REVIEW: PROG ARCHIVES 2012
Author: Mark Hughes
Some weeks ago my good friend PETER MATUCHNIAK sent me a mail informing me about two new albums and asking for my new address, I was a bit distracted and said “OK I will check them”, thinking he would send me two new releases of EVOLVE IV (a Prog Related band that didn’t impressed me too much), but to my surprise when the postman left the albums I found that one of them was from a new band called GEKKO PROJECT, so I placed the album Electric Forest in the cd player and was positively surprised. With a formation that includes no EVOLVE IV member except Peter himself, the sound is completely different, with much more strength and excellent organ passages, combining melodic Prog with very pompous and string tracks.
The album starts with Particle Dance and it’s excellent guitar intro by Matuchniak, as the song goes on, the keyboards by Vance Gloster take the lead with lush keyboards reminiscent of Clive Nolan, always supported by the guitar and rhythm section. A really good opener that keeps the listener at the edge of the seat.
Black Hole is more a Blues Rock track with some BEATLES influence and a bit of funk, very pleasant but also with a clearly Psyche oriented organ and heavy guitar, not too fond on the vocals but a good change after the pompous opener and before Cognitive Dissonance, in which the previous styles morphs into some sort of Psyche oriented Fusion with and outstanding bass work by Rick Meadows.
In London Vibe the band goes deeper into Fusion territory with an impressive guitar and great drums performance by Alan Smith. At this point of the album GEKKO PROJECT has captivated me because of their versatility and radical changes, all worked with good taste and skills.
Avatar Jones begins as a soft ballad, but around the first minute this changes dramatically when the keyboards take the lead along with some nice vocals, after this point you can expect anything, from YES influenced passages to dramatic and mysterious segments, lots of Psychedelic organ and even some ASIA reminiscent moments, in other words, the dramatic changes a Prog fan expects to listen.
Erdinger is a strange song because despite being powerful and dramatic reminds me of CAMEL specially Moonmadness with a hint of PINK FLOYD, as if it was planned to introduce the listener to the trippy Martian Sunrise, a captivating musical piece.
The album continues with State of Siege, another powerful track with excellent guitar and keys interplay, more oriented towards Rock than to Prog, something that won’t bother the Progressive Rock listener because of the exceptional quality of the music, but still the best is yet to come, since October Skies has just everything I can expect from a new band, and that’s originality, pay special attention to the brilliant bass sections and the superb drumming in the PINK FLOYD evocative closing section.
The album ends with the short but interesting Particle Dance (Coda) the perfect closer for a very strong album that deserves no less than 4 solid stars, because rarely a new band is so solid and at the same time versatile. I hope that Peter doesn’t give priority to his other projects, because this new band has a lot to offer.