pretty decent and compact verse melody, as well as a nice build into the various climaxes ("...only the hunter ... only the hunter ... SURVIVES!!!"), it also has the album's most blatant bit of nostalgia thanks to Howe breaking out his "Your Move" guitar approach in the verses. The song isn't anywhere near great, but it's mildly decent, and that makes for a relative highlight.

The best tracks on here sound the least like the typical material of the album. "Sketches in the Sun" is a solo piece from Howe, with him playing a duet with himself on electric guitar, and it's a delightful use of 2:33 that would have sounded great on one of his solo albums. Of the various "regular" songs, "Toe the Line" is easily the best; the song is a model of restraint in its morph from an acoustic ballad into a slightly louder number, and Howe's brief snippet of slide parts in the last minute is quite lovely. I'm not really sure what role Hackett plays in the song, but whatever.

The other six tracks are absolutely atrocious. The Hackett match to "Sketches in the Sun," entitled "Hackett to Bits" (yup, he's even reusing puns from previous song titles), is a vile bastardization of "Please Don't Touch," but it's still probably the best of the remaining material. The sung tracks might all have different melodies, but they're all built around the same basic formula; mid-tempo arena rock built around disappointingly generic guitar (with occasional bits of individual personality coming through), goofy guitar synths, plodding drumming, and those awful vocals. Oh, those awful vocals. With a better vocalist, some of this material might have been salvagable, but there is no better vocalist to be found.

Anyway, this band wasn't long for the world, and it's just as well. Try and find the best two or three tracks, but stay far away from the rest of this. This isn't the worst project Steve Howe was ever a part of (at the least, it's a lot shorter than Union, and Howe's involvement in that album is much less than his involvement here), but it is probably the worst project Steve Hackett was ever a part of, and that says something.

 GTR by GTR album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.31 | 129 ratings

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Review by 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.

 GTR by GTR album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.31 | 129 ratings

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GTR
GTR Prog Related

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Just realized that I have not put my words about this legendary album by collaboration of two guitar maestros of the 70's: Steve Howe (of YES fame) and Steve Hackett (of Genesis fame). When I heard about this collaboration it's was natural that I expected something spectacular which in reality did not happen. Well it's probably over expectation as those two gentlemen were coming from prog powerhouse. It's similar with what I expected with Asia in the early 80s. But if I forget who the people behind this debut album, this is actually not a bad album at all even though I do not here something prog related to the work of of Howe or Hackett. Well, it's probably they formed this GTR to do things differently from the bands they were coming from.

The masterpiece is of course the opening track co-written by two Steves 'When The Heart Rules The Mind' which was successful as the track reached number 14 in the Billboard Top 100 and spent a couple of months on the chart. This was of course an achievement by prog musician who could chart their work on Billboard. Composition-wise this is something that you would expect from straight rock or pop rock band. However, as we all know the style of the two guitarist therefore there are pieces filled with their unique guitar style - that what makes this track differs from any music from straight rock band.

The Hinter was the one written by Geoff Downes (Asia) and represents a slower or mellow track of this album. There are good tracks like Reach Out - especially I like the energy of the song and the guitar solo work. Also Imagining, Here I wait, Sketches In The Sun and Hackett to Bits. Sketches In The Sun is an acoustic number was performed with Asia. The "Asia Live In Asia" home video has a recorded version of the song taken from the gig on December 1983. Steve Howe has a number of versions available of this track including a demo on the original Homebrew demo.

Overall, it's a good album with minimum prog elements but still deliver god music overall. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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