The search for robust features for face recognition in uncontrolled environments is an important topic of research. In particular, there is a high interest in Gabor-based features which have invariance properties to simple geometrical transformations. In this paper, we first reinterpret Gabor filtering as a frequency decomposition into bands, and analyze the influence of each band separately for face recognition. Then, a new face verification scheme is proposed, combining the strengths of Gabor filtering with Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM) modelling. Finally, this new system is evaluated on the BANCA and MOBIO databases with respect to well known face recognition algorithms. The proposed system demonstrates up to 52% relative improvement in verification error rate compared to a standard GMM approach, and outperforms the state-of-the-art Local Gabor Binary Pattern Histogram Sequence (LGBPHS) technique for several face verification protocols on two different databases.