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Social Tension - It Reminds Me of MacBethia CD (album) cover


Social Tension

Symphonic Prog

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erik neuteboom
4 stars "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, ladies and gentlemen, .. Social Tension!". Altough SOCIAL TENSION sounds like an 'ELP fan's wet dream', they do not deserve to be described as just an ELP clone. Keyboard player Nobuo 'Kodomo' Endoh is a virtuosic but he has a more varied an refined sound than Keith EMERSON, using synthesizers, organ, piano, harpsichord, strings, classical orchestrations and ... Mellotron (Keith EMERSON refuses to play this instrument, it would cause unemployment for classical musicians he used to say). This CD is a compilation from the two albums "MacBethia" and "It reminds Me Of Those Days", fortunately the record company has deleted the lacklustre tracks from the second CD for this compilation. The result is a very impressive tribute to the wonderful "Pictures../Trilogy" years: seven spectacular and dynamic keyboard-driven symphonic rock compositions with bombastic keyboard play and a powerful, very propulsive rhythm-section. Highlights are the two 'epic' title tracks with lots of breaks, changing of atmospheres and amazing keyboards solos. Breathtaking!
Report this review (#27853)
Posted Monday, November 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Edited 10/4/2005!

I can only say one thing to this record: cheesy and sounding absolutely like sob stuff. It's nothing else than a very cheap emulation of Emerson keyboard sound IMHO. Really awful, I could not stand more than 3 songs of this CD. I would just like to advice everybody looking for good progressive keyboard music to keep hands off this one. Save your money for something reasonable. I'm giving one star extra just to be fair since it might just be not my taste.

Report this review (#27854)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes, the album by Social Tension is indeed a cheesy one, but hey I love cheesy stuff.The band is a japanese band that is highly influenced by ELP, Trace, Ars Nova, Refugee, UK and so on. Although they are little cheesier than the names mentioned above, they certainly don't play prog pop stuff or something awful like that, Social Tension is KEYBOARD DRIVEN SYMPHONIC PROGRESSIVE ROCK that we all like. In addition, the information written above isn't really accurate since the album offers enjoyable japanese vocals. I'll sum this review by saying that this is a fine prog album, and you can surely consider getting it.
Report this review (#44708)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you really really really hate cheesy music then you can skip this review and this band. If you don't really mind heavy influences of other artists then this might be interesting for you.

This is a compilation that contains the whole debut album of Social Tension and the two best tracks of their second (and last) album. It's a good thing they left out most of the second album as it was pretty weak.

Anyway, onto the music. This sounds quite a lot like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but with use of the mellotron and it feels like there are even more keyboards here. This isn't a blatant copy of ELP though, this band really has something to offer too. The music is keyboard driven and has a great atmosphere and many tempo changes. The keyboard solos as expected on any symphonic prog album are present and great too.

The vocals are in Japanese, but don't let those stop you from listening to this. Most of the music is instrumental and the Japanese vocals really don't bother at all, they're well sung and pretty enjoyable.

Really give this a shot if you can, especially if you're really into symphonic prog.

Report this review (#112507)
Posted Saturday, February 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Japanese have a tendency to look cheesy sometimes, especially when they begin to emulate certain aspects of Western cultu culture. I sense that some critics get so envious of how well they do things that everything the Japanese touch must be brushed with the "cheesy" moniker.

Social Tension was neither cheesy nor pretentious. They were just friggin' good! They were a progressive rock trio that sounded a lot like ELP and UK, with a keyboard player that could easily give the revered Keith Emerson a run for his money, and a powerful rhythm section that was close to perfect. Their music was mostly instrumental, though there were some vocals done well in Japanese.

With this 71-minute "best of" album, you get all of "MacBethia" (1989) and the best parts of "It Reminds Me of Those Days" (1990). And lest you fear that you're going to just get a lot of ELP wannabe wanking here, be it known that this keyboardist also uses a fair amount of mellotron - an instrument that Emerson shunned.

I'm loving nearly ALL of my ventures into Japanese progressive rock and jazz-fusion. Social Tension is yet another worthy addition to the catalog.

Report this review (#2439417)
Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2020 | Review Permalink

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