Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

Various Genres

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Kings' Boards album cover
3.50 | 4 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

Write a review
Studio Album, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Drama Composition (5:50)
2. The Maze of May (8:48)
3. Corde Spirale (8:33)
4. Ladies of Green & Blue (8:44)
5. Hungary (6:49)

Line-up / Musicians

Track 1:

Motoi Sakuraba (Deja-Vu) / keyboards
Ken Ishita (Deja-Vu) / bass
Takeo Shimoda (White Fang) / drums

Track 2:

Shigetomo Hashimoto (Ashule) / keyboards
Masahiko Ohta (Social Tension) / bass
Yutaka Ishizaki (Seilane) / drums

Track 3:

Naomi Miura (Rosalia) / keyboards
Masahiko Ohta (Social Tension) / bass
Suguru Iwasaki (Social Tension) / drums
Numero Ueno / vocals
Kuniaki Suzuki (White Fang) / vocals
Manabu Kokado (White Fang) / vocals

Track 4:

Kokado Manabu (White Fang) / keyboards
Masahiko Ohta (Social Tension) / bass
Suguru Iwasaki (Social Tension) / drums

Track 5:

Nobuo Endo (Social Tension) / keyboards
Minoru Tanaka / bass
Yutaka Ishizaki (Seilane) / drums

Releases information

Made in Japan

Thanks to ozzy_tom for the addition
Edit this entry




(4 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%)


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars As the title suggests, "King's Boards" is a keyboard oriented compilation. What it is not is a full on display of the virtuosity of the implicated players. It seems more contrived to provide exposure for several of Japan's prominent players around the end of the 1990s, a sort of prog lite introduction to their name and, by extension, that of their band. Even though Japan's scene was healthier than most during this low period, the producers must have felt that tapping into the new age zeitgeist of the time was the ticket. As a result, while this is a beautiful album with plenty of progressive aspects, it might not appeal to the more hard core fans of the symphonic sub genre.

A case in point is the sumptuous "Drama Composition", spotlighted by MOTOI SAKURABA's spirited tinkling style. I know this will turn away many, but the main theme reminds me of what YANNI was doing around the time, before he morphed into fodder for desperate midwestern housewives. That all changes irrevocably when he wields what sounds like ancient analog synths in a melodious assault, one of the disk's true highlights.

The remaining contributions are all good to excellent as well, with something for everyone who can live without guitars other than bass. Keyboard secessionists unite! Speaking of which, the players are amply supported by rhythm section in all aspects, with the bass often featuring prominently. Masahiko Ohta from SOCIAL TENSION deserves most of the credit, especially in "The Maze of May" by Shigetomo Hashimoto, which is not unlike some of the work of PATRICK O'HEARN, RUBAJA AND HERNANDEZ, and PETER BARDENS from that period, but more ambitious. "Corde Spirale" is the most accomplished piece, a cross between bubbling takes on the masters and eerie soundtrack that somehow gets its points across. The closing two pieces seem oddly related, and are the most mellow on the disk, tuneful and pleasant without being terribly challenging.

To fashion a cohesive themed collection of different artists tied together only by instrument and country of origin is a tall order. Normally one would have to average the ratings of individual offerings and allow for anticipated disconnects. Somehow, the tracks here all compliment each other better than on many releases by individual bands, which justifies putting "King's Boards" up on a pedestal if not quite a throne.

Review by ozzy_tom
3 stars "Kings' Boards" is a rather obscure compilation including 5 compositions recorded by 5 well-known and not so much well-known Japanese keyboardists along. All of them play completely new tracks which have never been recorded anywhere else before or after (with one exception). Standard formula for all of them is instrumental keyboard-led power-trio (with no guitar), so you probably expect some ELPish bombastic prog, but in fact music presented on this disk can be better described as typical Japanese 80s and early 90s mix of melodic symphonic rock and neo-prog influences without too many flashy solos. Anyway it's quite interesting material worth to be listened and described more precisely:

1. Motoi Sakuraba - "Drama Composition" - album begins with composition recorded by the most famous musician presented on "Kings' Boards" - Motoi Sakuraba (who just left his ELP/UK-ish band "Deja-Vu". "Drama Composition" is a very good track full of rather catchy synthesizer solos but driven mainly by up-beat acoustic piano chops. It gives rather relaxing and slightly soundtrackish feeling. Definitely one of the best here although surprisingly Motoi doesn't play any organ here what is quite unusual for him. It's only a pity that later Sakuraba included this track on his first proper solo album ("Gikyokuonsou"), so if you already have it (and if you're looking for such obscurity like "Kings' Boards", probably you have) this track is not new for you.

2. Shigetomo Hashimoto - "The Maze Of May" - another track was recorded by completely unknown for me keyboardist from obscure band called Ashule (but according to rateyourmusic website they issued 2 studio albums back then). It's an atmospheric, a bit laid-back instrumental in the first half led by strange almost dance-music like beat, eerie synthesizers & digital piano. In the middle we an listen to interesting interlude with nice acoustic piano, harpsichord, glockenspiel & synth fragments. After that music takes more symphonic path with occasional bombastic outburst very much in the vain of Japanese ELP clone - Social Tension.

3. Noami Miura - "Corde Spirale" - 3rd track belong to female keyboard-player - Noami Miura, from band "Rosalia". This time she joins forces with Social Tension's bassist and drummer to present us definitely the best performance on the album. "Corde Spirale" is a very busy and dark-sounding piece of music full of innovative ideas. The most suitable comparison would be band Ars Nova, but Ars Nova didn't even existed in 1990! Anyway it's even more dark than Ars Nova and Noami Miura's style seems to be more crazy then Keiko Kumagai's. I just love her Hammond organ playing, very deep, oppressive and "gloomy" with many dis-harmonies and distortion effects. Simply fantastic! Her mix of symphonic prog and crazy-ass avantgarde elements is something I really appreciate here. What a pity that I have no other material of her work besides this track and mini-album recorded with Rosalia (called "Zillion Tears"). Did she ever record something else? BTW "Corde Spirale" is the only track here which features some vocals, but in fact they're only some weird chants. P.S. In fact according to sources Noami Miura uses Korg CX-3 organ, not Hammond one, but to be honest there is no difference in sound for me.

4. Manabu Kokado - "Ladies Of Green & Blue" - this one was played by White Fang's keyboardist (I don't know this band at all). It's pretty standard keyboard-driven symphonic tune very much in the vain of Social Tension, but without loud Hammond runs and more restraint. Anyway we can listen to many different keyboards here: pipe organ (in the intro), flute-like synthesizers, acoustic piano, string machines and also some background Hammond organ. Quite OK, but the second part of this track drags a little...

5. Nobuo 'Kodomo' Endoh - "Hungary" - to be honest I had the biggest expectations according to this arist. Nobuo Endoh is a high-skilled keyboards virtuoso from ELP-ish band Social Tension (which I mentioned already few times in the review). When I first time listened to "Hungary" I was immediately tremendously disappointed. I expected truly symphonic masterpiece full of mid-blowing Hammond and Moog solos...but I received half-baked, rather boring instrumental which sounds like soundtrack for cartoon (manga) or something like that. Almost whole track is taken by repetitive digital piano/synthesizer melody which seems to never end. The only redeeming factor is glorious pipe organ fragment in the middle, but it's still to short to save this piece of crap.

I can conclude that "Kings' Boards" is fairly interesting disk with a couple of pleasant neo/symph compositions and one real gem ("Corde Spirale"). All in all rather average staff but should be checked by all keyboards-oriented rock geeks out there. So I recommend it to such people because I'm one of them and I rather enjoyed it (with few exceptions). Just don't expect too many ultra-fast-technical-mindblowing-flashy moments here.

The best track: Noami Miura - "Corde Spirale"

3,5 stars from ozzy_tom

Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review


You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives