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Ningen-Isu Nijusseiki Sohsohkyoku album cover
3.05 | 2 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Yurei Ressha (5:39)
2. Mushi (6:33)
3. Koi Wa Sankaku-Mokuba No Ue De (4:37)
4. Tokai No Dohwa (7:05)
5. Akatsuki No Dantohdai (5:55)
6. Shohjo Jigoku (6:04)
7. Haru No Umi (7:48)
8. Fumin-Shoh Blues (5:44)
9. Sabbath Slash Sabbath (3:31)
10. Kuroi Taiyoh (6:09)

Total Time 59:16

Line-up / Musicians

- Shinji Wajima / guitars, vocals
- Kenichi Suzuki / bass, vocals
- Masuhiro Goto / drums, vocals

Releases information

Title translates as "Funeral for the 20th Century"

CD Meldac ‎- MECR-30116 (1999, Japan)
CD Meldac ‎- TKCA-10177 (2016, Japan)

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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NINGEN-ISU Nijusseiki Sohsohkyoku ratings distribution

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

NINGEN-ISU Nijusseiki Sohsohkyoku reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FragileKings
3 stars Requiem for the 20th Century. This was Ningen Isu's eighth album and it saw them back with the label Meldac after a three-album absence. The band released four albums with Meldac in the early nineties, but then their contract expired and a compilation album became their fifth and final album with Meldac. Guitarist Shinji Wajima and bassist Kenichi Suzuki not only had to find a new label but at the time they also had to find a new drummer. They spent the next three albums working things out on their own for the most part and were joined for two albums with a new drummer. But he quit as well. Finally, they acquired Masahiro Goto of Gerard and offered him a full-time position. At this point, Meldac rang up and asked Ningen Isu if the band would like to return.

Released in 1999, the album title was conceived of as a farewell to the century. Wajima was notorious for being behind on lyric writing but he had some extra help as Goto came up with two songs. Suzuki offered two songs as well. Nevertheless, during the recording sessions there were times when everyone would hang about the studio waiting for Wajima to show up.

The sound on this album was not an entirely new approach by Ningen Isu but there was a conscious effort to do something new. If you've heard their more recent albums with their full, rich metal guitar sound and drummer Nakajima's work, you'll likely be surprised to hear this old thing. The guitar sound is somewhere between a retro rock guitar sound and modern prog rock/alternative rock. While this means the band don't always come across as metal heavy, they do still hit hard and heavy on some tracks.

The song to have a music video made was the opening track, "Yuurei Ressha - Ghost Train". Here the guitar riff has a bit of a spy movie feel. Musically, it's up to Ningen Isu's standards; however, I haven't really latched on to this one. In fact, if I were to rank Ningen Isu's albums, this one would be at the lower end of the list. It's still a very good album but I am less enamored with it than I am most of their other albums.

Suzuki's first song is "Mushi - Bugs". It's off to a good pace and a fun rocker. Not as strong as "Imomushi - The Caterpillar" of the next album but nevertheless a fun track. Wajima's "Koi wa Sankaku Mokuba no Ue de - Love Is on a Wood Horse" keeps the lively and homorous feel but is more rock than hard rock and certainly not metal. I find it's one of those songs that sound better when you actually play it than when you just think about maybe listening to it.

Goto's "Tokai no Douwa - Urban Fairytale" at first makes Ningen Isu sound like some other Japanese rock band. Certainly his vocals stand out for being neither like Wajima's nor Suzuki's. The song does get some Ningen Isu styled treatment about halfway through to make it a little more interesting and familiar.

"Akatsuki no Dantou-dai - Guillotine at Dawn" begins with the album sound that is now no surprise. What is a surprise is how the song jumps into rapid pace partway through. Wajima's lead breaks are wild and fun.

"Shoujo Jigoku - Girl Hell" gives us more of a hard rock feel but Wajima seems to be straining for the notes in places. He was also known for writing songs a little too high for his vocal range. Not a song I usually think to spin unless I play the whole album.

The highlight of the album for me is track 7, "Haru no Umi - The Spring Sea". It begins with Ningen Isu's more recognized doom riff pounding before toning down for an eerie verse. Goto's drumming is frenetic to Suzuki's wails. The song takes a psychedelic turn with voices chanting hauntingly and guitar effects. Then it changes to speedy rock with some cool lead guitar effects (backwards guitar?) by Wajima.

"Fumin-shou Blues - Insomnia Blues" is kind of bluesy and has a nice groove. Goto's vocals are not that strong I feel. The music is a more enjoyable but still it sounds like a blues rock band. But wait! Here comes the thrash with Suzuki's "Sabbath Thrash Sabbath". It's a short blasting track with Suzuki snarling "Black Sabbath!" after the choruses. The lyrics are actually rather amusing. Each member of Sabbath's classic line up is mentioned: Ozzy Osbourne - bat songs, Tony Iommi - the enchanting guitar, Geezer Butler - the ghostly bass, Bill Ward - the drunken drums. The track concludes with an deliberate homage to "Iron Man".

"Kuro Taiyou - Black Sun" is the final track and should be where Ningen Isu show their doom metal side most strongly. The playing is heavy, though the guitar still doesn't have that metal feel. The drumming is great. The final tracks are usually quite long and with extra parts. But this song is only just over six minutes. At least it becomes more interesting in the final stretch of the song. It is one of the better songs on the album if you're looking for the band's heavy side.

Ningen Isu never make a bad album. There are no disasters or "What were they thinking?!" albums in their catalogue. These blokes have talent for writing and playing. However, they do have a couple of albums that are home to two or three great tunes and the rest as less outstanding. I like this one, but I don't love it. Mainly, it's not heavy enough to be metal but it's also not quite proggy enough to be real prog. It's like crossover prog gone hard rock and stoner rock. When I listen to it, I think it sounds great mostly. If it's your first Ningen Isu album, you're still likely to be impressed. But nearly all of their other albums excite me more.

Best tracks in my opinion: "Haru no Umi", "Sabbath Thrash Sabbath", "Kuroi Taiyou" and "Mushi".

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