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NINGEN SHIKKAKU

Ningen-Isu

Heavy Prog


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Ningen-Isu Ningen Shikkaku album cover
3.50 | 4 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tetsugohshi Mokushiroku (2:30)
2. Hari No Yama (Breadfan)(3:32)
3. Ayakashi No Tuzumi (5:18)
4. Ringo No Namida (4:03)
5. Sai No Kawara (5:20)
6. Tengoku Ni Musubu Koi (4:17)
7. Akuma No Temari-Uta (4:09)
8. Ningen Shikkaku (7:00)
9. Heavy Metal No Gyakushu (3:00)
10. Arnheim No Izumi (3:15)
11. Sakura No Mori No Mankai No Shita (6:26)

Total Time 48:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Shinji Wajima / guitars, vocals (2,5,6,8,9)
- Kenichi Suzuki / bass, vocals (3-5,7,8,11)
- Noriyoshi Kamidate / drums, backing vocals (9)

Releases information

Title translates as "No Longer Human"
Tracks 4 & 11 are re-recordings from songs of their previous album.

CD Tri-m ‎- MECR-28004 (1990, Japan)
CD Meldac ‎- TKCA-10173 (2016, Japan)

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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NINGEN-ISU Ningen Shikkaku ratings distribution


3.50
(4 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (50%)
50%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

NINGEN-ISU Ningen Shikkaku reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
3 stars (From PA blog "Japanese Progressive Rock presented by DamoX")

After weird and psychedelic air with sounds like an animal crying or being squeezed blowin' and twistin' around us, steady and heavy riffs by guitars and drums should come here.

A Japanese heavy rock outfit NINGEN-ISU was formed in 1987 by Shinji Wajima (guitar, voices) and Ken'ichi Suzuki (bass, voices). In 1989 they appeared as a bizarre project on a TV program introducing new bands and could knock all judges and audience out with their terrific technique. As a basis shoving heavy and progressive rock style influenced by KING CRIMSON, BLACK SABBATH or BUDGIE, they have released 14 studio albums since 1990. Their tune and lyrics are characterized by Shinji's grounding in Japanese literature or Buddhism and Ken'ichi's curiosity about doom or spiritism - the eerie and esoteric flavour gains them popularity among maniacs.

The heavy riffs can remind us the sound wall by King Crimson, Uriah Heep or Rush - pioneers in heavy prog scene. From the first track 'Tetsugoshi No Mokushiroku (The Apocalypse of Prison)' we can feel only two of their faces. Hey folks, a bizarre show with serious plays now gets started! 'Hari No Yama (A heap of needles)' is - you bet - just Budgie's Breadfan with their Japanese impressive arrangement. We can realize their respect for Budgie with this speedy and aggressive ensemble. Their lyrics are very funny (Gonna fall down from the heap of needles, with my body packed with massive fire and blood!) but plays and sounds are as serious and terrific as Budgie, in my opinion as a Japanese. ;-) For them writing lyrics should be really enjoyable we can feel. Next 'Ayakashi No Tsuzumi (Ayakashi playin' drums)' is exactly weird song - Ayakashi is an imaginary monster in the sea, that is appeared vividly by them. Listen and feel - like drumming in another world, heavy drum sounds with heavy bass ones and heavier voices go through our brain with weirdness of this monster. Ken'ichi's cult make this eerie song - tasted by his eerie voices and thick sounds. 'Ringo No Namida (Tears of an apple)' is an arrangement of a Japanese children's song, isn't it? Basically it's a song that an apple born on a countryside will go to a city by train for sale. The children's song is pleasant and expectable one but this version is very plaintive and tragic. I guess they should notify us the sadness of prostitutes... 'Sai No Kawara' - how shall I translate - may be from a Japanese tragic old tale. An orphan would try to find his/her parents with piling lots of stones up but the heap of stones should collapse down - this song is the repetition of his/her act. How sad! One of the most rhythmic and powerful love-rock song is 'Tengoku Ni Musubu Koi (Blooming love in the Heaven)'. Shinji's naive voices are very comfortable and make us lovely, however the lyrics are very severe - yea, "SEXUAL LOVE WITH A DEAD LOVER". Their drivin' the stream of this song is as if Robert Fripp drive...at least for me. 'Akuma No Temariuta (A devil with a ball in his hand)' is again a grotesque shot - 'bout murdered and entombed beautiful girls - the story is heavier and uglier than the sounds. But believe me, instead of the story, they can play so literarily and seriously with their heavy progressive style, and with their native language - Tsugaru-Japanese. And the highlight in this album - 'Ningen-shikkaku (Disqualified human life)' - is the most progressive, avantgarde, dramatic, and self-motivated song I wanna say. This is the literary one with full of Shinji's policy. Like a movie, there are lots of scenes and stages in this song. Life is changeable like autumn weather...? All of their faces this song has. On the contrary, the next 'Heavy-metal No Gyakushu (Revenge of heavy-metal)' should be, for us, an enjoyable song. 'Arnheim No Izumi (Spring in Arnheim)' is produced with Shinji's graceful three-minute guitar solo. The heavy and rumbling bomb, 'Sakura No Mori No Mankai No Sh'ta (Under full of cherry blossoms)', is very suitable for the last song of this work, in spite of this beautiful title. Exploded riffs can let us realize they should love heavy rock, death metal, and progressive rock. They can keep the eerie and solemn atmosphere around them till the last!

Wonderful eeeerriiee tales...recommended by eerie DamoXt7942.

Review by FragileKings
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I probably wouldn't have watched the video had it not been for the name, Ningen Isu. I knew the name to be the title of a short story by the famous Japanese mystery and suspense writer, Edogawa Ranpo. The story of a furniture maker who wanted to be part of his creation and feel what it was like to be a chair. The Human Chair. I had opened up the YouTube app to watch a video, and at the top of my suggested video feed was a band called Ningen Isu. I watched the video and was floored. What a sound! Three members and with all the guts of Black Sabbath and Budgie plus a host of other influences throughout the early years of heavy metal delivered with a modern metal sound, and still daring enough to release as a single from their 21st album a song over eight minutes long with a middle section that goes off from the main song and explores that early seventies heavy rock/heavy prog territory that I love. I ordered two CDs. I ordered two more. I ordered eight more. Man, these guys are good!

"Ningen Shikkaku" is the band's debut release from 1990. There was an ep the year before, but it's out of print and hard to find and basically features songs that are on this album but not sounding as good, based on one review I read. The song title is from a book by Osamu Dazai and is translated as "No Longer Human" but more directly translated means "Human Disqualification" as in "disqualified as a human being". The band's love of early seventies heavy rock is undeniable. Think "Behind the Wall of Sleep", "Fairies Wear Boots" and "Children of the Grave" by Black Sabbath or "Guts", "Crash Course in Brain Surgery" and "Breadfan" by Budgie and you'll immediately understand where this band is coming from. In fact, the song "Hari no Yama" ("Needle Mountain" or translated on YouTube as "Spiny Mountain in Hell") is a Japanese lyric version of "Breadfan" with a different story but all the speed and bombast of the original that inspired a Metallica cover.

The album opens with an instrumental that is half guitar effects and half a grooving heavy riff before the Spiny Mountain in Hell song charges in. "Ringo no Namida" (Tears of the Apple - The band is from Japan's Aomori Prefecture, which is a major producer of apples) has a really grooving riff and beat. The title track takes us partway through the song before going of into a sparse guitar effects adventure backed with a steady pulsing bass, and then gradually builds until it erupts into a kind of part two with a different riff before finally returning to the original song. "Sakura no Mori no Mankai no Shita" (Beneath the Full Bloom of the Cherry Blossom Forest" is another mini- epic with a song within a song. It's also the title of their next album. "Arnheim no Izumi" (The Spring of Arnheim) is the one major sidestep on the album as it's a simple clean guitar instrumental that sounds like someone left a present on the doorstep of Atom Heart Mother Pink Floyd but they missed it.

Without describing each of the other tracks in detail, the album is not only early seventies heavy rock in style but the sound is very closely duplicated, an homage to the period. Whether short ("Heavy Metal no Gyakushu", 3:00) or longer than five minutes, most of the songs include unexpected turns in the music, suddenly changing tempo and charging ahead or abruptly changing riffs or slowing down.

The vocal style is also worth mentioning. The two vocalists of Wajima and Suzuki don't sing in a usual Japanese rock or heavy metal way (think Loudness or Onmyo-Za). Their style is more like Japanese theater or like two story tellers singing the stories. They are from a part of Japan with a very distinctive dialect and they see no need to conform to what's popular. It gives Ningen Isu's sound something very Japanese and fits in perfectly with the British heavy rock playing style.

Honestly, I was surprised to find Ningen Isu on ProgArchives. Though they are described as a stoner metal/doom metal/hard rock/progressive rock band, I expected to find them on MetalMusicArchives, where they are not listed at this time, and only found them here while looking for album rankings on Google. I hesitate to call bands like Black Sabbath and Budgie true prog because I feel a lot of early seventies bands just fell in with the progressive attitude toward writing because that was the style of the time, but many moved on as hard rock took over in the mid- seventies. Ningen Isu fit right into that 1969-1973/4 period where heavy rock and progressive rock co-existed and often crossed over between one another.

One point worthy of mentioning here though is that this album is not indicative of Ningen Isu's overall sound. This album really sounds like a lost gem from 1971. Their later albums feature a more modern sound. Check out songs like "Heartless Scat" or "Namahage" on YouTube to get an idea of their 2010's sound. Still, heavy, doomy, and man do they know how to play this kind of music!

I'd give it five stars as a rock album, but as a prog rock album I have to tone down the rating a little and I'll give it four. Also, I've heard it said that some of the later albums include more of a prog rock attitude so I'll keep my five stars for when I get to those.

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