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Naikaku Shell album cover
4.15 | 51 ratings | 6 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Crisis 051209 (15:18)
2. Resentiment (8:55)
3. I Found a Deep Dark Hole and I Am Going to Jump In! (7:01)
4. Lethe (9:01)
5. Shell (16:28)
6. Tautrogy (3:46)

Total Time 60:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Mitsuo Muraoka / electric & acoustic guitars, trumpet
- Kazumi Suzuki / flute
- Satoshi Kobayashi / bass
- Norimitsu Endo / drums, percussion

- Kei Fushimi / guitar
- Daishi Takagi / Minimoog, Yamaha CS30, Mellotron samples, Fx

Releases information

Artwork: Satoshi Kobayashi

CD Poseidon Records ‎- PRF-033 (2006, Japan)

Thanks to Ricochet for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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NAIKAKU Shell ratings distribution

(51 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

NAIKAKU Shell reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Heavy prog indeed. Their debut "Wheel Of Fortune" really impressed me especially the guitar playing. On "Shell" it's the bass and drum combo that really dominates the sound here. Sure we still get lots of flute and our fair share of guitar, but the rhythm section is killer on this one.

"Crisis 051209" opens with the sound of drums building as flute comes in quickly. Heaviness with guitar a minute in. Nice. A calm with flute 2 minutes in followed by riffs as it gets heavy again. I should mention that they divide this song into 5 sections called 1- Exit 2- Crisis 3- Exit 4- Crisis 5- Exit. So yes the calm and heavy parts trade off throughout. I like the fat bass 4 minutes in followed by chaos and dissonance. And the ripping guitar after 9 1/2 minutes. Oh my ! "Ressentiment" opens with drums and bass as guitar arrives quickly and tastefully. Not for long though as heavy riffs follow. Flute comes and goes. Scorching guitar 1 1/2 minutes in. Heavier riffs before 3 minutes. The tempo then slows down as bass and drums provide a lot of bottom end. The tempo picks back up before 7 minutes and it sounds great ! "I Found A Deep Dark Hole And I Am Going To Jump In !" seems like a long song title but it's only a small part of the title that goes on for 12 lines ! It's like they tell a short story with this song title. Drums, bass and trumpet lead the way early. Flute arrives. Prominant bass 2 1/2 minutes in as guitar comes in and plays over top. Drums are pounding as the guitar starts to light it up big time. It sounds like synths are firing off. Trumpet is back 6 1/2 minutes in.

"Lethe" sounds great to begin with as the guitar, bass, flute and drums all shine. The drums and bass are relentless. The flute and guitar come and go. The tempo picks up 3 1/2 minutes in and it sounds amazing ! Heavy soundscape 7 1/2 minutes in. "Shell" for me is clearly the best track. The first time I heard the intro I got so excited as only a prog-head could. The style of the flute playing along with the mellotron samples brought SINKADUS immediately to mind. The guitar comes in throwing it's weight around. Flute takes over a minute in. More mellotron 2 1/2 minutes in. Lots of flute follows until we get some atmospheric guitar around 5 minutes. It's heavy 6 minutes in. How incredible is this ? Percussion 8 minutes in. Blistering guitar after 9 minutes. Then 15 minutes in we get that SINKADUS flavour. Yes ! "Tautrogy" is the shortest song at under 4 minutes. Drums open and a full sound follows quickly with flute of course. Guitar, synths and mellotron are all part of this closing track.

A solid 4 star album, and really you can't go wrong with either of their first two recordings.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Words in the Spanish language cannot really describe the sort of esthetical excitement that I felt when I got acquainted with Naikaku's repertoire: I suppose that in the English language - not my native one - the explaining task will even be more unattainable. I'll give it a try now that I'm reviewing this Japanese band's sophomore album "Shell". The first hour is occupied by 'Crisis 051209' (a revamped version of a track from the debut album), which gets started with an exotic frenzy of fusionesque influences led by the drum kit and the flute. One the whole ensemble settles in, things get very intense and varied, including: a reasonable disturbing ad libitum section; a Crimson-meets-Don Caballero exercise on neurotic ambiences; a frontally prog-metal portion; an emulation of 80s KC (how does Kobayashi make his bass guitar sound like a Chapman Stick?). All this ends with a splendid coda that sounds as if Atila Kollar had hired Don Caballero as his support band. Mind blowing, neck breaking, jaw dropping, all this and more must describe the display of progressive inventiveness orchestrated in the opener. 'Ressentiment' is another solid example of contemporary prog's most robust facet. The main motif mixes the complex power of prog metal and Arabesque fusion textures with stunning fluidity, with the rhythm section paving its way into the cadences of jazz-rock. When we get to the 3 minute mark, the interlude arrives as some sort of tribute to the infamous mid section of 'Starless', although this time the lead guitarist is more Holdsworthian than Frippian. The flute solo with distorted vibrato is almost extraterrestrial! Track 3 bears the challenging full title 'I Found a Deep Dark Hole and I Am Going to Jump In! There Will Be No Proof of My Existence in This Dark Abyss. No-one Will Find Me Here! I Have to Compensate for Being Born by the Redemption of My Life into Death. I Will Become a Commendable Entity and Stop All the Senseless Butchery and Useless Cruelty I Have Inflicted onto Other Souls. Right from the Start We Only Live in the Now. But If We Even Stop to Think of the Here and Now, It Has Already Become the Past in a Twinkling of a Moment. In Turn, the Future is Pushing Against the Now and This Whole Perception as We Know It Soon Becomes the Past. To Try and Verify the Moment of Life is an Impossible Task. When Trying to Prove Life, It Becomes a Past Existence in Which There Are Too Many Memories. All in All, in the End Life and Death Are Exactly the Same. So I Am Going to Follow My Dream and Dive into My Chosen Fate!' - it mat sound like a Kierkegaard-meets-Kafka thing, but actually the track is very playful, even nave, with the flute and trumpet dueling in a half-cabaret, half-circus mood. Eventually, things will end up growing a psychedelic vein, but the track remains playful to the end. The 9-minute long 'Lethe' finds Naikaku digging deeper into their jazz-fusion interests: the kind of sound achieved here can be described as a lost Kenso piece performed by a supergroup of Djam Karet and Don Caballero members. The pieces' general ambience focuses on the melodic motifs, but there is a special moment in which anguish rules the track's development and creates a sordidly demented climax somewhere in the middle: this trick really works as a variation provider. The 16 minute namesake track is pure progressive delight in a partially retro manner. The opening motif (that will also reappear in the coda) is a languid Crimsonian serenade that wouldn't have been out of place in an album by Anglagard, Landberk or early Anekdoten - mesmeric in a real Scandinavian way. By now, the typical alternation of math-rock, prog metal and fusion shouldn't surprise the listener, but the fact remains that the successive musical ideas work perfectly in the continuum. The album's final track is also the shortest: 'Tautrogy' is a hybrid of space-rock and heavy rock, bearing a celebratory spirit. I wish 'Shell' had been the closure because of its eerie climax, but this one is also dynamic enough as to bring a spectacular ending to this prog masterpiece for the new millennium. The people of Naikaku have really honored their inspirational bands with this spectacular album, generating something refreshing as it is sonically powerful.
Review by Sinusoid
4 stars Don't ask me how I came across Naikaku; I think I was bored one day on PA looking for new bands to discover, and this particular group seemed to catch my eye. I never expected to obtain an album from them as they aren't that well known of a group even in a prog context. But it ended up in my library somehow, and I couldn't be more thankful.

Naikaku seems to avoid a big pitfall that I think many modern prog bands end up in. I have been critical of bands like The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard for trying to cover too many different prog sounds on one album with stylistic jumps sounding awkward. Naikaku appears to have just one sound they wanted to execute, and it's executed very well. But to describe the sound is a nightmare in and of itself; what is it exactly, is it metal, is it prog, is it hard rock? Who knows. And I don't care, as long as it sounds good and honest.

No vocals here, so just feel the flute lines float over your head. Then, get ready for the guitars and bass to just hit you right in the gut immediately after. The riffs usually are allowed enough of a grace period to develop (possibly except ''Crisis'' which seems to be the only song that suffers from sudden jumps) which means that changes in riff don't sound awkward. Most of the instrumentation is heavy in typical rock band instruments with flute commonly piercing into the foreground. There exists keyboards sporadically (notably in the title track, which sounds too suspect of King Crimson) and a few trumpet lines, but that's as about exotic as it gets.

This is high on my recommendation list if you don't mind heavy music. The lines are complex written in all sorts of unusual metres that progsters just drool themselves over. I certainly feel SHELL is one of the best prog rock albums in recent years.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Shell is yet another instrumental album I’m reviewing here lately, but what an album this is! The recording is dominated by drum and bass tandem with flute and guitar coming and going as the music evolves. Even in it’s heaviest moments the rhythm sections stands out pretty well. What ... (read more)

Report this review (#200666) | Posted by therek | Monday, January 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Naikaku knows what good art is. It appears easy, and is simply interesting for the audience. But to the artist, it is complicated and hard to produce. Naikaku nails it with this one. It is a head-banger album. It is a jazz album. Maybe even a straight-up rock album. But one thing is certain: the a ... (read more)

Report this review (#141239) | Posted by Hirgwath | Sunday, September 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What a discovery this band from the land of the rising sun are! Despite being slightly put off at the prospect of a flute as lead instrument, and that the other prime mover in the band is the bass player, the sound they come up with is simply awesome. Ably augmented by a guest guitarist who gets ... (read more)

Report this review (#127097) | Posted by Starless | Friday, June 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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