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Sound Horizon - Roman CD (album) cover


Sound Horizon

Crossover Prog

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3 stars Japanese Progressive Rock is sort of obscure for me in a lot of ways. The only bands I know in that sort of range is Koenjihyakkei and Ruins. I am way more familiar with the Japanese Zuehl scene than any other sub genre of Prog with only a bit of a few exceptions such as OOIOO and Sigh, however I haven't really gotten in depth with those bands yet. It is something I definitely want to invest more time to, and I decided to search for some good Japanese Prog bands. So I found a list on RYM that showcased some amazing Japanese Prog bands. Le Silo, Flower Travellin' Band, Yuka & Chronoship, all bands I definitely will check out someday, however, one band caught my eye. There was an album cover of 5 people behind a colorful background, with cat ears. This cover, intrigued me to say the least. And then one thing lead to another, and now I am reviewing this album, Roman by Sound Horizon.

So after hearing the album I knew what the band was going for in terms of style. It was a more symphonic sound mixed with traditional rock elements, and it's a really great sound. The beat is on point a lot of the times and it also gives way to more slower and somber songs and interludes in the songs themselves. It has loud bombastic moments that intensifies what is going on in the album, and some mellow moments which gives a good blend of diversity. I especially love track 4, Norowareshi Hōseki. That beginning violin riff (is that even a thing?) is so good, plus the sound effects of what appears to be two kingdoms fighting is super good. I also love how it feels and sounds like a medieval fantasy anime, if that makes sense. Like I can envision this sort of music in a opening to animes like The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Black Clover, or Claymore, especially since this album released in the mid 2000s, and I just really dig it, it sounds fun and it sounds like the band was having fun making this.

However with all the praise I am giving, there should at least be some critique on this album, and that sometimes it feels like things aren't going much anywhere. A lot of times I expect some big thing that gets lead up in the song and it never really comes out. For example, track 7, Tenshi no Chōzō. It is a admittedly pretty piano piece, however I feel like it just never goes anywhere, since it doesn't have some big lead up or at least some lead up to a drum beat or a change in instrumentation or a new singer, and it kinda goes a bit too long being nearly 7 minutes, so I am just kinda looking at a watch waiting for the time to pass. While it could work in it's favor, I think this has a detriment on the album a bit to where I can say I love when the album hits hard and goes in a right direction, however I cannot say I like when it feels like it has no direction whatsoever.

So overall, I really liked this album. It was really cool, had a nice sound and it just felt fun, however I cannot say I fully love this album, due to at times it feels like they are kinda hitting a few walls and do not know where to go. I'll definitely check more of their albums out, and this feels like a good introductory to their sound. So yeah, good album, good experience, I definitely recommend checking it.

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Posted Sunday, February 6, 2022 | Review Permalink

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