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NAIKAKU

Heavy Prog • Japan


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Naikaku biography
From Japan, an already consecrated prog state of art, comes - close in modern, alternative and resonating times - the band NAIKAKU (full name is Naikaku-No-Wa, with the meaning of Internal Nuclear Tide). At first Satoshi Kobayashi (bass) and Kazumi Suzuki (flute) formed the band, in mid-1998, and initiated their music, but eventually the lineup grew towards an eclectic sextet, drummer Norimitsu Endo, guitarist and trumpeter Mitsuo Muraoka, flutist Naoko Higashi and guitarist Kei Fushimi joining. They played, before the debut and the mature emphasis, in clubs such as Yokohama Club 24, plus they managed frequently into the "Instrumental Festival" (or "Instrumental Freak"), by 1-3 gigs, held per month, which promoted them inside the community and outside the rough language. A contest of "All Japan Indies" earned them, in 2000, a third prize. Their first album, "Wheel Of Fortune", caught an unexpected appreciation around many zones, and the tag of "progressive modern rock" immediately followed. NAIKAKU started playing on full shows, for their album release, or played along bands like MANDOG or POCHAKAITE MALKO in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, with Noako leaving the band, and, to some surprise, with Kei Fushimi being left off the major lineup, plus with keyboardist guest Daishi Takagi, NAIKAKU released a second album, "Shell", which is considered a very evolved new music, with much art and intense progressiveness.

NAIKAKU comes very skilled into a various music earthshake. Many reflections state a heavy modern Jazz-Fusion, with complementary Hard to Eclectic Rock, plus various moments of subtle metal gearing, indie ragging, alternative play, post-tempo, avant-garde hollow shots and vivid associations of the progressive instrumental latency. Furthermore, NAIKAKU seems to please a usual creation, a hectic instrumental twist, several intense, complex and intriguing concerns, plus a mainstream point of pleasure, and a heavy impede. Experimentation is at sight, by leveled-up art-work. Nu-metal and punk rock don't seem that much excluded, but obviously the evolution towards eclecticism makes the two albums have a strong lust, equally for the shockwave plodding and for the interchange complexity. Or even for a moderate 70s feel, given the sound, the melody, the harmony and the essential flavor between the much expanded dimensions and tones. Eastern motives don't miss out much, in several places. Sometimes their furiousness makes a more opaque sense into the dynamic ...
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ShellShell
Musea/Poseidon 2006
Audio CD$17.25
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NAIKAKU discography


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NAIKAKU top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 10 ratings
Wheel Of Fortune
2003
4.11 | 40 ratings
Shell
2006

NAIKAKU Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

NAIKAKU Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.50 | 2 ratings
Live 2006 Official Bootleg - Baja Prog 2007 Limited Edition
2007

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NAIKAKU Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

NAIKAKU Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Shell by NAIKAKU album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.11 | 40 ratings

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Shell
Naikaku Heavy Prog

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Shell by NAIKAKU album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.11 | 40 ratings

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Shell
Naikaku Heavy Prog

Review by therek

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 else an ex-bass player may need? The flute and occasional trumpet gives this album a very jazz-like feeling.

Crisis 051209, the opening track, begins with drums, gradually joined by flute, bass and guitar. The song is divided into five interleaving parts of Exits and Crisis-es, with former being moments of prog madness all the little tigers loves so much and the later begin a flute-driven slow downs, including a little chaos spilled around 5th minute– resembling a jazz band warming up and playing different solos at the same time–that finally calms down with bass pointing the way out of this madness.

The third song of this album–being only 7 minutes long–has the longest title I’ve seen so far. It goes like this 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!. Phew… And indeed, somewhere in the middle of the song the guitar advancement changes into eerie sounds you might hear in some deep underground cavern, reminding me Galois by Gordian Knot. The song ends as it had begun with jazzy flute and trumpet duo.

Although I’ve mentioned two songs, the whole album is a very interesting experience, with heavy rockin’ Lethe, where scorching guitar riffs intersperse with smooth flute passages, or floating Tautrogy. All in all, Shell is yet another proof that Japanese prog is highly individual and quite different from what’s being currently produced on both sides of Atlantic ocean. It’s best listened to without any distractions, just not to loose focus on what’s going on in the songs. Definitely a must-have CD for die hard bass guitar junkies like me, and an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Another gem in my collection.

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 Shell by NAIKAKU album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.11 | 40 ratings

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Shell
Naikaku Heavy Prog

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 ¼ 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 ¾ 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 naïve, 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 ½ 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.

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 Shell by NAIKAKU album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.11 | 40 ratings

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Shell
Naikaku Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Shell by NAIKAKU album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.11 | 40 ratings

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Shell
Naikaku Heavy Prog

Review by Hirgwath

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 album has music that simultaneously sounds good and yet has high musical standards. This is what people mean when they say "artistic integrity." Not playing tricks on people to entertain them, like pop music, and not obscuring and complicating things to impress the critics, like modernist music.

Definitely a must-have for lovers of jazz-fusion, heavy prog, instrumental bass, or King Crimson. Jethro Tull fans will appreciate Naikaku's amazing flautist.

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 Wheel Of Fortune by NAIKAKU album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.90 | 10 ratings

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Wheel Of Fortune
Naikaku Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars NAIKAKU are an all instrumental band from Japan who employ trumpet and flute to go along with their powerful guitar driven sound.This record was such a pleasant surprise for me, something I wasn't expecting, having heard very little about this their debut. And while this band can really "bring it", there is some good variety on this album as well.

"Please !" is an uptempo,complex track that hits us hard right away with raw and aggressive guitar and the drums are right in your face. Flute comes in as well and the bass lines are very prominant. Check out the blistering guitar melodies 3 1/2 minutes in ! The next song has a title longer then my arm. "In Short,You've Just Changed "Point Of View", Don't You ? It's Only A Superficial Part,Right ? Modern ? Or Post- Modern ? We Don't Care. Go Home ! Go Back To That Sea !" Yeah, that's one of the longer titles i've come across. The song begins with light drums and trumpet with more prominant bass lines again. The flute takes over for the trumpet before the trumpet comes back and the interplay between these two instruments is a highlight. The bass lines are getting fatter. Up to now this has been a jazzy tune but then it starts to turn into a rock song. The drums get heavier and more dominant 6 minutes in. A minute later a heavenly guitar solo comes in and i'm thinking "Is this guy the Japanese Satriani ?" This is a killer tune that is also moving with the flute returning 11 minutes in.

"Memory" opens with some crunch as heavy riffs arrive right away with grinding guitar over top. Nice. The tempo changes often and later the guitar is crying out. Fantastic song ! Here we go again with the song titles. "629 Items In Trash Can And Using 380.1MB. Want To Delete These Items ?" is a fast paced, take no prisoners kind of song with relentless drumming. "Crisis" has a dark and heavy intro and then flute joins in. This sounds amazing ! The song calms down 2 1/2 minutes in and then trumpet blasts and other dissonant sounds stick around until we get an actual melody back after 5 minutes. And this melody with flute is beautiful ! The tempo continues to shift as we get an uplifting sound 11 1/2 minutes in before it ends as it began. "Tiny Ego" sounds oddly enough like a DREDGE tune. Check it out. Lots of guitar and drums in this one. "Seven Minutes Squeezer" has some impressive drumming as the guitars grind away and the flute plays over top. The song settles down to an atmospheric section before it speeds back up with some ripping guitar. "Hocus Pocus" is a crushing FOCUS cover that is very well done.

Easily a four star album in my books. I love the energy and sound of this band and can't wait to hear "Shell".

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 Shell by NAIKAKU album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.11 | 40 ratings

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Shell
Naikaku Heavy Prog

Review by Starless

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 to flex his fret fingers on numerous occasions, they cook up a jazz-prog-metal stew which puts one in mind of Red era King Crimson. They may well be influenced by their late 70s compatriots Kennedy, as they share a similar fondness for jazz tinged epics laced with passages played at breakneck speed.

The opening track appears to be a re-recorded version of a track from their first album, and benefits from much improved production. The third track has what I must assume is the longest track title ever (see the band website for the full title), which is ironic as like all the other tracks on the album it is an instrumental.

If you like your jazz-prog fast with many layers and time signature changes, then this is for you.

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