Gerard - Meridian ©1998 Made In Japan Records
1. The Acts Of The Apostles
2. Orpheus (new Version)
3. Meridian
4. Prelude (instrumental Version)
5. Evidence Of True Love
6. Revenge (re-mixed Version)
7. Melting Time (French Version)

Japan's power trio Gerard plays extremely over-the-top bombastic keyboard-driven progressive rock. They could be described as six ounces of ELP, one ounce of UK, half an ounce of King Crimson, one ounce of classic Yngwie Malmsteen Rising Force, two ounces of whatever it is that Derek Sherinian is trying to achieve on his Planet X albums, and half a pound of really, really good cocaine.

The keyboardist is clearly the centerpiece here, and even plays funny-sounding violin parts on his keyboard ("Orpheus"). There are complex time signatures galore, furious bass guitar, and (thankfully) a paucity of vocals that often sound like John Wetton on speed. The keyboard sounds are straight out of the electronic seventies, with an emphasis on the Moog, electric piano and string pads. Some of the pieces ("Prelude") even suggest a happier version of instrumental doom metallists Pazuzu and some of Bal Sagoth's less ponderous moments.

Surprisingly, this is great fun to listen to. Whatever melodies are present don't exactly stick in the listener's head, but the album flows really well. Hardcore 70s prog fans would undoubtedly gobble this up, but this album also has the potential to appeal to fans of modern keyboard-driven symphonic metal.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 09/2001

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