Tokyo's heaviest power-prog trio-plus-one is back with a new burner of a disc! This time, Toshio, Atsushi and Masuhiro snagged ex-Leviathan (the '80s Italian group) frontman Alex Brunori to add his voice to a few numbers. Sadly, Power Of Infinity also marks drummer Masuhiro Goto's last recording with Gerard — he defected to Arsnova in time for Biogenesis Project (both bands share the same manager in Shingo "Numero" Ueno).
On the plus side, this is probably the most diverse-sounding set of comps to come from Toshio's hands; could Mr. Egawa have been delving into the works of some of his counterparts in his spare time? Either way, a little healthy competition never hurts anyone, and the final versions have the T-man utilizing more analog emulations and adding more nonrandom elements to the mix for additional colorings to further distance the band from the Gerard of old. Power Of Infinity begins its cycle in uniformly grand fashion with a roofburning instrumental (one of the band's best ever) titled "Caravan On The Moon." The compositions are Egawa's, but Goto and bassist Atsushi Hasegawa instantly make their presence known. The first five minutes or so serves as the overture, with the trio as usual resurrecting a ferocity that outdoes vintage ELP — understandable, considering the players' Herculean chops and origins in Japan's metal scene. The gargantuan synthetic brass stabs and strings give way to a mellower section that rebuilds the intensity with an excellent 'Tron melody. The final ninety-second coda is the best: a square wave lead with pitch bends galore and astral grooving by the rhythm section.
For the Tell Me Something I Don't Already Know File: while Gerard's strength lies in the instrumentals (Live At Marseilles proves this), Toshio still likes to have songs on his albums; this carries over from Gerard's first several '80s albums as a quintet with a fulltime vocalist and guitarist. Whether Toshio or Alex penned the lyrics (which are better than usual) to "Only The Light," "Infinity," and the vocal portion of the "Blue World" suite is not specified. What is certain is that Alex's vocals would've been better executed in his native Italian than in English. Still, this isn't the major detractor it could have been, though the initial verses of "Only The Light" offer no real surprises and would fit comfortably on the last two albums. The tune picks up in the second half with Toshio cutting between softer and harsher analog/digital leads for back-to-back solos. "Infinity" sounds alternately robotic and Zeuhl-ish — even a few wordless vocal passages (chants) are included. Atsushi's bass notes fly forth with the power and speed of razor-sharp flechettes. Around the three-minute mark, Brunori enters, singing a melody not dissimilar to one of Robin Suchy's on The Pendulum. This is brief, and the second round of acrobatics begins, Masuhiro doing his best Vander impression. This could easily have been another superb instrumental with some minor editing.
"Warning! Warning!" is the Grade-A, stamped Guaranteed kind of heavy symph stuff that this group has been doing for years. Oh, sans vocals, this one is. Finally, we experience the beauty of the "Blue World" in three continuous parts (Brunori sings only in the second, shortest part). "Blue World" is more akin to a movement than anything previously heard by Gerard; the first eight minutes and final four minute outro are respectively grandiose and sublime, the latter's final murky moments painting a wonderful contrast to the ballsy hi-octane music Egawa & Co. are generally known for.
The short version: after the flawed Ruins Of A Glass Fortress in 2000, the trio bounced back in '02 with Sighs Of The Water, and this latest outing continues that upswing. Third time's the charm, guys! The band's discography is extensive, and a new website has been erected — just click below.
1. Caravan On The Moon (11:13)
2. Only The Light (5:09)
3. Infinity (7:35)
4. Warning! Warning! (3:59)
5. Blue World Part I–III (13:58)
Total time – 42:11