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Social Tension - MacBethia CD (album) cover


Social Tension


Symphonic Prog

4.14 | 35 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Social Tension is a Japanese keyboard-dominated trio led by Nobuo "Kodomo" Endoh. If you're into ELP, this is a must have little-known masterpiece. Social Tension's music shows a strong ELP influence with a nice blend of old and new keyboards, including the Hammond organ, Moog, Mellotron, piano, harpsichord, and digital synths. Although the ELP influence is quite obvious, I noticed other styles such as Trespass-era Genesis, East European symph prog, and Italian symph prog.

Macbethia starts off with the almost 13-minute long "Go On My Way." Of all the songs off this album, this one shows the strongest ELP influences. The keyboard playing is fantastic (as good as anything Emerson ever did), the bass is far superior to Lake's playing, and the drummer, though not a Palmer clone, does a great job. The vocals are in Japanese, but the song is primarily an instrumental. This song is amazing with some strong Hammond playing. I note some influences from Trespass-era Genesis and the overall feel is more symphonic than ELP's material. I attribute that to the wonderful, lush soundscapes.

The next three songs are shorter pieces. "Bolero" sounds a lot like East European symph prog. "Inner Vision" has some ELP influences, but has some odd sections with eerie key solos and a sort of spacey feel. Great song. "Wish for the Time" is piano-based, slightly similar to a mix of ELP and Italian symph prog. The piano solo section reminds me of Supertramp.

The final piece is the three-part title track. I can only guess that this was inspired by Shakespeare's Macbeth, but beyond that and my lack of knowledge of Macbeth, plus my inability to read Japanese, I can't suggest anything else. The first part, "Overture," has some amazing keyboard work, and is a good mixing of ELP and East European symph prog influences. The second part, "On the Lake Side," consists of nothing but strange, but beautiful keyboard soundscapes. It kind of has a slight Eloy feel to it. Finally, the third part, also called Macbethia, again is a beautiful work with strong ELP influences and a touch of East European symph prog.

I really enjoyed this. I thought it was better than anything ELP had ever done. It contains no filler, each song a wonderful experience. It is one the best symph prog keyboard performances I have ever heard. I would not call Social Tension a clone, but the influences are quite obvious. Easily five stars and highly recommended, especially to ELP fans and symph prog lovers.

progaeopteryx | 5/5 |


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