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Korekyojin - Tundra CD (album) cover





3.73 | 14 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Korekyojinn: Tundra [2011]

Rating: 6/10

Tundra is my first Korekyojinn album. Considering my previous experiences with Yoshida Tatsuya's music (mostly Koenjihyakkei), I was not expecting this album to sound anything like this. There's no super-charged avant-garde zeuhl anywhere here. Rather, the music presented here is instrumental heavy rock with strong math rock and technical metal influences. In fact, I detect very few avant-garde tendencies on this release. This doesn't mean that the music is simple, though, despite the rather simple band setup of guitar, bass, and drums. The song structures are incredibly complex, and the musicianship is as top-notch here as on anything Tatsuya is involved in; the instrumental interplay is absolutely seamless. However, I was still a bit disappointed by this release. Koenjihyakkei and Ruins aren't particularly known for their ability to create deep emotional passion within the listener, but their music is consistently engaging and almost undeniably interesting; in other words, it's easy to get involved in the music. The same cannot be said of this album. It's technically precise, but has very little soul. The indescribable insanity that I've grown to love from Koenji is sadly absent here. Charming zaniness and compelling composition both seem to have been sacrificed in favor of instrumental precision.

"Swan Dive" opens the album with a heavy riff and intense drumming. The song moves in many equally energetic directions, with an excellent bass solo being the highlight. This is generally one of the best tracks on the album. The title track is quite heavy, with unorthodox riffing and intense percussive blasts. I don't particularly enjoy this song. "Upstream" is lighter in tone; the guitar work actually reminds me of The Fall of Troy (!). The bass playing is quite impressive here. Acoustic guitar opens up "Vanishing Point" in an uncharacteristic manner. Heavy Frippian guitar work dominates this track. This is another one of the stronger songs here. The latter portion of "Watershed" is quite excellent, but the rest of the track isn't particularly special. "Xenon" begins with a much slower tempo than the rest of the album. The main riff is excellent, and the ambient section near the end is a nice change of pace. "Yellow Jacket" juxtaposes dissonant guitar patterns with a funky bass line. "Zebra Crossing" is a fun and short surf-rock track. The closing track "Abandoned" closes with an excellent guitar solo that ends the album on a positive note.

I don't want to say anything too negative about Tundra. The musicianship really is phenomenal; every band member is given a chance to shine in true "power trio" format. However, I can't consider this album excellent. Too much of it is inorganic. There's also a lack of variety, with many songs failing to stand out in a concrete manner. Although it's obvious that Yoshi and company were having a lot of fun while recording this, the listener doesn't get to share in that fun like they can with a Koenjihyakkei record. Regardless, Tatsyua die-hards will still eat it up, as will anyone with a passion for flawless musicianship and instrumental ferocity.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |


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