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Ars Nova (JAP) - Seventh Hell CD (album) cover

SEVENTH HELL

Ars Nova (JAP)

 

Symphonic Prog

3.38 | 22 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Nightfly
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Seventh Hell is the latest release from Japanese band Ars Nova, not to be mistaken for the Italian band of the same name. It's an album of highly proficient high tech symphonic prog. The music centres around the talented Keiko Kumagai's grandiose and powerful keyboard work. Guitarist Satoshi Handa comes from the Steve Vai school of playing, again a highly proficient player who can shred with the best of them but injects the occasional acoustic moment for colour. The rhythm section of drummer Hazime and bassist Shinko Panky Shibata lay a solid foundation but are able to follow the twists and turns of the complex musical structures with ease.

Ars Nova's brand of symphonic prog in the main is very bombastic, often veering into metal territory, constantly shifting with some inventive chord structures on the five compositions. It's mainly instrumental with only the occasional vocal or spoken voices to break the musical onslaught. However I could quite happily live without the Japanese operatics that appear on closing track Salvador Syndrome.

I found myself quite enjoying Seventh Hell, particularly the opening title track which captures them at their best but the music generally comes across as a little clinical and soulless. The constantly changing nature of the compositions whilst being technically impressive does sometimes frustrate a little as an enjoyable section appears and is gone, never to heard again. This in turn leaves them fairly unmemorable, even after half a dozen plays.

Whilst I doubt I'd want the entire Ars Nova back catalogue in my collection, Seventh Hell is an album I'll enjoy coming back to from time to time when I'm in the mood. Worth checking out if you like your prog on the in your face bombastic side.

Nightfly | 3/5 |

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