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Ars Nova (JAP) - The Goddess Of Darkness CD (album) cover


Ars Nova (JAP)


Symphonic Prog

3.70 | 80 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Listening Japanese Symphonic bands is always an adventure and a risk, even when most of the musicians are highly skilled and the compositions based in the power of the keyboards are absolutely attractive for the traditional fan of the genre, there's the problem of the language (Not in this case, being an instrumental album) and the complex eclecticism of their sound, being that for Japanese creativity is not making something radically new, but making better what already exists.

In this line, they usually take influences from everything that may enhance the musical experience, normally they choose between Italian Prog with AOR leanings of ELP oriented sound with extreme pomp.

"The Goddess of Darkness" by ARS NOVA is in my opinion the peak of the style, Keiko Kumagai is a well trained keyboardist, with great dexterity in the Moog. Mellotron and piano, she is clearly influenced by the powerful sound of bands like ELP or TRACE, but adds an extra doze of brilliance and pomp, seems to have horror to silent spaces,. because she covers each instant with music and sounds.

But the band wouldn't sound the same without the rhythm section formed by Kyoko Kanazawa (Bass) and Akiko Takahashi in the drums, with whom they work as a metronome and form a power trio capable of big things.

Wanted to review each and every track, but it would take me hours and mare space than the one available, because here are so many complex characteristics in a few minutes of music, so I will choose the three songs that impressed me more.

The album starts with the sober and impressive "Morgan - The Fate Awaits Inevitable", after a delicate intro, the band morphs into a some sort of tortured ELP where the massive use of Synths will attract any Symphonic fan, it's almost unbelievable to see the fragile Keiko Kumagai hitting the keys with such fury, the song is like an Emersonian nightmare with echoes of Bartok and Janacek, of course the strong drumming enhances the effect.

The structure is amazingly complex, the changes are so radical that nobody will expect what comes next, pure strength and musical skills.

If Morgan broke schemes, "Fury - The Daughter And The Simoom After The Simoom" is even harder, this time ARS NOVA sounds closer to a formal style like in the case of PAR LINDH PROJECT, again no time for rest, the band bombards us with sounds and elaborate music from start to end, never taking the foot of fuel, seems like this band only knows to give all they have without rest.

This time some Baroque passages take the listener for surprise, and to make it harder, Kumagai makes the Hammond shout in pain blending the tortured screams with clear piano sections, and as surprisingly as it started, the song ends.

"The Gorgons - Never Look at her eyes" is a bit softer, more fluid but this doesn't mean the song is free of drama and strength, trying to describe it is futile because it's so dark mysterious and elaborate with an amazing piano and orchestration, but at the same time contradictory, few moments of calm and again all the strength they are capable of , really versatile band with an out of this world keyboardist.

I use to avoid Japanese Prog because of it's excessive eclecticism, a mistake I will make no more, this album is essential, so any rating bellow 4 stars is irrational.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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