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jueves, 7 de mayo de 2015

Gerard - The Pendulum (1996)

Artista: Gerard
Álbum: The Pendulum
Año: 1996
Género: Neo-progresivo sinfónico
Duración: 39:33
Nacionalidad: Japón


Lista de Temas:
1. Empty lie, empty dream
2. Killing our mother, condemning our children
3. Orpheus
4. Ascending to Heaven
5. Crime of the future
6. The pendulum parts 1 to 3

Alineación:
- Toshio Egawa / keyboards
- Masuhiro Goto / drums
- Atsushi Hasegawa / bass
- Robin G. Suchy / vocals


Neckwringer comparte sus tres disquitos de estos japoneses de base poderosísima y protagonismo inamovible de las teclas, sin guitarras y liderada por el gran tecladista japonés Toshio Egawa, acompañado de músicos excelentes.
Este es el un disco anterior al que hemos presentado de la banda, salió un año antes que "Pandor's Box" y tomando señales musicales principalmente de ELP o de Genesis, pero también con un sonido más moderno que se los podría emparentar con el típico Marillion de aquellos tiempos. Algunos momentos verdaderamente épicos, mezclados con otros predecibles y algo cursis, ese debe ser el sonido típico que llevó la banda de aquí en adelante.


La banda más importante de Japón en el terreno progresivo es sin lugar a dudas Gerard; una banda caracterizada por su sonido épico-majestuoso en la línea de Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
Liderados por el virtuoso Toshio Egawa, miembro de la famosa banda Heavy Progresiva Novela, quién se encarga de los teclados y de la composición, quién fundó la banda en 1984. Completan este trío, Atsushi Hasenawa en bajo y Masuhiro Goto en batería, dos músicos sobresalientes.
"The Pendulum" es su quinto trabajo, una suerte de colección de piezas épicas ejecutadas con gran pasión y maestría, plena de virtuosismo y sofisticación. En ellas uno puede sentir el fluir de un entusiasmo constante, recordándonos por momentos al súper grupo británico UK.
Una verdadera maquina musical.
Rock Progresivo de Japón

Sí, bien es cierto que quizá Toshio Egawa quiera ser un clon de Keith Emerson... y que tampoco hayan inventado nada, pero ... no sé que tienen pero esta banda japonesa transpira talento, con una base que me hipnotiza, con esas canciones tan enérgicas. Y ya que estamos vamos a copiar la biografía de la banda, ya que hay muy poca información en castellano.

Toshio Egawa (Rumble, Fromage, Scheherazade, Novela, Earthshaker), formó Gerard en 1983. Hubo varios cambios de miembros hasta que se juntó la formación que grabaría el primer álbum: Yukihiro Fujimura (voz y guitarra), Masaki Tanimoto (batería) y Yasumasa Uotani (bajo). La banda actuó varias veces antes de salir a la venta su primer álbum (Gerard), en la primavera de 1984.
En 1985 publicaron un segundo álbum, “Empty Lie, Empty Dream”, pero un año más tarde, su discográfica King records, decidió no publicar más rock progressive y la banda se separó. Fue entonces cuando Toshio Egawa se unió a la banda Earthshaker y Yukihiro Fujimura a Vienna.
En 1990 Egawa juntó de nuevo la banda, mezclando a antiguos miembros con miembros nuevos. Eran los siguientes: Toshio Egawa (teclados), Yukihiro Fujimura (guitarra y voz), Toshimi Nagai (bajo) y Kota Igarashi (batería). Un año más tarde sacaron el album “Irony of Fate”.
Debido a las diferencias musicales con Fujimura, Egawa publicó bajo el nombre de “Toshi Egawa’s Gerard” un nuevo album: “Save Night by the Knight”, que incluía también como miembro a Taku Sawamura (guitarra). Este fue el último album en el que participó Fujimura, el único miembro además de Egawa que permanecía en el grupo desde el primer album.
Tras la separación de Earthshaker, Egawa decició reformar Gerard a finales de 1994. para ello, contó con Masuhiro Goto (batería) y Atsushi Hasegawa (bajo), ambos de la escena metal, y con Robert Sucy (voz). El primer álbum con esta formación fue “The Pendulum” en 1996. En 1997 Robert Sucy dejó la banda, y a partir de entonces pasó a ser un trío, ya que las letras eran cantadas por Masuhiro Goto y músicos invitados.
Con esta formación lanzaron varios DVDs en directo, algunos solamente disponibles en los conciertos, por lo que es dificil hacer una lista de todos ellos.
Durante estos años también dieron varios conciertos en el extranjero, entre ellos en Marsella (1999) y en el festival Nearfest en 2002. Estos conciertos han sido publicados en CD.
En 2004, tras el lanzamiento de su album de estudio “Power of Infinity”, Masuhiro Goto dejó Gerard para unirse a Ars Nova y fue reemplazado por Kenichi Fujimoto (ZYYG, Banana P@i). Tras su incorporación la banda ha dado muchos conciertos en diferentes live-house y festivales, participaron en la banda Goldbrick y con Akira Kajiyama y Joe Lynn Turner entre otros muchos, y Atsushi Hasegawa y Kenichi Fujimoto entraron también en la banda de Sound Horizon.
Hubo que esperar hasta 2008 para escuchar nuevo material de estudio: “Night before the revolution”, una canción grabada para el recopilatorio Jap’s Progre, en el que podemos escuchar desde grupos rock progressive de siempre como Outer Limits, hasta los grupos más recientes. Durante el verano de ese año, también tocaron en varios conciertos con Sasai Yasuo (Saber Tiger, Ark Strorm), en lo que ellos llamaron Sasa-Gera.
Poco más tarde, varios meses antes del lanzamiento del album "Ring of Eternity" (2010), Yasuo Sasai fue nombrado miembro permanente de la banda. Junto a este nuevo álbum, se pusieron a la venta ediciones remasterizadas de los álbumes "Live in Marseille", "The Pendulum" y "Keyboards Triangle II". Un año más tarde, en 2011, se publicaron el DVD de "Chaos Live" grabado en el año 2000, y un nuevo album titulado "Visionary Dream", que incluye tanto canciones inéditas, como temas antiguos regrabados
Al igual que Vienna, la discográfica francesa Musea publica los CDs y DVDs de Gerard. Muchos de ellos, sobre todo los DVDs, se agotan rápidamente. Los CDs de la primera etapa han sido publicados recientemente en uan edición especial por Altavoz, imitando un LP, también disponible en Musea.

Y ahora vamos a comentarios del disco, por supuesto en inglés porque no encoentré nada...

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.
Marcelo Matusevich

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' ..!
Gatot Widayanto

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!
Lorenzo

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
apps79

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!
Erik Neuteboom

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.
Daniel ZowieZiggy

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.
W. Arthur

Y todavía nos quedan muchas cosas para traerles, entre ellas otro disquito de estos japoneses para que los puedan seguir disfrutando, y también será otro álbum compartido por nuestro amigo Neckwringer...





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