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GTR: GTR

Hackett and Howe unleash the 80s guitar synths.

This could have been truly excellent: a supergroup team-up featuring Steve Howe (ex-Yes/Asia) and Steve Hackett (ex-Genesis). Yet the result didn’t display enough of the kind of muso chops to truly get prog fans salivating or rock out enough to really live up to the band’s name.

The whole point of this exercise from 1986 was to bring the guitar centre stage, yet the copious lashings of hideous guitar synth and Geoff Downes’ superslick reverb-soaked production give it the kind of clinical AOR sheen that has not aged well at all.

True, GTR does contain monster US hit When The Heart Rules The Mind, but as it’s the opener the rest of the album is a bit of an anti-climax amplified by the underwhelming safeness of the songs. It’s all flash like an episode of Miami Vice and at the end you can’t quite recall what happened.

The second disc of live material, from July 1986, does bump up the value of this reissue as does the inclusion of some rare single mixes, but it’s hard not to regard GTR more as a one-off 80s rock curio with a rather painful production job than an outright classic.

Whether it’s magazines, books or online, Essi has been writing about rock ’n’ metal for around thirty years. He has been reviews editor for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, rock reviews editor for lads mag Front and worked for Kerrang!. He has also written the Rough Guide to Heavy Metal and contributed to the Rough Guide to Rock and Rough Guide Book of Playlists, and the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (13th edition). Most fun interview? Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – for The Pick of Destiny movie book. An avid record/CD/tape collector, he’s amassed more music than he could ever possibly listen to, which annoys his wife no end.