Gerard - Power Of Infinity


Year of Release: 2004
Label: Avalon
Catalog Number: MICL-20007
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:11:00

This is Gerard's twelfth album, I think, and it's a good time for me to give another listen to a band that initially excited the heck out of me and just as quickly fell out of my favor. I am an enthusiastic fan of keyboard led trios, but not a fan of Gerard to any great extent. To my ears their music comes in only two flavors, loud and bombastic and louder and more bombastic, so what could be new or different this time around? Some signs of a maturing sound? A bit less testosterone? Occasional deviation from Gerard's fairly formulaic approach to songwriting?

Well, ?.. yes actually, somewhat so anyway.

I got this disc mainly to hear what Gerard would sound like with a good vocalist. Power Of Infinity features the vocal talents of Italian singer Alex Burnori, formerly of Leviathan on three of the five tracks on the disc. Burnori is a pretty good singer in the Italian tradition, meaning he is a strong tenor with loads of inflections that make his voice very warm, engaging and easy to listen to. He's not used nearly as much as I would have hoped for, but his presence alone seems to calm the waters a bit in the cuts he appears on.

The disc begins with an instrumental, "Caravan On The Moon" that initially bears all the signs of the usual Gerard song machine. A wash of synthesized strings grows in volume and gives way to a triumphal fanfare (Look out ma! Here comes the Roman Legion again!) and then the obligatory ostinatto patterns begin with Toshio Egawa's synthesized Tsuboy violin voice soloing over the top of it all. At about 4:56 or so a second theme is added, a simple theme that the trio explores quietly and without pomp. It is carried along with Atsushi Hasegawa's fine bass playing and loads of fluid Mellotron. Not bad by any means.

Next is "Only The Light" with Burnori on board. What we have another formulaic beginning with a brief vocal verse and chorus tacked onto what is mostly another instrumental. But the instrumental is pretty good.

"Infinity" now. Toshio defies the songwriting mold on this one and comes up with a very nice tune, one that could have used more vocals, but nice nevertheless. I didn't think they could restrain themselves like this. After five minutes or so they segue into a much more recognizably Gerard like mode, but I for one appreciated (however brief) the melodic variety and the difference in dynamic level.

"Warning! Warning!" is another patented Gerard slug fest but one that I quite enjoy.

"Blue World I-III" again uses the voice of Burnori, but as a separate section backed only by Egawa's lush keys. Another section features Hasegawa with a lovely fretless bass solo. Overall though, several good passages do not a great epic make and this work suffers from a lack of any unifying foundation and a sense of incompletion.

Ultimately, though a bunch of good passages do not add up to good songwriting, they do add up to a fairly decent effort from Gerard, and one that I find to be the most listenable disc the group has produced to date.

Also released by Musea Records (FGBG 4596.AR)


Tracklisting:
Caravan On The Moon / Only The Light / Infinity / Warning! Warning! / Blue World Part I-III

[Tracklisting for Musea edition: Warning! Warning! (4:00) / Only The Light (5:10) / Infinity (7:35) / Caravan On The Moon (11:14) / Blue World Parts I-III (14:09)]

Musicians:
Toshio Egawa - keyboards
Atsui Hasegawa - bass
Masuhiro Goto - drums, percussion, voice

Guests:
Alex Brunori - vocals (2, 3, 5)
Numero Ueno - voice (3)

Discography:
Gerard (1984)
Empty Lie, Empty Dream (1985)
Irony Of Fate (1990)
Save Knight By The Night (1990)
The Pendulum (1996)
Evidence of True Love (MCD) (1997)
Pandora's Box (1997)
Meridian (1998)
Live In Marseille (1999)
The Ruins Of A Glass Fortress (2001)
Sighs Of The Water (2002)
Power Of Infinity (2004)

also appearances on:
Keyboard Triangle (2000)
Keyboard Triangle 2/Live (2002)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin JP

Added: March 17th 2007
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Score:
Artist website: sound.jp/gerard/
Hits: 1270
Language: english

  

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