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Terutsugu Hirayama - Castle of Noi (Noi no Shiro) CD (album) cover

CASTLE OF NOI (NOI NO SHIRO)

Terutsugu Hirayama

 

Symphonic Prog

4.00 | 7 ratings

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Monsterbass74
4 stars An exciting, mostly instrumental, busy, 2 sided (in vinyl terms) concept album for technical keyboard fans. It's a very listenable, sung in Japanese, pompous, rolling and forceful prog... and a kitty cat choir!

NYAN!

Credited to Teru's Symphonia in the album notes (which is among the ONLY English words written) and recorded while he was still in Novela. Teru-san soon quit Novela (mabe in 85-86) and officially formed Teru's Symphonia. The idea was planted in 1983 but came to life soon after. His last album as Teru's Symphonia was in 1999. No one knows what he is doing now.

And so... 1983's Terutsugu Hirayama's Castle Of Noi is a fun listen. Defiantly and definitly a prog rocker. Great, complex arrangements remind me of Rush: it's drums and bass very prominent. A Genesis and Yes vibe is throughout and the smidgen of Styx's pomp... for lack of a better explanation adds to the timbre. I don't know too much of the other bands Signore Hirayama was in, but he has a history of being in a top Japanese Prog band, Novela, whose sound is not too far off. His old band spawned a Keyboard legend, Toshio Egawa, who formed the prog unit "Gerard"... an ELP wanna be band.

Pure dynamic and powerful Symphonic Prog complete with business, surprises, moments of rockin', spots of atmospheric reflection with all instruments being dominant. Some great female vocals (uh oh, misogynists beware) and not so great male vocals. Many atmospheric Casio/DX7 keys, piano, Moog style leads, aggressive Rickenbacker bass, punchy and compressed to hell rapid-fire drums, and tasteful guitar. It has enough to hold the interests of the snobbiest prog rocker save for the singing which is in Japanese...

...and the kitty cat mini-opera.

NYAN!

From what I gather, from the CD case's inserts/comic (I have the vinyl, too... yes, a really fat Italian-American has the vinyl), the story is about a little boy, Kuya (Koo-ya), who ventures to the Mystical World some how, inhabited by walking-talking kitty-cats (who might own the Kingdom of Noi, I suppose), elves, living trees and D&D things, through a dream (shown in the last illustrations) or through Jon Anderson's ear for all I know, to head to or save the Castle Of Noi, or whatever. After being briefed by the Kitty Cat King, Queen and the "Captain of Cat Solder" (?), or something, this poor 8 to 10 year old child, equipped with a spear, is newly recruited to fight (damn fascists) after getting drunk (!) with the other cats, and soon must battle or dethrone the monster, Teles, who might or might not have be defeated or befriended because he looks like a cute Muppet. Then our hero returns home safe and sound in bed after a tearful, heartfelt goodbye. This concludes our Anime soundtrack!

Who knows. I'm confused. I used up my comma quota for that one. The comic insert is very detailed and beautifully drawn. You can guess what's occurring. I don't know Japanese. The CD insert has all the lyrics, history and other essays included. The album has no essays.

I really enjoy the whole thing! Everyone should give this a go! The is serious musicianship on this album. It has alot to offer from a country whose music isn't heard much. It's not a difficult listen. I love the song Mystical World most. Yes (in the vocal backing as well) meets Hemispheres era Rush. Full time, half time, double time, odd time, keyboard brakes, crazy drums, Rickenbacker 4001... it's there.

It's not going to blow you away but there is not a dull moment.

Domo Agigato, Teru-san and Teru's Symphonia!

NYAN!

Monsterbass74 | 4/5 |

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