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miércoles, 6 de mayo de 2015

Gerard - Pandora's Box (1997)

Artista: Gerard
Álbum: Pandora's Box
Año: 1997
Género: Neo-progresivo sinfónico
Duración: 39:12
Nacionalidad: Japón


Lista de Temas:
1. Pandora's Box
2. Analysis of Life
3. Chaos
4. Siren in the Mysterio us Sea
5. Delirium
6. Freedom

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


Ahora le corresponde la entrada a otro de los amigos del blog que está haciendo su aporte de discos para que todos disfruten, me refiero a Neckwringer que se viene con tres disquitos de esta banda japonesa que hamos presentado anteriormente, en el disco que hicieran reversionando temas progresivos clásicos junto a las chicas de Ars Nova.

Como dije, Gerard es una banda nipona, sin guitarras y liderada por el gran tecladista japonés Toshio Egawa, acompañado de músicos excelentes para armar la base necesaria para que se despliegue el tecladista. Los temas cuentan con largas secciones instrumentales, plagadas de complejas y armónicas líneas melódicas lideradas general y alternativamente por el teclado, con una batería y un bajo que se salen de la vaina por jugar en esa maraña de notas que despliega Egawa, consiguiendo una base deliciosamente poderosa, técnicamente perfecta y muy rica (atención a cualquier bajista o baterista, escuchen lo que hacen aquí los señores Hasegawa en bajo y Goto en batería).


La voz aparece eventualmente para poner alguna variación a tanto brillo instrumental.
En cuanto al sonido y estilo, en líneas generales se puede decir que Gerard es una banda fiel a los más estándares del rock neo progresivo, lo cual no es raro tratándose de una banda ideada por un tecladista. Una banda en la que se puede escuchar el alma de Yes, Genesis, Emerson Lake & Palmer y todos esos clásicos, pero que a la vez, con pinceladas que la hacen bastante personal: en general, sus canciones son muy, pero muy enérgicas, que de a ratos me parecía que estaba escuchando temas traídos del primer álbum de Frost (otro disco que tengo que traer aquí), tanto por la calidad compositiva, la energía y la batuta del teclado. A cualquiera que le agrade la energía de ese álbum, no se pierda a este que presentamos aquí. En algún momento (muy pocos en realidad, creo que sólo en el último tema) aparece algún tropezón compositivo para empañar un poco semejante trabajo.
Al ir escuchando los distintos temas, arreglos y melodías, vamos descubriendo una estructura que es básicamente la del neo-progresivo sinfónico que todos conocemos, aunque Gerard logra imprimir un toque de originalidad sin salir, sin embargo, de los límites que impone el estilo, pareciendo una banda que buscó en este álbum, en cada momento, la reinvención de sí mismos y del género.

No tengo idea de que hace ahora esta banda, si se ha disuelto o siguen su rumbo, pero "Pandora's Box" es para mí un completo exponente de lo mejor del neo progresivo, con músicos buenísimos e interpretaciones brillantes, creo que es una obra desconocida para su altura.


Second album with canadian Robin G. Suchy on vocals. All the music of Gerard is composed by the master of keys Toshio Egawa who's music and manner of playing is rooted in ELP music but also some influences from UK here and there. Anyway this is another good album, the voice of Robin G. Suchy is good to listen the example Analysis of Life is an awesome track, with great key pasages and nice drums. Chaos is another key madness track where Toshio Egawa shows us that is among the best in his genre. The rest of the tracks are good but non essential. Gerard is one of the most important bands from Japan, but they can very well became something more than that in the future, so enjoy Gerard after all a band to remember if you wont bombastic arangements in your music.
Bogdan Olariu

This album is released by second incarnation of Gerard. Keyboardist Toshio Egawa is leading figure there as well, but comparing with band's first two bombastic albums, this one is really serious step ahead.
First of all, there are great fusion influenced rhythm section presented, and all music sounds much more modern and complex. If there were mostly kind of ELP -parody heavily keyboards based music, recorded on band's earlier albums, on Pandora's box you can hear quite modern (ok, still heavy keyboards based) fusion influenced progressive rock. UK (band's) influence is obvious, but keyboards sound is much modern, and all music is much better balanced. Even vocals (non-Japanese vocalist this time) are quite pleasant, even if not very original.
In fact, weakest point of this album is composition - if at the beginning it sounds quite melodic, very soon you hear one never ending song. Complex, with competent instrumentation, not very original, but one long song. And your interest to this album decrease very soon.
Much better work then few first albums, this album is still not original enough to become attractive for every prog lover. But for fans of bombastic fusion influenced symphonic prog this music will sound interesting enough I believe.
Slava Gliozeris

It would be some kind of a lie to tell you that this album features some great and new items of music...
What you will discover while listening to this "Pandora's Box" is the usual suspect from the band?
Achieved music, skilled musicians: but what about the song writing or about moving musical parts?
These are alien to my ears. Fortunately, there are a few seconds of nice mellotron available during the long opening and title track.
But that might not be enough, right?
The first time I have rated this album, the score was pretty high (some three years ago: 2007). I guess that I have "grown" up in the meantime and that after having listened to a couple of thousand albums, this changed my mind about this "box".
Even if not great, I would be unfair to tell you that vocals are better under this release (but it was not difficult to tell the truth). As usual, ELP fans might be enthusiast about such a release. Under the same circumstances, I do prefer a band like "Ars Nova" who is playing in the same department but with more skills.
Nonetheless, this is a good album if you are ready to listen to some stuff that you have already listened to. For about a hundred times in my case. Still, there a wonderful moment of music available: the splendid and instrumental "Siren in the Mysterious Sea". Fully emotional: it is a superb musical part which is definitively raising the score of this album.
This is really the only track that "diverges" from the rest which is just average IMHHO. Thanks to "Siren", I rate this album with three stars. Gorgeous keyboards: yes. But, what else?
Daniel ZowieZiggy

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.
apps79

Ok guys, maybe we can consider that neo prog bands have they limit in the their typical imitation vein interpreting past splendors of the big names of this kind of music. This is true obviously. Anyway there are a lot of good players all around the world that propose music that is still at a very good level of quality, at least in technics of playing instruments. And sometimes starting from the roots that we all know and appreciate we have seen that great bands and musicians growed uo to a position of excellence. Japan is not so much involved in this neo prog movement but some exception exist. Gerard and his leader keyboards virtuoso Toshio Egawa well represent this exception creating good music and showing a very special ability in playing. You could at anytime hear echoes of ELP (Keith Emerson is one of the artists that inspired Toshio Egawa) or Rick Wakeman solo works as well some sounds that come directly from other prog bnds of the past. but some good ideas and a genral taste and freshness is present and enjoyable. If you look to Japanese bands with diffidence, please take a moment to listen to these guys and you will find some good stuff. Sometimes it's better to listen to a well played and fresh music instead of the actual production of such band as Genesis or Yes....you know what i mean if you feel as real prog fan. Three stars but even four could stand at this point.
Marco Lombardi

Y para cerrrar el post, dejo la versión de Gerard de un clásico:



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