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GRATTO

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Gratto biography
Despite the somewhat Italian ring to the name, GRATTO is a Pennsylvania-based quartet named after John Gratto, a keyboard player/vocalist who once auditioned for L…GER DE MAIN. That's where he met brothers Brett (drums) and Chris Rodler (guitars). Although the band decided not to use him, they worked together for three years in the late 90's, eventually enlisting RH FACTOR's keyboard/bass player Gary Madras to jam with them. Madras then decided to split and GRATTO-the-band fell apart. But a tape of their sessions still existed; it was found "stuffed between last year's Christmas ornaments and discarded baby clothes" some seven years later. Chris Rodler brought the tapes to his studio, added a few finishing touches and released the album ("Anakin Tumnus") on his own PMM label.

The result is a smoking 39-minute CD made up of three epic tracks that flow together seamlessly, each showing almost immaculate song writing and played with an impressive and uncommon intensity. Throughout the album, Gratto's keyboards and Chris Rodler's guitars are intricately intertwined while drummer Brett Rodler and bassist Gary Madras engage in some fine jazzy interplay. The compositions are melodically intricate, metrically complex and extremely diverse in moods. This is innovative, aggressive prog, a bit over the top at times but all for the right reasons. Call it symphonic prog with a strong prog metal influence.

Fans of VDGG, YES, RUSH, KING CROMSON and ECHOLYN will have a field day with these guys. Highly recommended.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Anakin TumnusAnakin Tumnus
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3.93 | 8 ratings
Anakin Tumnus
2002

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GRATTO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Anakin Tumnus  by GRATTO album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.93 | 8 ratings

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Anakin Tumnus
Gratto Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Over a period of about three years Gratto would get together and record extremely complex prog. However the band broke up and it wasn't for another two years that anything was done with the tapes. Gratto the band were Gratto (keyboards, vocals), Chris Rodler (guitars), Brett Rodler (drums) and Gary Madras (bass). I am not sure how many years Chris and I have been in contact, but it goes as far back as Drama as well as RH Factor, Leger De Main and others. I have always had a lot of respect for Chris and Brett's abilities yet here they were in an unusual setting, as Gratto co-wrote the music with Chris while providing all of the lyrics.

Chris came across the tapes by accident and decided to work through them to see if there was anything that should be released and instead of going for a lengthy epic has instead released an album that is only thirty six minutes long, containing just three numbers. But even though this album is so short (in relative terms) it contains far more ideas than many prog albums could ever hope to achieve. It is extremely complex yet retaining melody, while branching and splitting off into myriad ideas time and again.

It is an album that really has to be listened to otherwise the music just washes over the top. There is so much going on that at times it conjures up images of classic Genesis but sounds absolutely nothing like them at all. I am a huge fan of Spock's Beard, as you all well know, but this album sounds far more mature with much greater depth. It definitely proves to Flower Kings that it is all about quality, not quantity.

This album is already starting to make a stir in prog circles and you will kick yourself if you don't get in on the act.

Originally appeared in Feedback #72, Feb 03

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 Anakin Tumnus  by GRATTO album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.93 | 8 ratings

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Anakin Tumnus
Gratto Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Gratto , this unknown band from progressive rock zone, even they had a great album released under their wings. The name of the band is taken from their leader, the keyboard player and vocalist John Gratto. The band releases only one album in 2002 at PMM (progressive music management), where were released another great albums from this field across the years, like - Hultberg/Rodler - Rh factor - 1998, Leger De Main, Mythologic, Razor Wire Shrine. The other three musicians involved in this project are the excellent Rodler brothers and Gary Madras, to me some of the most underrated musicians in the history of progressive music, they are killer musicians, on each instrument they play they bring intristing arrangements and very chalengic elements in the music. Gary Madras the bass player who made Hultberg/Rodler - Rh factor - 1998 the keybord part. So, the album named Anakin Tumnus is a killer one in my opinion, in same vein with Hultberg/Rodler - Rh factor - 1998, bordering progressive metal but without being metal entirely, on the eclectic side, haveing influences from Rush, King Crimson even some Marillion parts, but overall a great album I must tell you. The heavier parts are melted very well with the melodic ones, the Rodler brothers are the cherry on the cake for sure, the vocal parts are ok but not fantastic, but the instrumental passages are killer. The mood of the album , the complexity make to want more, but being not another album from the band released , you must check other bands where these musicians are involved and in same vein and attitude with Gratto. Check out Leger de Main, Hultber/Rodler, Mythologic and almost all bands from PMM label in one way or another these musicians are involved there. So Anankin tumnus is a well written album, very underrated IMO , with musicianshio of the highest class, maybe the production is little flat and the vocal parts without dynamics, but overall is great, musicaly speaking. 4 stars easy, I was realy surprised to see only 3 votes and 2 reviews so far, kinda low rated aswell. Recommended, will not be deseppointed album for sure, both prog metal fans and those who are into traditional progressive rock will be pleased to hear this, everything PMM label release over the years is top notch belive me, a small label but with excellent bands.

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 Anakin Tumnus  by GRATTO album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.93 | 8 ratings

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Anakin Tumnus
Gratto Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have to thank Ricochet for suggesting this band to me. He thought I would like the heaviness that comes and goes on it, and of course I do. There is actually a pretty good balance between the pastoral and heavier sections. I would have prefered more of the latter but I think John Gratto for whom this project is named after had a story to tell first and foremost. Lyrically we're into Neal Morse territory which really surprised me as I didn't even notice the lyrics until after about 4 listens.This is apparently the story of Gratto becoming a Christian. He gets help instrumentally from the Rodler brothers who play lead guitar and drums for LEGER DE MAIN. They are fantastic by the way.

The album opens with "Passage Of Time" which you would swear sounds like a Neal Morse song. At least the intro does I should say. Fragile vocals and piano for 40 seconds. A fuller sound and faster tempo arrives 1 1/2 minutes in. The guitar is great. Vocals and a calm a minute later before the song kicks back in even heavier than before. I love the guitar 4 1/2 minutes in, and check out the bass ! The drumming is fantastic ! The sound is nice and heavy before 8 minutes. It's funny when he gives a statement about God followed by a quick outburst of heaviness. This happens many times in a row. It's like he's at his wits end.

"Call And Response" opens with piano that is joined by reserved vocals. A full sound with louder vocals takes over. This contrast continues. The vocals become theatrical 5 1/2 minutes in.The heaviness is great before 7 minutes. An absolutely ripping guitar solo after 8 minutes. The last minute of the song is pastoral with piano and acoustic guitar. "Shift" opens with strummed guitar. The tempo picks up and the sound becomes fuller 2 minutes in. The bass is prominant as it settles back down. The song continues to develope and change until 13 minutes in when a heavy rhythm arrives. A RUSH feel to the guitar to follow. Some killer drum work after 15 minutes. The final minute reminds me of the intro on the first track. Too sweet for my tastes.

I'm going to have to check out LEGER DE MAIN, the Rodler brothers are incredible. I found the vocals a little on the weak side at times on this record, and too many non-heavy parts as well. Haha. I still think this is a good one though.

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 Anakin Tumnus  by GRATTO album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.93 | 8 ratings

BUY
Anakin Tumnus
Gratto Eclectic Prog

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The origins of GRATTO date back to 1996 when he was working with 'LEGER DE MAIN' (Chris and Brett Rodler). According to the story of this recording it was a lost tape and abandoned recording which has remained hidden on some dusty shelf for 6 years and has finally make the way to my CD player. "Anakin Tumnus" contains 3 long pieces each possessing a towering sound and wide range of sound dynamics, each showing the intricate song writing and instrumental prowess of these talented musicians. GRATTO's vocals are sung in a quieter stealth like mode but resound with wonderful contrast to the sharper instrument sounds. In some ways his lyrics and voice carry a slight symmetry to those of MARILLION's FISH. Without a question this band played with an intensity and musical likeness that reminds me very much of ANEKDOTEN, ECHOLYN and even KING CRIMSON. An excellent swing my friends and I would definitely recommend this recording to all lovers of progressive rock.

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