IVAN ALEJANDRO MELGAR MOREY
REVIEW: PROG ARCHIVES 2015
Started this review of the latest GEKKO PROJECT album (courtesy of my good friend Peter Matuchniak) with a Peruvian saying in Spanish that means “Everything as in a pharmacy”, because this phrase describes perfectly what Reya of Titanis. This solid album has a bit of everything, from soft oneiric Prog to lush and aggressive keyboard passages in the vein of 70’s Symphonic (with a hint of Steve Hackett later albums), all blended with extreme care, but if this wasn’t enough they give us a concept that includes Sci Fi, violence, nostalgia and everything a Prog geek as me loves.
The album starts with Elegy, a short introduction with atmospheric guitar by the talented Peter Matuchniak and a digital narration that introduces the listener to Reya’s adventures, an asteroid miner who is left abandoned in Titan.
Snow White is opened by a keyboard intro that morphs rapidly into one of the best exhibits of Crossover Prog with mainstream elements that fuse with strong keyboard passages enhanced by the hypnotic voice of JoJo Razor. All followed by a short Radio Earth Interlude created to give coherence to the concept.
Grains of Sand is another oneiric track that presents us Reya’s dreams about life and death, with a nice keyboard performance by Vance Gloster and guitar by Peter that provides the necessary atmosphere, for a song about dreams, that is complemented by Jovian Belt and North of Titan in the same vein but this time with the addition of some mysterious elements and some frantic passages in the last song.
The jazzy Frienda marks a turning point in Reya of Titan, from this point the songs gain in strength and intensity, leaving the dreamy tunes behind, more my kind of music with excellent guitar solos that really blew my pre- conceptions about the band.
This is our Home Now is a short epic that starts almost as a VANGELIS track with his characteristic keyboard, but soon turns into a soft rock song but with nice guitar and keyboard sections that go in crescendo until the 3:20 mark, when the whole band explodes with an intensity I didn’t expected, in a fusion of different genres that include Psychedelic fugues with frenetic guitar solos by Peter Matuchniak, all supported with an impeccable rhythm section by Rick Meadows (Bass) and Alan Smith in the drums. The best track of the album with 10:30 minutes of pure Prog Rock.
24 Years of Solitude starts with a nice keyboard intro with distinctive oriental influences but then you can expect everything, but specially pleasant when Peter gives us some sort of electric guitar flamenco followed by psychedelic keyboard solos. Another song that every proghead will love.
After 25 years abandoned Reya and her crew receive a visit from an earth vessel in Queen of Titan, so she has a decision to make and again the band offers us an eclectic song with elements of different genres that will be delightful for any Prog Rock listener.
The album ends with the elaborate Escape from the Mines of Titan and the nostalgic Sing for Me, a great closer for a great album.
Now comes the hard part’How should I rate this album? Well, it’s evident for me that anything below 4 star would be unfair, because not only the music itself, but also the skills of the musicians, the perfect balance between songs and the overall concept, make of this album a great addition for any musical collection.
At some point I felt tempted to give them five stars, but that would be placing Reya of Titan as the magnum opus of GEKKO PROJECT, but I’m sure that this guys have much more to offer us and I’m convinced that they will release a perfect album in a short time, so will go with 4 stars that would be 4.5 if the system allowed it.