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Koenjihyakkei - 弌 (two) [Aka: Viva Koenji !] CD (album) cover





4.03 | 85 ratings

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Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Second album from this Japanese Zeuhl outfit. Unlike French Zeuhl, this band has strong metal, punk and avant-garde influences. If you are a fan of Tech/Extreme Prog Metal and you are interested in Zeuhl, I would suggest you ignore the French scene altogether and start here. That is if you don't mind crazy vocals sung in a made up language. The unnamed language Koenjihyakkei sing in is even weirder than Kobaian. The vocals(both male and female) can sometimes sound like a drunk opera singer at times or a child throwing a temper tantrum.

The guitar is very metal sounding most of the time. The rhythm section is very jazzy but can be punky too. The music generally hits you over the head, knocks you out, waits till you regain consciousness and then hits you over the head again. The keyboards are a mix of digital synths, piano and organ. The bass playing is not as dominant as in a lot of French Zeuhl, but is still important to the music overall. The drumming of Ruins/Koenji founder Tatsuya Yoshida is all over the place and is great to air drum to.

The album begins with "Grembo Zavia", which is a song that can give you whiplash just by listening to it. I like the parts where a couple of voices say "Grembo" and then a different couple of voices respond "kavala"...back and forth. Intense. Great chanted harmony vocals in places. Nice fast piano at one point. The song changes a lot in the first half. Over halfway it settles into a slower pace with operatic singing. The music gets noisy at times.

"Graddinoba Revoss" has some majestic sounding trumpet sounds from the synth. The harmony vocals and music play in unison most of the song. "Sllina Vezom"(say that 10 times fast!) has the music stopping dead at one point and you hear some random piano playing. Then the other instruments come back. The vocals right after sound like the members are half-asleep or intoxicated...or both. "Aramida Horva" has some great organ work. The majority of the song sounds like a cross between opera-metal and jazz-metal.

"Cembell Rotta" features tabla and sitar/tamboura. Nice Italian style vocal melodies done in harmony. Very metal guitar playing in this song. At one point an exotic wind instrument sound on the synth. "Brahggo" at various points has the music stopping and there is some nice chanting; almost like a lullaby. The music is basically opera-metal. Cool metal riffing near the end. "Rissenddo Rraimb" uses major keys for a change; more happy sounding than most of the album. Great organ playing in this song. Cool "ha...ha...ha..." vocals. Great bass playing in the middle. Good guitar solo too.

"Guoth Dahha" starts off as almost operatic doom metal. Goes into more jazz-rock territory later. I like how the sound changes at the end with the drums all in the left channel and the guitar all in the right channel. "Pamillazze" at little over a minute is the shortest song. Basically avant-jazz with operatic singing. Good idea to put it at the end of the album, otherwise it would ruin the flow of the whole thing.

The more popular and ever so slightly more accesible Angherr Shispa would make a better place to start for most people wanting to get into this band. But as I said, those who enjoy the more technical and extreme versions of metal, or those who enjoy the heavier side of fusion, would find much to like here. As long as they don't mind the vocals. The crazy, crazy vocals. For the more adventurous progger. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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