GTR – GTR (1986)

GTR_14.5 out of 5 Stars!

GTR (an abbreviation for “guitar,” for those who didn’t know) was another band that walked the delicate line between AOR/Hard Rock and Progressive Rock. With Steve Howe (Yes), Steve Hackett (Genesis), and Jonathan Mover (Marillion) in the band, there was bound to be some genre crossover. Although many listeners lamented the fact that the Progressive Rock element was somewhat lean overall—especially considering the history of the individual band members—I felt GTR provided a nice balance with the AOR style, thus creating a rather unique sound for itself.

Tracks such as the MTV hit “When the Heart Rules the Mind,” along with “Toe the Line,” “Jekyll and Hyde,” “Reach Out (Never Say No),” “The Hunter,” and (especially, the most Prog-oriented song) “Imagining,” displayed true creativity, certainly within the instrumentation and melody lines. And the instrumental tracks “Sketches in the Sun” (reminiscent of Steve Howe’s work with Yes) and “Hackett to Bits” (basically a reworking from some of Steve Hackett’s solo work) simply added Progressive Rock character to the track listing.

Therefore, I thought the band terrific, especially with the stellar Max Bacon (Nightwing/Bronz) on vocals, a singer with an instantly recognizable voice and an impressive range who sadly never got the recognition he so richly deserved.

The bottom line is that, to me, GTR was a promising outfit that fell apart way too soon for my liking and would likely appeal to fans of acts that also straddled the line between Prog-Rock and AOR—the group Asia instantly springs to mind—although GTR was more guitar-oriented than keyboard-oriented.

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