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Ghost Hypnotic Underworld album cover
3.95 | 22 ratings | 4 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hypnotic Underworld (23:56) :
- i. God Took a Picture of His Illness on This Ground (13:31)
- ii. Escaped and Lost Down in Medina (7:09)
- iii. Aramaic Barbarous Dawn (2:54)
- iv. Leave the World! (0:22)
2. Hazy Paradise (4:52)
3. Kiseichukan Nite (5:03)
4. Piper (6:41)
5. Ganagmanag (10:04)
6. Feed (7:06)
7. Holy High (6:09)
8. Dominoes / Celebration for the Gray Days (6:43)

Total Time 70:34

Line-up / Musicians

- Masaki Batoh / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Kazuo Ogino / piano, electronics
- Michio Kurihara / electric guitar
- Junzo Tateiwa / drums, percussion
- Takuyuki Moriya / bass
- Taishi Takizawa (also known as Giant) / theremin, flute, saxophone

Releases information

Released January 27, DC249 2004 2xlp/CD

Thanks to Black Velvet for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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GHOST Hypnotic Underworld ratings distribution

(22 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(59%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GHOST Hypnotic Underworld reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by chamberry
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After five years since their last release Ghost are back in action and aren't afraid to show it.

This is yet another stunning work by our Japanese friends Ghost, but now with a different line-up and with that comes a different sound as well. Their folk side is less visible in this album to make space for a more psychedelic and rocky sound, but there are still some unfinished business to attend to...

The first song on the album is divided in four different songs and they sound like the continuation of the song "Tune in, Turn on, Free Tibet" song from the album of the same name. The first part, "God Took a Picture of his Illness on this Ground", it's a more atmospheric jam that has free jazz and electronic dabbling for the 13 minutes of the song. The next part, "Escape and Lost Down in Medina" carries the same atmosphere as the previous part, but now with a rhythm section made up by the drums, electric guitar, bass and piano. This is still sounds like a jam, but a good one at that. The third part, "Aramaic Barbarous Dawn" is a more accessible part than the others and the first sign of vocals. This is clearly not the Ghost heard in Lama Rabi Rabi as this is a very rocky song with no folk to be found anywhere near. The song is short lived and lives you wanting for more, but there will be more of that on the rest of the album. The last part "Leave the World" is the closer of the first song. This song as a whole can make or break the album. If you don't pay too much attention then it'll sound boring or if you don't particularly like the weirdness of it then you definitely won't like it. The rest of the album goes in another more accessible direction.

This is Ghost at its most accessible sound yet. That's not saying they should out, but that they evolved from their previous sound and it's actually a good sign too since it works. An example of this is "Hazy Paradise" and "Holy High". The change of a drummer made things sound more rock than folk, the electric guitar is more present in this album and the different keys like harpsichord, mellotron, piano and others are another great thing about their new sound. There are still songs that reminds us of the old Ghost like the pasive "Kiseichukan Nite" with it's water drop effect, tabla and flute playing along with Batoh singing in his native language. There are other songs that have a nice mix of their folky side and their rockier side. A perfect example of that is the excellent "Piper" (streamable at this site). "Ganagmanag" is one of those Ghost folky jams fans of the band know and love. It's very chilled and it doesn't get hard or heavy at all. Songs like "Feed" shows that the guitar and piano are more on focus in this album than their previous ones. The album ends perfectly with a Syd Barrett cover, "Dominoes".

This is Ghost's most accessible album that I've heard and it's a good place to start too.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A tale of two albums? Don't judge it based on track 1! The long 4-part title track comprising the first chunk of the album is about 23 minutes of occasionally dissonant noise-scapes and droning play. To some this will be a deal breaker right off the bat, so it took some guts to open with that. If you like weird droning pieces with effects this will be right up your alley. If you hate that sort of thing just hit skip and the balance of the album moves to very different places indeed. Very rewarding places.

After this piece the album shifts to far more accessible space rock which utilizes vocals, rhythm section work, and plenty of odd little environmental sounds, instruments, embellishment. "Hazy Paradise" is perfectly named as that is where the melody and lush guitar work will bring you. "Kite" is a very nice piece with spoken word Japanese narration and bass. "Piper" is the most conventional track, be aware that if you listen to that streamed track here you are not getting a complete picture of this release. Some of the other songs are way more varied and adventurous. "Ganagmanag" reminds me of a long Third Ear Band jam that serves to bring some grounding to the wild palette of things going on here. "Feed" reminded me of pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd especially with the guitar work. "Holy High" has a spirited folksy feel to it with acoustic guitar and flute. Unlike so many albums today clocking in at over 70 minutes, Ghost actually makes use of the time to take you to several different landscapes. This is my first Ghost album, it won't be my last.

The fold-out artwork is spectacular and I'd hang it on my wall if not for the darn CD fold creases.

HU is a very interesting album for people with eclectic tastes dying for relief from what they play on a daily basis. It really grows on you. At first spin I couldn't wait to shut it off. Now I find it to be a definite keeper. If you are musically adventurous try this one out. 3.5 stars and climbing.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars With this album, the Japanese combo gets some major psychedelics in their second last (so far) offering. Fronted by an orange plastic spot colour sheet, the disc hides behind an impressive (as can be in those small formats) Japanese mythology artwork, the sextet has taken another dimension since Lamarabirabi, a few years back, but here the impressive epic title track is their strongest statement, yet. And there are other interesting items on the rest of the album, the closer in particular.

So the lengthy 5-movement title track is easily the highlight of the album, but at the same time it is a bit misleading as the slow ambient and gloomy (and beautiful) with much improvisation, is rather different than the seven tracks that follow it. After the 13- min+ opening movement God Has Taken (full of slow ambient atmospheres) and its 7-mins Medina, taking a slow Arabic feel under an oppressive dark beat that Anekdoten would easily call their own with a piano that Roger Trigaux would not disown Presently, but is close sonically to the first movement. The third (short) movement Barbarious Dawn is a solid change introducing some Porcupine Tree atmospheres with some choir-like layers and the even shorter Leave The World closes the debate abruptly.

After such a start, the next track can only disappoint, and they probably thought that placing a soppy ballad such as Hazy Paradise (loaded with mellotrons) would gets us to accept it, but it is not exactly a stinker either, it just pales in comparison to its neighbourhood. The Nippon-laden influenced Kiseichukan Nite gives cool folk note but the semi-whispering ghostly vocals are a bit of a "faux pas", IMHO. The flute intro of Ganagmanag leads an alternate loud/quiet/loud passage that makes this up-tempoed track a near-highlight of the album, with a searing guitar solo and a soaring flute in the background. But of course the nearly ten minute- long Feed is the second highlight of the album as its raga beat (tabla drums), deliciously light flute, and Eastern/Indian-sounding guitars give a post rock feel and the conventional drumming is reminiscent of Paatos's Huxflux. Holy High is another Porcupine - sounding track just like Dominoes is, while Celebrations For Gray Days closes the album in a dramatic, tense and grandiose manner.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars "Hypnotic Underworld" truly is a special album that will please all you Psychedelic fans out there. I like that there's some variety on here yet it doesn't drift from that Psychedelic sub-genre. We get mellotron on five tracks along with plenty of flute, electronics and sax. Very cool too that they cover a Syd Barrett tune along with an obscure EARTH & FIRE song.

"Hypnotic Underworld" is an interesting choice to start the album as it's a four piece suite worth around 24 minutes of music. Interesting because the majority of it is sparse and ambient bringing to mind Miles Davis but instead of trumpet it's the sax that is crying out on and off throughout Part 1. And while I thought of Miles right away this is much more Psychedelic and Haunting than Miles. Rumbling drums, sax and experimental sounds come and go during this 13 1/2 minute opening part. Part 2 is similar but we get a rhythm and also an Eastern vibe. Piano joins in later and it turns more intense as well. Part 3 opens with electronics and I like when it kicks in with a heavier sound and those MOODY BLUES-like backing vocals. Vocals follow as the backing vocals continue. Nice. Part 4 is less than a minute of an intense drum-led piece.

"Hazy Paradise" is a B-side of an EARTH & FIRE release and hazy is the word. It's like being stoned on a sunny day walking in a field. The vocals and sound are so uplifting. Love this song! Check out the guitar 2 minutes in and how good does this sound before 4 minutes with the mellotron, vocals, guitar and drums. Exhilarating! "Kiseichukan" features bass and intricate sounds including the sound of water as flute plays over top. The vocals are spoken. "Piper" has flute and little else in the ballad-like intro. There's a bit of Celtic vibe here with the tin flute. It kicks into gear a minute in with strummed guitar, organ, drum and more. It settles right down as the flute returns and vocals arrive, piano too. It kicks in again as contrasts continue. Love the aggressive guitar after 3 minutes as well as the mellotron a minute after that.

"Ganagmanag" is such a trippy tune that I can't help but think of the kings of trippy in AGITATION FREE. Love the sound here. The flute plays over top as they seem to just jam away. So good! Piano joins in before 2 1/2 minutes. The flute stops after 5 minutes changing the flavour here. Then the tempo picks up before 8 minutes. There's a UNIVERS ZERO vibe with that powerful and dark piano play. "Feed" is another excellent track that reminds me of FLOYD("Meddle") with the strummed guitar and psychedelic mood. Reserved vocals join in then it turns more powerful. I like this one a lot, especially when that opening theme is repeated each time. Mellotron late.

"Holy High" has tin flute and a Celtic flavour with plenty of energy. Vocals join in before a minute and it's either the flute or vocals leading the way but not both. Check out the mellotron late to end it as the flute and vocals have both stopped. "Dominoes/ Celebration For The Gray Days" is a Barrett cover from his second studio album. This is such a hazy tune and the vocals are relaxed like the song. A change though 3 1/2 minutes in as the soundscape starts to swirl as vocal melodies can be heard. Kind of cool actually. Deep pulsating sounds join in before 5 minutes followed by heavy drums as it continues to build. Great tune!

This was my favourite album to listen to last week, it just fills that psychedelic area of my brain otherwise known as the black hole. Fvourite songs include the opening suite along with "Hazy Paradise" and "Feed". Japan has had many great Psychedelic bands since the late sixties but GHOST might be the best of them all.

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