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Tracklist: 1. Ajimarikan (parts 1,2&3) 12:13 2. Melatomania 10:37 3. Pay Me His Ransom 1:43 4. Incidents In Damascus (parts 1,2&3) 9:42 5. Oriental Breakfast 2:44 6. Sekiwake 5:34 7. Saniwa 9:22 All compositions written, arranged, & produced by Hiroyuki Kitada. Line-up: Hiroyuki Kitada - electric guitar & guitar-synthesizer Takashi Kawasaki - electric guitar Hidetoshi Inoue - saxophone Keido Igarashi - trombone Yasunory Yoshida - electric bass Atsushi Mukai - drums & percussion Guest musicians: Hiroyuki Kanemoto - electric violin (on 1) Tetsuo Shimura - Japanese wind instrument (on 5) Recorded & mixed at "LM" studio, Osaka, Japan. Engineered & mastered (at "Studio Devi", Kobe) by Naoyoshi Matsuyama.
Group Therapy's debut album "Atlantis" (which was also released by "Mellow") was among those first few CDs that I received especially for my review back in the spring of 1999. I'd like now to remind you my view on the term Jazz-Fusion, which is one of the five main genres of Prog. Talking about Fusion I mean the true sense of this word: the confluence of different musical genres, sub-genres, etc. Of course, concerning 'our' genre, I understand Jazz-Fusion as the confluence of anything related to jazz music (Jazz-Rock, first of all) with various forms of progressive music (Progressive Rock, first of all, of course). You can regard the latter definition of the term of Jazz-Fusion as a brief description of the music of Group Therapy. Especially precise, it sounds with regard to the band's second album "Melatomania". (You can search on ProgressoR for other Group Therapy related materials by clicking
The Album. The final version of the complete "Melatomania" album is so amazingly different even from the five-track demo of it, not to mention the band's debut album "Atlantis", that I need just forget of that demo and delete the review on it as well. No Fusion (as it was on "Atlantis") nor even Jazz-Fusion (as it was on "Digitalive"), but Classic Art-Rock with the elements of Jazz-Fusion and Prog-Metal is what I hear on the band's second studio album. All of the album's basic structures and most of the arrangements are typical for Classic Art Rock, though only the chords of keyboards, that Hiroyuki Kitada elicits from his guitar synthesizer, have a clear symphonic sound. While all of the fast solos of both of the brass, no matter whether they were improvised or composed (which is most likely in my view), - are, on the whole, typical for Jazz-Fusion, most of the fast guitar solos (which are rather harsh and at the same time very masterful) squeal like "natural children" of Prog-Metal. Each of the compositions, that are featured the album, including both of the short tracks, contain a lot of the so called progressive ingredients such as: rich and diverse arrangements, changes of themes, tempos, and moods, tasteful and virtuosi solos, parts, and interplay between the varied soloing instruments, etc. Beginning with Incidents In Damascus, which is filled with Arabic flavours, all of the remaining tracks on the album also contain the Eastern melodic colours - at least in places. Sekiwake (track 6) is especially rich in specific Japanese motives.
Summary. First off, "Melatomania" is radically different from all of the previous works by Group Therapy. Despite the fact that all of the tracks of the band's new album are wonderful, I still regard Incidents In Damascus the best composition on the album. But the words of praise I used before just with regard to Damascus are now worthy of Group Therapy's second album as a whole. "Melatomania" is so astonishingly unique that can change the 'average' attitude to Jazz-Fusion rather radically. This is not only a real Prog-killer: this work is incredibly innovative from the first to the last note - even in the approach to implantation of the 5-tone Eastern parts to the traditional compositional structures. Masterpiece is the word. In addition, I'd like to say I won't wonder very much if with the next album Group Therapy become the band of Progressive's Fifth Element (which for the time being is the 'genre niche' for those performers whose music doesn't fit any of the first four genres of Prog).
VM. December 15, 2001
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