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(58 min, Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Dreams In the Past 5:41 2. Mother to Mother 7:12 3. Pandora's Progeny 7:03 4. Stand by the Edge of Memories 4:19 5. Animal Life 6:01 6. Quiet Life 8:28 7. Divine Drops 7:39 8. Ever Forever 8:16 9. A Travel to Dream Agency 3:43 All tracks: by Hirayama. Produced by Teru's Symphonia. LINEUP: Terutsugu Hirayama - guitars; programming; backing vocals Megumi Tokuhisa - lead vocals; keyboards Shou Nakao - piano & synthesizers Hideaki Furui - drums Yasushi Inoue - bass
Prolusion. "Clockworked Earth" is the fourth release by Japanese band TERU'S SYMPHONIA. In all, there are six albums in their discography.
Analysis. Although released in 1993, the album has a distinctly '80s rock sound to it. There is no doubt where on the planet the group comes from, as the music has a distinctly Asian flavor, though it is definitely East meets West. The guitars and drums give the feeling of an '80s hair band, while the vocals sound mostly like Japanese pop. The recording style makes the band sound like they were playing in a large theater or warehouse. Although there are short passages that show flashes of promise, the compositions are pedestrian at best. The best composition on the album is Stand by the Edge of Memories, which is not marred by the mundane vocals. It seems the band is not sure how to incorporate vocals into progressive compositions and instead falls into a sort of standard verse-chorus construction for the other songs, which pull them back into a standard rock format, with small adventurous embellishments. Stand by the Edge of Memories is a quirky little opus with timpani and woodwind-like keyboards and a touch of Spanish guitar. The other standout is Quiet Life, which begins by sounding like the title fits, but then working into a pounding power pop anthem, with a long symphonic section. The two bonus tracks, 8 & 9, were recorded later and used on the tribute album "Novela Legend". Although more heavily flavored with a bit more of a Neo-Prog Symphonic styling, they are still marred by the vocals. Ever Forever would be the third most hopeful inclusion on the album, with longer stretches of keyboard and guitar, though there is a repeating passage in which the guitar tuning is slightly off pitch, creating a dissonance which I personally find unpleasant. Thankfully it is relatively brief compared with the overall length of the track.
Conclusion. If you are a fan of 80s power pop hair bands and like the idea of progressive rock flourishes added in, you may well enjoy this album. The 3 nuggets are enjoyable, but I prefer to not have to do this much mining to find the gold.
KW: Agst 11, 2005
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