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Bi Kyo Ran - Kyobo Na Ongaku (A Violent Music) CD (album) cover


Bi Kyo Ran

Heavy Prog

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erik neuteboom
3 stars Bi Kyo Ran is one of the older Japanese progrock bands, their eponymous debut CD is from 1982. From tha tmoment they are often described as the Japanese answer to early King Crimson. Especially guitarist Kunio Suma sounds like the second coming of Robert Fripp! This CD is another tribute to King Crimson around the Red and Larks Tongues In Aspic-era: dynamic prog featuring fiery and biting electric guitar, a propulsive rhythm-section and soaring Mellotron waves. At some moments their music reminds me of Swedish band Anekdoten but less adventurous and compelling. In my opinion this is one of the best releases from Bi Kyo Ran, only the vocals are mediocre.
Report this review (#64776)
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The title of this record is exactly what you are going to listen inside: violence in music. It doesnı mean we are in front of a great metal record, but rather in front of a highly aggressive version of the more aggressive BI KYO RAN (or, if you prefer, the most aggressive side of the most aggressive KING CRIMSON). Kunio Suma offers here a great amount of distorted guitars, an incredible rhytm section (the drummer in this occasion is Yoshiyuki Shimizu, who offers great talent and lot of immagination) and Noriyuki Kamiya on keyboards helps to create the soundscaping counterpart. But never forget throughout the review: it´s a hard record, hard to listen, absolutely electrified, with no relax for the listener.

This record shoul be divided in two parts: songs 1 to 4 and 5 to 7. Why this separation? Because the work appeared in both parts is absolutely different, outsatnding the first, quite boring and repetitive the second.

"A violent city", the longest track, is a great song, which offers a great work in composition, with lots of change of rhytms with a clear intro, middle section and conclusion,sometimes rememberin a bit to "Starless". "Feet on the Ground" can be considered a great electric jam, with superb work on drumming; maybe a simple track, but very intense. "A violent Party" is a strange song, not only for the record, but for BI KYO RAN in itself; it reminds me a bit of the chamberistic works of ZAPPA, but in a crimsonic vein; very original. "A violent Fort" is the masterpiece of the record, an incredible composition which reminds me FRENCH TV in an aggressive way (never forget: it´s a very aggressive album!), where the keyboardist Noriyuki Kamiya gives his best performance in synths and mellotron.

IMHO, the album should finish here, in what I named the first part of the album. The rest of the album is a bit boring, with songs without remarcable differences, very similar one to each other. It should be considered that, given the high level of the first part, it is very difficult to reach and maintain the same level in the rest of the record.

In conclusion, although I consider that only the first four tracks are at the highest level, not only in composition, but also in performance and origiality. The second part, as I said before, doesn´t deserve great attention. Anyway, those four songs (more than half an hour of music) are absolutely great, and make worth of getting the record. 4 stars, but if the whole record had been at the same level, it would be 5 stars, no doubt about it!

Report this review (#117528)
Posted Saturday, April 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars There are portions of this record that are incredible, but overall this doesn't measure up to their first two studio albums. "A Violent Music" is an apt title for this recording as it is often very "noisy" and as victor77 says it's "hard to listen" to at times. Sometimes the drums are too upfront in the mix or they just don't sound good, and at times it's the distorted guitar that takes away the enjoyment of this record for me.

"A Violent City" hits the ground running with a lot of noise as guitar leads the way. Fortunately we get some scorching guitar melodies, and the guitar is especially good before 5 minutes in. Mellotron then floods the soundscape as xylophone, more mellotron and some blistering guitar follow. "Feet On the Ground" is difficult for me to enjoy as there is again a lot of noise.

"A Violent Party" is uptempo with fast paced vocals as the guitar grinds it out. Mellotron and drums follow before the melody from the beginning comes back but this time with xylophone. "A Violent Fort" has more mellotron and xylophone, but prior to that it's the guitar that impresses me the most 3 minutes in. "A Man Of Hand To Mouth" has processed vocals that I don't like, but I love the mellotron after 2 minutes. "Creep Funk" has some good bass and I especially like the guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. "A Violent Nightmare" features some good guitar as the band jams for a while.

A good record but disappointing for me after really enjoying their early work.

Report this review (#127296)
Posted Sunday, July 1, 2007 | Review Permalink

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