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Novela - Brain Of Balance CD (album) cover

BRAIN OF BALANCE

Novela

 

Symphonic Prog

1.25 | 5 ratings

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ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer
1 stars After very uneven "Harmagedon Story - Part 2" Novela should disappear because lack of ideas was obvious then. Unfortunately it didn't happen and they decided to record another two, horribly disgusting albums. "Brain Of Balance" is the first one and "The Words" the second one. Both present the same synth-pop crap with pitiful, plastic sounding keyboards, electronic percussion and bland melodies.

In fact these albums shouldn't be recorded under Novela moniker for me 'cos two leaders Toshio Egawa (keyboardist) and Hisakatsu Igarashi (vocalist) aren't presented there anymore, so the only original member who left in the band is Terutsugu Hirayama! I'd like to stress that I was mistaken by new vocalist's voice and I thought it's still Igarashi singing here. So I wrongly accused Igarashi for destroying the band during "Harmagedon Story - Part 2" review. I apologize to him now (I already changed my previous review with this incorrect information. I don't know how I've never noticed that Igarshi isn't credited on these two albums, so sorry guy...) 'cos I see that Hirayama is the person who should be blamed for changing one of the best Japanese progressive rock group into miserable synth-pop outfit. I hope he still has guilty nightmares after committing this crime!

"Brain of Balance" is absolutely bad album which has no musical connections with previous Novela's progressive/hard rock outputs and it's a torture to listen to it, but for you readers, I'll give it another spin to describe its songs one by one as good as I can.

1. "Brain of Balance" - welcome into the hell of synth-pop! New vocalist Miyamoto really sounds like Igarashi, but without all of these quasi-operatic screams and other funny elements (in fact around this time Igarshi also recorded synth-pop album called "Puzzle" which is still much better than this crap). Lifeless metronome-like drums, repetitive guitar chords and total onslaught of shoddy digital synths. In the end vocalist repeat the same few words again and again, forever... Skip this trash as fast as possible.

2. "Wandering" - this song starts not so bad with some string-synthesizers in the vain of Egawa's work however soon after this introduction boring synth-pop begin again. But it's still the best song on this album thanks to middle section where Youshi Okamoto plays some delightful acoustic piano passages. It would be great if he used such analog gear more often. Anyway after this short relief band comes back to generic synth-pop when this solo is over. You can easily forward to this piano solo and later skip the song.

3. "Eternal Love" - very soft ballad with acoustic piano (thank you Okamoto that you don't torture us with your tiny sounding synths again here!) and no drums (better no drums than this monotonous beat from previous tracks). Not interesting song but gives us some relax between these awful synth-pop abominations. However you can skip this one too.

4. "Alfa City" - horrible pop once again if dumb sounding refrain. Short synth/guitar solos in the middle which try to remind us that Novela was prog-rock outfit in the past. But metronome-drum beat shows us that they are clearly only synth-pop now. Skip.

5. "Nevermore" - another synth-pop song with nothing interesting at all. And you can whaling your guitar as much as you want Hirayama but we still know that's still just as pop song... Skip this crap.

6. "Dancin' the Moonlight Night" - what a catchy title! Unfortunately it has nothing to do with magnificent Genesis' staff 'cos it's just another ultra bad schlock pop. And how I hate middle section with these ear-crushing noises! (BTW Okamoto tries to recreate some old glory of Novela using some not-too-audible Hammond organ tones, nice try but he surely failed). Please skip.

7. "Graffiti Light" - oh no no, another synth-pop nightmare with this toy keyboard-like gear and disco-like "full happiness" approach. Ugly. Skip it.

8. "Paper Music" - the same like above but even worse. And this - God forbid - "Hello, hello we sing!" / "Goodbye, Goodbye my love" refrain, and this chirruping keyboard sounds... Help me! SKIP!

9. "After Your Call" - again quasi-Novela proves us that they can play essentially ugly pop if they really want to. All the minuses from previous songs are also here so no need to add anything. Just skip.

10. "Temptation of Time" - just like all the album this is another offensive (for ambitious listener) piece of pop trash with mechanical keyboards and boring drum beat. Just skip that one.

...and you just skipped everything? That's right, 'cos there's nothing interesting to listen to on "Brain of Balance". Only more than 40 minutes of elevator music. And believe me that I really can appreciate good pop like 80's Genesis or Yes output, and I even like ELP's "Love Beach" album quite much. But music of this reincarnation of Novela is not only pop but ear blasting synth-pop abomination for immature teens. For their own good Novela members should buy all CD copies & master tapes and throw them to the gutter, because it's the only place where they belong. And I consider myself as a fan of this band which was so inventive in the past to came up with such fantastic progressive rock albums like "La Songerie", "In The Night" or "Sanctuary". And I wouldn't be so angry on poor old chap Terutsugu Hirayama, if he just recorded this crap, took his "dirty money" and call it a day. But no, he decided to go on and (quasi)Novela recorded another album with very similar bunch of synth-pop duds called "The Words". Thank God this time it was the last studio recording released under Novela moniker and nobody "desecrated" this name anymore after that.

In general no progressive rock, no hard rock, no decent pop, only cheesy, disgusting synth-pop turkey. It's a pity that I can't give it less than 0,5 star. It deserves ZERO stars!

ozzy_tom | 1/5 |

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