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Fantasmagoria - Day And Night CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.96 | 17 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having taken their name from one of the most important albums by Curved Air, this Japanese progressive rock ensemble led by violinist Miki Fujimoto (a very talented lady with an extensive academic formation in her own country and in foreign prestigious schools) happens to be more closely related to a few Japanese names style-wise: the robust muscle of Outer Limits and the symphonic richness of first-album KBB are the significant points of references when it comes to understanding where this band comes from and where it's headed for. Miki is a female version of Akihisa Tsuboy ? she has and flaunts a perfect combination of skill and energy that makes sense with the melodic developments of each individual track. All in all, even if the violin is the undeniably dominant item in the full musical scheme, there is still room for the keyboard orchestrations and guitar riffs (and solos) to shine within the whole framework, so the resulting sound can evolve into typically symphonic bombast exhibitions in a consistent fashion. 'Crusader' opens up "Day And Night" with a delightful prelude of violin and harpsichord that eventually gives way to a 6/8 main body, mostly flooded with baroque moods. A nice jazzy twist briefly settles in to provide a humorous moment to the overall solemn melodic basis. 'Blue Rice' continues solidly on this symphonic vein and also includes occasional jazzy ornaments: in this case, the latter are more relevant in the whole context. 'Into The Sea' lets go initially of the extroverted rule, starting with a highlighted lyrical ambience; then, the center body gets intense in a very Crimsonian way, until the final section retakes the first motif to complete the cohesion. 'M.N.K.' is pure rocking fire on a red hot note: the guitar assumes a leading role for this special moment, sounding almost like Beck-meets-Petrucci. 'The Sparrow', on the other hand, is dominantly introverted and eerie, leaving the last minute for the elaboration of an unexpected climax full of rocking vibrations. The deceitfully entitled 'Anticlimax' happens to be a mid-tempo rocker, at first dominated by almost- Sabbathian moods, later on focused on some sort of Crimsonian prog-metal. Things are really lovely so far, and they will continue to be for what remains of it, as 'Omoplatta' and 'Travelling Space' come to show right away: pretty much akin to the spirit of the first two tracks, these ones bring back the recurrent dominance of powerful symphonic prog whose main features have been described earlier. 'Joanni', with its 7+ minute span, is the longest track in the album. It bears the typical melodic richness one comes to expect from virtually every prog rock album from any country and from any year, although in comparison it is less nurtured than in any of the preceding three pieces. Some Gentle Giant-style adornments are brought in for good effect; also featured is a soaring violin solo that roams above soft church organ layers. The last 10 minutes of "Day And Night" are successively occupied by 'Lights That Fall Down The Hill' and 'Epic': again, both pieces preserve the preferential symphonic approach, with the former bearing a sober lyricism and the latter heading for a more explicit power. Epic, indeed? Fantasmagoria is a dream come true for those prog lovers all over the world who always long for more expressions of musical excitement under the "rules" of symphonic prog.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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