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Novela - Harmagedon Story Part II CD (album) cover

HARMAGEDON STORY PART II

Novela

 

Symphonic Prog

2.45 | 5 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Something just went wrong when they were recording their 6th album. To be honest lots of things went wrong on "Harmagedon Story - Part2"! Previous volume of this 2 albums concept was already slightly weak compared with Novela's classic recordings but this one is just a huge misstep. Almost all of the songs are very short (only one reaches 6th minute and it's one of the worst tracks here!) and they are too often pop influenced, also Egawa's keyboard gear usually sounds like some digital, 80s plastic rubbish here (it seems only one composition feature any Hammond!). It's obvious that keyboardist had his bags already packed and his mind was occupied by thinking about his new project - Gerard. Another important factor of "Harmagedon Story - Part2" is that lots of tracks here are instrumentals. Of course it's not a bad thing per se (I love Egawa's instrumentals!) but for me it's obvious evident that keyboard player and vocalist started to have completely different vision of the band and they didn't want to co-operate anymore like they did in the past. So they "split" album for pop/teen's hard rock vocal-oriented songs (quite often sung by this anonymous female vocalist also who was also present in previous album) and rather unimaginative instrumental prog-rock compositions. History showed us that Hisakatsu Igarashi left the band after recording session for this album and started his solo synth-pop career (later, in 90s he also joined neo-prog band Millplat to record one album), while Toshio Egawa left Novela to create symphonic rock group Gerard, where he presented his full keyboards abilities.

And now it's time to look closely into album's tracks:

1. "Tabibito Sinwa" - album starts with instrumental track. First minute is a dull electronic music which sound like some Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze tiny synth noodling. After that it's a bit better 'cos drummer begin to play some beat (which probably was intended to sound "monumental") and Egawa use some not so bad string-synthesizer. In the end electronic boredom comes back. In general poor background music.

2. "Kioku no Kanatani" - it's a decent pop-rock song with Igarashi on vocal duties. It's quite catchy and features fine rhythmic guitar tones. Probably it's one of only few songs you'll remember after the album will be finished, but it's still only so-so composition. The best part is synth and guitar solo in the middle which reminds us how good instrumentalists are Egawa & Hirayama.

3. "Ankoku No Majyo" - it's surely the most "prog" track on "Harmagedon Story - Part2". Does it mean the best one? Unfortunately not at all. I think that these guys just thought that they include so many generic pop songs on this album so they also have to show that after all they are progressive rock outfit. And they showed...that they no longer can compose decent instrumental. Seems that Novela tried to sound so much ambitious here that after all "Ankoku No Majyo" sounds like annoying, avantgarde crap without any melodies, memorable soloing and sense at all. You'd feel happy when this quasi-composition will be over...

4. "Kokoro Suma[&*!#]e" - ...unfortunately your peace will be in interrupted by this awfully sweet pop dud. I don't know who can be a direct audience for an album where after ultra-avantgarde strangeness listener is exposed on dull pop number?! Complete in-consistence! Anyway it's piano, bad sounding synth & "dreamy" guitar led "sweet" pop song which is sung by female vocalist (even no drums here). Nothing is interesting for prog-rock fan here. Better skip.

5. "Senshi no rarabai" - this one starts with some plastic, digital synthesizer tones but after awhile turns into the best song of this album. In fact it's only fast teenage audience targeted hard rocker with some short but nice metallic guitar solo, but I really like its catchy rhythm and background Hammond runs (the last occasion to listen to organ on Novela's album!). Not a classic but would easily fit on previous Novela's albums.

6. "Shichiji no Kane" - this one is surely the best instrumental included on "Harmagedon Story - Part2". It's completely dominated by various Egawa's keyboards and sounds very symphonic. My favorite is middle section with pompous horn/trumpet-like synthesizer.

7. "Utaka no Yume" - Oh man, this is just horribly disgusting one! I've never heart such awful song on genuine progressive rock album. It's just 2:35 minutes long sheer horror of over-sweet, dull, lackluster Japanese pop with female vocalist which try to sound as 10 years old kid. Avoid as a plague and program your CD player/mp3 player to skip it or you'll think that this crap came from some other band and you just had playback error... It's really so bad.

8. "Unmei no kumari" - after abomination of "Utaka no Yume" comes better track called "Unmei no kumari". It's slow but kinda atmospheric symphonic prog rock instrumental piece which begin with nice flute (probably synth-made) and acoustic guitar and later turns into short but full blown pompous section with "fanfare" keyboards and some piano.

9. "Seishin Ryokou" - until 1:40 minute it sounds like perfect progressive rock track with march like drum beat and pompous piano/synth ride. Unfortunately middle part is occupied by awful synth-pop vocal part with extremely annoying, repetitive percussion. Did they replaced Ryuichi Nishida for electronic drums machine here or what? Thankfully last minute of the song brings back this phenomenal symphonic motif from the beginning.

10. "Neguriai Again" - it's another pop song but unlikely "Kokoro Suma[&*!#]e" & vomit-inducting "Utaka no Yume" we can listen to some drums work here. This one is driven by duo of Igarashi's and female vocalist's voices and some naive, basic piano lines. For sure along with "Mugen-Densetsu" from "Harmagedon Story - Part 1", this is another example how progressive rock album should never be finished with.

"Harmagedon Story - Part2" is a rather weak album but about 50% of it is still prog-rock. So it's a big plus, compared with 2 awful records which were released after this one. It's just a mixed bag of some rather good prog tunes, very boring prog tunes, generic pop songs and accessible hard rock tracks. Nothing really stands out here and we can find much better material on Novela's albums from 1980-1984 period. That's why I recommend it only to Novela's and Toshio Egawa's collectors, but bear in mind that's the worst album in which this fantastic keyboardist was ever involved. Also if you're very tolerant keyboard-led prog-rock lover who doesn't care that he has to pick up gems hidden between crap, try this one and maybe you'll like it more than I do. Besides, even the worst recording featuring magician Egawa can't be totally shoddy, am I right?

I wanted to give 2 stars for this album, but I can add another 0,5 point after all. So 2,5 stars from me.

ozzy_tom | 2/5 |

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