Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Ningen-Isu - Ningen-Isu Kessakusen CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.91 | 2 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Ningen-Isu is one of the most diversified bands I have ever listened to in my life. This great compilation presents twenty-eight tracks from the last two decades and around two hours and a half of music. That's why this record is an essential way to get in touch with the band and discover what they have created over all these years.

The band has many faces. The straighter and shorter tracks have many sudden changes in style that could remind of a band like System Of A Down or also The Offspring in the dirtier parts while some tracks also have an unpredictable crossover with a dominating slap bass, weird guitar chords and speed passages that make me think of the early years of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

On the other side, the record also has its calmer and rather progressive moments that honour the music of the seventies around bands such as Led Zeppelin and Golden Earring in particular but also Black Sabbath in some more doom orientated passages. Some slight folk influences and the vocals remind you that you are actually listening to a Japanese band. Ningen-Isu seems just to find the right mixture between exotic sounds and more Western influenced music.

The band has also a harsher side that is influenced by experimental thrash metal with spacey flows reminding me of Voivod that are combined with tight riffs, dominating bass guitar lines and many subtle changes that request a lot of time and multiple tries with this band.

The most amazing thing about the band is that everything sounds truly coherent even though there is such a high degree of diversity in the music. Ningen-Isu make me think about loads of different bands but in the end these are only comparisons and they always sound like themselves with heavy doom guitar riffs that regularly evolve towards faster passages, a dominating and deeply tuned bass play, soft but haunting vocals and many progressive changes of style.

Another strong point of this Japanese phenomenon is the fact that almost all tracks have a strong hit potential and are actually quite catchy even though the songs change a lot, are sung in Japanese and can sometimes crack epic lengths.

It's really hard to name some highlights among all these songs but I will try to. On the first disc, "羅生門" stands out for its mixture of old school doom with folk influences and unique guttural vocals that create a lot of inspiring images on my mind. "地獄" is a shorter track but contains as many different genre elements. The basis of this song is a straight traditional heavy metal track that is interrupted by a weird and disturbing middle part with discordant guitar sounds and wild laughter.

The second disc even pleases a little bit more to me than the first one. "幽霊列車" might please to any hard rock fan and is a huge tribute to the seventies with its dark progressive soul on one side and the highly addicting chorus on the other side. "相剋の家" has a completely different but as fascinating soul and is a very relaxed and spiritual track with a strong transcending flow in the charming chorus. I happen to ask myself if these Japanese are really heavily creative or if they were on drugs when they wrote this kind of song. "品川心中" is also a calmer song and has a doom vibe mixed with a catchy and almost commercial chorus that works surprisingly well and resumes what this band stands for. The music is complex and surprising but always catchy and easy to digest. The weird and straight forward attitude rather comes out in the closing highlight "狂ひ咲き" that sounds like a mixture of thrash metal and krautrock.

In the end, this compilation definitely offers something for anybody that likes rock and metal music. This band is very open-minded without losing its face. This release is a good way to get in touch with them and shows how many things Ningen-Isu experienced in their musical career that started more than twenty-five years ago in Aomori and they still stand tall after all these years. I even think that a regular studio record might sound more coherent but this compilation is still close to musical perfection which underlines my generous final rating. I will certainly try out to hear more from them and hope for an international release or even some concerts in the future as more and more Japanese bands such as Electric Eel Shock, Dir En Grey or X Japan got huge international airplay in the last years. Long live the diversified Japanese culture and long live Ningen-Isu.

Originally published on on April 29th of the year 2012.

kluseba | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this NINGEN-ISU review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives