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UNKNOWN

Vienna

Crossover Prog


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Vienna Unknown album cover
3.64 | 6 ratings | 3 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Entrance (6:19)
2. Shesp ankh (Sphinx)(7:12)
3. Legend (9:58)
4. Open Sesame (7:03)
5. Anubis (4:11)
6. Melancholy of matador (8:29)
7. Moonstone (6:54)
8. The destruction day (5:01)
9. For an illusion (7:27)

Total Time: 62:34

Lyrics

Search VIENNA Unknown lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Yukihiro Fujimura / guitars, vocals
- Tosimi Nagai / fretless bass
- Kozo Suganuma / drums, percussion
- Shusei Tsukamoto / keyboards

Releases information

Cd. Protect PCDZ 1572

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VIENNA Unknown ratings distribution


3.64
(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
33%
Good, but non-essential (17%)
17%
Collectors/fans only (17%)
17%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

VIENNA Unknown reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After an 8-year hiatus and having two studio albums and one live album in their résumé, Vienna returned to the recording studios with "Unknown", arguably their most powerful item. "Unknown" finds the band exploring their symphonic-meets AOR sound with added touches of heavy prog and metal- prog. Compositions also bear a fuller atmosphere, since the melodic and harmonic ideas are thoroughly integrated by the inputs of guitar and keyboard and their mutual interactions, while the rhythm duo keeps itself genuinely busy. The result was a Vienna more pompous and more powerful than ever before, indeed, just as I stated earlier. Chamaru's vocal style remains an acquired taste: he's got skills, undoubtedly, but his timber may not be everybody's gold (although, the same can be said about the lead singers of Outer Limits, Mugen, Midas and others). The album kicks off with the overwhelmingly potent 'Entrance', a real pyrotechnical progressive voyage that is set to shake the listener's conscience from step 1. It's catchy and impressive (although it may sound suspicious to those who dogmatically prefer subtlety above all other sources,. but.). The second track is more focused on AOR-ish territory with symphonic prog adornments, not unlike "90125"-era Yes. 'The Destruction Day' also bears an AOR tendency, but definitely it is more vibrating in comparison. 'Legend' is the longest track in the album, with its almost-10 minute span: it is certainly a well accomplished number in terms of composition and arrangements, with a special mention to those mesmerizing chamber music ornaments that so well fit the symphonic rock standard. The keyboardist sure isn't shy when it comes to showing his skills, but the fact remains that his performance is tasteful among the inherent pomposity of the track. Later on, in 'Moonstone', the influence of epic chamber music will return in full swing, once again with a featured role by the keyboardist as he conveys mesmerizing Baroque-style orchestrations. Acoustic and electric guitars are used as a counterpoint-provider companion to the keyboards. 'Open Sesami' is basically a power ballad, like a moment of melodic serenity before the instrumental tour-de-force 'Anubis' frontally brings the storm of complex rock that had already been present in the opening song. Sure Vienna has assumed the influence of early 90s prog-metal in a very thorough fashion. 'Melanchol of Matador' is yet another symphonic prog zenith in the album - starting with a dexterous instrumental section full of Arabic allusions, things turn into a suave mood for the 3/4 tempo sung section. The synth lines bear a Flamenco vibe that feels very consistent with the track's title, ultimately leading to its amazing closing climax. "Unknown" ends with the power ballad 'For an Illusion', a song that pretty much retakes and reflects the old 80s Vienna sound for its main sections: the coda brings a dramatic tempo shift akin to the prog metal standard, and this makes it for a coherent closure. I firmly believe that this band's musical legacy should be more disseminated and appreciated than it is. This is an excellent prog album, and it sure won't disappoint those who love their prog really symphonic with a hard rocking edge and a solid melodic structure.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#161693) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Review by ozzy_tom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After 2 studio albums and one concert recording during 80s Vienna disbanded, but in late 90s they decided to give it one more try and group was resurrected from the grave. However this time we have a new drummer in the line-up: Kozo Suganuma, and I have to admit that I like his style more than Ryuichi Nishida's less-technical one. So this change is really warmly welcome by me. Anyway after rejoining they recorded only one album "Unknown" and finally called it a day. And it's a real pity, because this CD is definitely their best one. All this 80' cheesy/corny approach completely vanished here and musicians play tighter than ever. While their first 2 albums presented rather typical hard rock meets neo-prog staff with pop/AOR atmosphere, "Unknown" is more rooted in melodic prog-metal, symphonic rock and 70s style heavy prog. Yukihiro Fujimura's guitar is much sharper here and Shusei Tsukamoto prefers to use much more Hammond organ and analog (or analog-sounding) synthesizers. All in all very good combination.

Let's proceed to songs' descriptions:

1. "Entrance" - great start with this heavy rock song! Vienna has never sounded darker before. Vocals are surprisingly aggressive, electric guitar is ultra powerful and new drummer is bashing his gear accordingly. Toshimi Nagai's bass work is more audible too, so finally we can hear his amazing skills. Keyboardist uses modern synths for solos, but main riffing is made on fat-sounding Hammond. While in the middle we can witness very short but absolutely hilarious fragment with harmony vocals a la Uriah Heep or Queen!

2. "Shesp Ankh (Sphinx)" - another winner clearly inspired by famous J-prog band Novela. Lots of busy guitar playin' and expressive vocals (but not over-expressive like Novela's vocalist's :-). But the real highlight of the song is of course extended, brutal organ solo performed in the vain of Jon Lord's work in Deep Purple days. Yeah, it's that great!

3. "Legend" - mini-epic with more symphonic feeling this time. We have some melancholic vocals and lovely acoustic piano bits here. But in the second part of the track we have also more dynamic fragments with up-tempo drum beat, wild Hammond blasts & heavy guitar solos. Overall very solid mini-suite.

4. "Open Sesame" - definitely the least successful song on this album. Too much radio- friendly / poppy for me. While pipe organ & harpsichord sound gorgeous, pseudo-romantic- style singing is killing any enjoyment. Especially when keyboardists switches to modern gear, it sounds too much like throwback from their 80s material. Not recommended but not so offensive either (except ending with annoying "lalala" singing). BTW there is a great pipe organ passage in the middle which shouldn't be missed!

5. "Anubis" - Oh man! This is a great instrumental! Partly prog-metal, partly symphonic-prog and definitely entertaining as hell. I can say that it sounds like mix of Gerard with Ayreon & Dream Theater. Inferno of shredding guitar, high-pitched Moog-like synthesizers and growling organ solos.

6. "Melancholy of Matador" - masterpiece after masterpiece! "Melancholy of Matador" is one of my all time favorite compositions from Japan, it's so damn good! First part of this mini- suite is a melody and energy filled instrumental section with unbelievably bouncing main rhythm with significant middle-east flavor. It reminds me a bit of Ars Nova's material but it's still definitely original music. About 5th minute there is a complete change in pace. Instead of freakin' crazy electric guitar/keyboards playin', we have very melodic, charming music here with typical Spanish-folk elements. Fujimura's vocals are amazingly passionate (whatever he's singin' about, I don't speak Japanese...) and his acoustic guitar skills are perfect as well. But near the end guys come back to ass-whipping style in a frantic, headbanging finale. Splendid staff!

7. "Moonstone" - baroque-like AORish ballad with melancholic vocal delivery and always welcome harpsichord presence. Some nice, atmospheric orchestral keyboards & acoustic/electric guitar moments are here too. Good interlude between hard-edged material of "Unknown" disk. BTW we can also witness some gorgeous pipe organ section!

8. "The Destruction Day" - standard song in the vain of early Gerard or Novela, but I really dig such songs so I like it. However it's not very memorable, synth/organ/guitar interludes and aggressive vocals are excellent here as usual on "Unknown".

9. "For An Illusion" - more symphonic rock staff but with rather mainstream vocal lines, especially "lalala" fragments are horrible (only David Byron knew how to sing such bull**it in a really proggy way :-). Some fanfare-keyboards are also quite sloppy for me, but overall it's not a totally terrible song. Just average.

To sum up: if you want to begin your journey with Vienna, it's definitely the best place to start. Especially if you like keyboards department to be dominated by meaty organ sounds, you have soft spot for heavy metal riffing mixed with symphonic rock atmosphere and you have an allergy for 80s, plastic-sounding production (like on Vienna's first two records). This particular album I can especially recommend to fans of Ayreon, Gerard, Scheherazade, Ars Nova, Novela, Uriah Heep, Cairo and even Dream Theater, but I'm pretty sure that fans of Argentinian band Nexus might find "Unknown" the most enjoyable. It's shame that Vienna seemed to disbanded forever after this CD was released. A pity!

Best tracks: "Melancholy of Matador" & "Anubis"

4 solid stars from ozzy_tom

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Send comments to ozzy_tom (BETA) | Report this review (#446089) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 12, 2011

Latest members reviews

2 stars These guys are placed under Art Rock here but this album has some agressive moments that push them slightly into the Prog Metal realm, a la bands like Cairo, Symphony X or Vanden Plas. Although the lead vocals are strong, the harmonies do not blend well for a clean sound. After listening to t ... (read more)

Report this review (#58623) | Posted by StyLaZyn | Wednesday, November 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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