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Ars Nova (JAP) - The Book Of The Dead [Aka: Reu Nu Pert Em Hru] CD (album) cover


Ars Nova (JAP)


Symphonic Prog

3.46 | 55 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Japanese trio (at least on this album) Ars Nova present a highly bombastic and aggressive keyboard/organ driven instrumental prog assault, very influenced by both Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Rick Wakeman, but with enough original ideas of their own. Fortunately, they don't do schmaltzy whimsical moments like Mr Wakeman sometimes does, and they certainly don't stoop to goofball `comedy; tracks like ELP often did! A total plus on both counts! Occasional spots remind me a little bit of Goblin too.

There is a strong classical approach to the arrangements, with constant gothic and Egyptian elements thrown in to compliment the concept of the album. Much of the sound is dominated by thick Hammond organ, with occasional Mellotron to add to the atmosphere - it's used to tremendous effect in the finale of my favourite track `Ani's Heart' (which is almost up there with the most evocative Goblin tracks), while I very much dig Ken Ishita's grumbling bass about 2 minutes in! Lots of moments like this throughout the album, all enhanced greatly by Akiko Takahasho's stomping drums - really gets your foot tapping and head nodding in approval!

Leading lady Keiko Kumagai is a total virtuoso. Well worth checking out one of the band's live DVD's or online footage of them to see her in action. A real talent, backed up superbly by additional top-notch players on this album.

However, on `Book Of The Dead' the band rarely seem to calm down, most of the music being quite heavy and oppressive, fast and crashing. The brief interlude tracks throughout the album are some of my favourite, offering more sedate and reflective passages that I would have loved to see more of throughout. Some of the better musical themes don't hang around long enough, while other parts are very undeveloped and a little forgettable. Again, a few more quieter sections would have stopped much of the album from constantly sounding the same. It can also have quite a cold sound to it, making it difficult to get through the entire album in one sitting. However, I much prefer this line-up of the band, before they added additional players and vocals.

Still, the band are all very talented, and this album really would make a perfectly decent addition to any progressive music collection. Really deserves a 3 and a half star rating! Not a classic, but plenty to enjoy from a highly regarded prog band.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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