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Veterans of the Japanese scene ZETTAIMU (the group has existed since 1983) present their fourth CD "Miroque" which, compared to its predecessor "What Can I Do" from four years ago, is definitely a step forward in terms of both composition and style. The Pink Floyd influence is out, the flavor of the group's native tunes is in, and although the music is still instantly accessible and is for the most part pastoral in character, the number of proto-progressive pieces this time around exceeds that of prog-tinged ones, only one of the disc's nine tracks, Jennifer, having a pronounced pop feeling. This is also the only song with English lyrics here, and I must say the band's turn to their native language is greatly to the benefit of their overall sound. Well, the two instrumental cuts, Red Moon Prolog and Red Moon Epilog, are not very strong compositionally either, each drawing atmospheric Ambient, but both are surprisingly effective: situated at beginning and end, they finely frame the album's core material. The highlights would be the last two songs, Icarus and Time Perplexes Time Oneself, both of which stand out for some frenetic, sophisticated, genuinely progressive maneuvers, at times with a good King Crimson vibe. While still hardly a person:-) of exalted rank (meaning from a classic progressive standpoint), Zettaimu is a group whose progress from release to release is obvious and is much appreciated.
VM: June 10, 2007
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