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(33 min, Poseidon)
TRACK LIST: 1. Momijigari 17:18 2. Higansugimade 5:35 3. Rvokiranman 9:48 LINEUP: Daichi Takagi - guitars; keyboards; vocals Makiko Kusunoki - keyboards; vocals Takehiro Kojma - bass; samples Kenta Anasuma - drums; vocals
Prolusion. The Japanese quartet KINZOKUEBISU has existed since 2001, releasing their works via the Vital Music label, a division of Poseidon Records. "Momijigari" is a follow-up to their debut effort "Hakaotoko" (2003).
Analysis. Prior to writing this review I gave another listen to "Hakaotoko" to refresh my memory of it and make a proper conclusion about the difference between it and "Momijigari". The band's new album proclaims its makers' refusal from their previous attempts to move between Neo and Classic Progressive Rock in favor of the latter direction, which is a positive sign. On the other hand, "Momijigari" is cluttered up with derivative features in places, the band not only blending their original ideas with those immediately recognizable (invented certainly not by them), but also directly quoting their benefactors for some uncertain reason. Both suites, Momijigari and Rvokiranman, are especially eloquent in these matters. Although clearly in the vein of '70s vintage symphonic Art-Rock, the largely instrumental title track begins and unfolds not intermixing with blurry waters of influences. The bombastic, organ-laden arrangements alternate with quieter ones (coming together with high-pitched female vocals) and brief Classical-like interludes, featuring piano, acoustic guitar, the sounds of Mellotron and those imitating cello and flute. The middle sections find Kinzokuebisu wandering into King Crimson's territory, quite vividly reproducing the essence of the heavier tracks from "Starless & Bible Black". ELP-like anthemic symphonic maneuvers in a queer combination with a dark Scandinavian Art-Rock form the content of the rest of the composition, the central Moog solo being ripped from Keith Emerson. Despite all the mentioned drawbacks, this 17-minute epic leaves a pretty strong impression, because the music is filled with unexpected twists, possessing everything necessary to always keep the listener guessing of where the events would turn in the next moment. Rvokiranman is also a suite and is not devoid of symphonic patterns, either, although much of the music belongs to progressive Doom Metal. Once the band demonstrated their command of the very specific guitar technique first presented by King Crimson on their "Discipline" album, but the primary influence is unquestionably Black Sabbath. Besides, closer to the end, there is an episode, which is just an excerpt from one of the early Black Sabbath songs (Into the Void from "Master of Reality", as far as I can remember), note for note repeating it, down to the smallest nuances. The lead male vocals aren't strong enough to suit such an energetic music, but the matter is partly compensated by those additional, representing hysteric falsetto:-). Higansugimade is much in the same vein, but while the Black Sabbath-infected themes still can be found here, overall, this is the most original track on the recording.
Conclusion. This new album by Kinzokuebisu is definitely stronger than their debut and would've been a revelation for many had it not featured at least direct borrowings from the others' works. The band should strongly establish their identity not to become the object of ridicule in the future.
VM: January 2, 2006
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