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Midas - Beyond The Clear Air CD (album) cover

BEYOND THE CLEAR AIR

Midas

 

Symphonic Prog

4.01 | 40 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

BrufordFreak
4 stars The debut album by a Japanese quartet who were obviously inspired and informed by GENESIS but moreso it would seem, by the short-lived progressive rock scene in Italia in the 1970s. (What was it about the late 1980s that caused several Japanese artists to lock into the Italian rock progressivo sound and styles?)

1. "Sham Noctiluca" (8:07) a rather long intro in which synths, cymbals and violin make their presences quite known. Once the song is finally settled into a rhythmic flow in the third minute the flaws in sound quality, instrumental simplicity, and singer's lack of melodic connection become too obvious. The singer can sing, and the violinist and bass player can definitely play, but the construction is lacking in sophistication and/or originality (or something). (12/15)

2. "The Slough Of Despond" (15:33) opening with a New Age Celtic weave, it could be something from a CLANNAD soundtrack album. After 90 seconds there is a musical shift into a faster, more rock passage with some fiery violin riffs but then there is an odd and unexpected shift for the arrival of the vocals. Nice bass and drum play. The thickly instrument-supported vocal melody line beginning in the fifth minute is quite reminiscent of some modern RPI bands like UNREAL CITY, INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE or LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO. This similarity holds true for the entirety of the rest of the song: this could easily have been lifted to create the La notte anche di giorno album that came out in 2015--27 years later! Impressive song. (27/30)

3. "Mortuary" (4:46) synth and violin go back and forth, sometimes doubling up on the melody line for the first movement and then an accordion joins in on the action in the second movement! Very impressive musicianship! The vocal enters well into the second minute, almost squeezing into the complex weave of instruments as if not wanting to disturb them! My favorite song on the album and the one deserving of the most praise. (9.25/10)

4. "Beyond The Clean Air" (18:45) slow Genesis/Tony Banks-like pseudo-classical intro which is joined by nice violin play before the music spreads out to allow space for Eigo Utoh's impassioned vocal. Except for the fine violin play, the music sounds like it comes right off of the BABYLON album: twists and tempo turns allowing for different displays of the leader's prowess as both vocalist and violinist. And the instrumental passage in the second half is way to drawn out and single-minded. (34/40)

Total time 47:11

I'm sorry but, despite the fine musicianship and artistry of Eigo Utoh and company, adequately complex song compositions, and fairly clean sound reproduction, the music on this album sounds too dated and too imitative of others that have come before. Those late 1980s keyboards are embarrassingly cheap and outdated! The bass playing is excellent, the drumming very good but so rotely Neo Prog.

B/four stars; a fine first album of Neo Prog for these accomplished musicians. Tune in to their next albums: they get even better!

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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