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SCHEHERAZADE

Neo-Prog • Japan


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Scheherazade biography
Scheherazade is one of the first Japanese prog-rock band featuring Toshio Egawa on keyboards, who later became a real prog-rock star in bands Novela and especialy Gerard.
Band was created on second part of 1970' however due to many circumstances they weren't abe to record any album until 1992 when re-created Scheherazade (with Toshio Egawa who just left Novela) recorded their first studio, self-titled album.

Scheherazade reunited in 2010, and released their second studio effort All For One in September, followed by a supporting tour.

Scheherazade official website

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ALL FOR ONEALL FOR ONE
DIW Records (JAPAN)
Audio CD$103.51 (used)
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SCHEHERAZADE discography


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

3.51 | 5 ratings
Scheherazade
1992
4.00 | 1 ratings
All for One
2010
5.00 | 1 ratings
Songs for Scheherazade
2011

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

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

SCHEHERAZADE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
Fall in Love
1992

SCHEHERAZADE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Scheherazade by SCHEHERAZADE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.51 | 5 ratings

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Scheherazade
Scheherazade Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Scheherazade was the ancestor band to Novela and while they did not have a proper release back in mid-70's they built a cult fame around their name mainly because they were the initial career point of the most important figures of 80's Japanese prog.Guitarist Terutsugu Hirayama formed Teru's Symphonia and Toshio Egawa found Gerard, both in early 80's.The two musicians along with singer Hisakatsu Igarashi formed Novela in 1979 while bassist Jutaro Ohkubo became a member of Starless and drummer Hideaki Indou followed his own way with Pageant.In early-90's the historical line-up came back together to record a self-titled album under the Scheherazade name, released on Nippon Crown.

The young mid-70's members of the band were now veterans of the prog scene and the album holds all the great but also bad assets of 80's Japanese prog throughout.Not surprisingly the sound is very close to NOVELA and even GERARD, a mix of fairly accesible Hard Rock tunes with keyboard-driven Symphonic Rock passages.The tracks are filled with short introducing and middle-set preludes, heavy guitar playing and orchestral keyboard performances, often blended with superb breaks in an E.L.P. style but also filled with strong rhythmic guitars and screaming vocals.Compositionally the band lies on a good level, trying to mix easy-going Hard Rock with more demanding instrumentals.However the transient cheesiness met in many Japanese albums of the style is present as well.Vocals as usually are rather dull and not the first reason to buy the album, while the production and a light dose of the plastic keyboard sounds are not great either.The bombastic sound, the good arrangements and the memorable tunes on the other hand are more than enough to enjoy this release.

A bit leaning on the dissapointing side regarding the experience of the members participating, ''Scheherazade'' marks a decent return of the old Scheherazade line-up to produce an album of Hard Symphonic Rock, which has its moments.Recommended overall, unless can't stand the Japanese vocals or the bad English accent.

 All for One by SCHEHERAZADE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 1 ratings

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All for One
Scheherazade Neo-Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars "Scheherazade" is a Japanese heavy/symphonic prog band which started its career in 1977, but soon after they replaced drummer & bassist and changed name to "Novela" (under this moniker they became one of the most successful rock band in their country). However in early 90s "Scheherazade" was re-created and finally they managed to produce they first, self-titled album in 1992...only to disband again soon after. They debut was a really fantastic effort which I truly enjoyed, so I was very happy when I found out that "Scheherazade" decided to give it one more try and band was resurrected again (with their classic line-up!) in 2010. These guys not only started new concert tour but also prepared completely new CD called "All for One". I have to say that this "new-born kid" of "Scheherazade" is a really spectacular effort, which can be easily compared with band's debut. Toshio Egawa's keyboards skills are astonishing as ever, Terutsugu Hirayama plays mind-blowing guitar riffs & solos, Jutaro Ohkubo's bass sounds deep, Hideaki Indou's drums are always there to provide great rhythm patterns and Hisakatsu Igarashi's voice is even...goofier than before, but this is an important factor of their music's charm so I don't complaint at all! I'm especially fond of Toshio Egawa, who also recorded another album ("Ring of Eternity") with his own band "Gerard" the very same year, so he must be a real titan of work because he sounds really fresh & inspiring on both disks. It's a good news that he still likes to use so much Hammond organ too, what makes "Scheherazade's" music deeply rooted in 70s prog-rock and hard rock tradition.

Let's check all 9 tracks included on this album one by one:

1. "Prologue" - short introduction filled with very symphonic-sounding floating synthesizers' melodies. Egawa successfully emulates strings-like, orchestral arrangements. Very nice beginning.

2. "鏡" - it's so good to hear these 5 musicians playin' together again after 18 years break! "鏡" is a powerful, almost heavy-metal song led by thundering guitar riffs & crunchy organ rides. Igarashi manages to keep his voice in-key and in general I like his vocal performance in this song. Very aggressive & cocky, but not so much over-the-top. By the way, Egawa's Hammond solo is devastating! Goddammit I love this fragment, really reminds me of Jon Lord's or Vincent Crane's style.

3. "Castrato" - as the name suggests we can expect some totally freaky vocals here...and Hisakatsu definitely won't disappoint you! I'm sure that it has the most atrocious singin' fragments I've ever heart in my life. Vocalist is just squeaking, screaming & squealing as a total madman! I can image how many people will be turned off while listening to this staff, but this is "Scheherazade" after all! Nobody can expect that Hisakatsu will suddenly start to sing like Andrea Bocelli :-P. It's just part of the fun. Anyway "Castrato" is a really good track, less guitar-oriented and slightly lighter in tone, but still pretty energetic & lively. Hammond organ soloing is even better than on "鏡", Toshio really shines during this spectacular emersonian ride! He also delivers frenetic synthesizer solo and Hirayama has his metallic guitar moments.

4. "誘惑の街へ" - the most mainstream sounding track with catchy rhythm and pop-rock refrain. Indou's drum work is a bit too monotonous here, but guitar/organ leads are decent. Not bad at all but I still think it's the weakest song on "All for One". Similar to more radio-friendly "Novela's" material or 80s "Rainbow".

5. "人形賛歌" - fantastic heavy-prog composition in the vain of "Deep Purple" and "Uriah Heep" (especially their latest material). Organ floods sound very deep & dark here and main guitar riff is extremely groovy. Igarashi's crazy-ass vocals also suit perfectly here. Definitely recommended!

6. "悪魔が泳ぐ夢の国へ" - the only epic of the album lasts only for 10 and half minute, but musicians managed to create truly wonderful symphonic piece of art. Composition begins very sober & mellow with melancholic singin' (yes, this vocalist sometimes can do it!) and soaring synthesizers "landscapes". But the real fun starts off about 3rd minute when tempo significantly rises up and Egawa switches to his trusty organ to play some Ken Hensley-inspired passages. Another good moment is Hirayama's fiery guitar solo, which would wake up even a dead man. In general his performance in this epic is rather spectacular, but maybe a bit too noisy for this kind of compositions. Anyway it's another highlight on the album, but definitely can't be even compared with beautiful "Suite 'Lights Are Burning' 77-92" from their debut LP.

7. "明日の影" - very energetic rock'n'roller driven by speedy guitar & roaring organ leads. Vocalist's voice is surprisingly restrained and he won't bother even melodic-vocals purists. Song is quite short but Egawa still found a space to fill it with explosive Hammond & analog-sounding synthesizer solos.

8. "Rhapsody" - another very heavy & groovy track filled with crunchy riffs and odd vocal histrionics. While the second part of it is almost completely devoted to endless guitar/synthesizers/organ solos, which are always very speedy and fully entertaining.

9. "All For One" - title track is more in neo-prog vain. Egawa is mainly using modern keyboards here and guitarist prefers more restrained style. Quite similar to early "Gerard", but somehow less enjoyable. But it also includes some more "brutal" fragments, I especially like that frenetic synthesizer madness in the middle.

Summarize: I'm almost fully satisfied with this album's content and I can have only minor complaints (for example, it's a pity that they didn't include any really long suite and softer ballads which could give us a break between all those headbanging rockers). It's a really good news for Japanese rock fans that those 5 guys met again. I hope they will keep up that way and record even more albums in the future.

I especially recommend this band to people who also dig such heavy-prog formations like "Novela", "Deep Purple", "Uriah Heep", "Birth Control", "Rainbow", "Vienna" and even more neo-symph "Gerard"(early years).

BTW it was really refreshing to hear Toshio Egawa playing together with guitarist again. It seems that his last studio album recorded with guitar player was Gerard's "Save Knight by the Night" CD from 1994!

Best tracks: "人形賛歌", "鏡" & "悪魔が泳ぐ夢の国へ"

4,5 stars from ozzy_tom

 Fall in Love by SCHEHERAZADE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Fall in Love
Scheherazade Neo-Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars I've never reviewed any singles before, but this one is quite a good effort and in contradictory to most of singles includes very highly engaging song which isn't presented in any long-play. "Fall in Love" was (probably...) the only single which was released to promote eponymous Scheherazade's full-length album.

Disk consists of: A-side - single version of "Fall in Love" and B-side - "Tears For Lovers".

1. "Fall in Love (Single Version)" - it's a one and half minute shorter version of opening song from band's "Scheherazade" album. They just trimmed original version to appropriate for single release length, so I'll just copy-paste my description from their full album's review:

Composition starts from some gloomy sounds, but after few seconds symphonic sounding keyboard "announce" the real beginning and song kicks in with good vocal delivery. In the middle we can listen to instrumentals which include expressive synthesizer & hard rock guitar solos. BTW pay attention to strange drum beat signatures during solos, very weird!

2. "Tears For Lovers" - B-side song is something much more interesting in fact. It's a completely new composition not included on "Scheherazade" full-length disk and the real reason why you might seek for this single. "Tears For Lovers" is a truly fantastic heavy prog energetic rocker full of metallic guitar riffs and powerful organs. Toshio Egawa's Hammond solo in the middle is a truly memorable moment which immediately "transfers" us into 70s prog times. Real classic!

In general it's a rather worth having small album which includes perfect, up-tempo track "Tears For Lovers" and not so necessary single version of song which you probably already know in its full version from Scheherazade's full album.

All in all it's not must-have or highly recommended release, but "Fall in Love" can be interesting small gem in your music collection.

No idea how to rate singles, so I'll give it 3,5 stars - Good, but non-essential.

 Scheherazade by SCHEHERAZADE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.51 | 5 ratings

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Scheherazade
Scheherazade Neo-Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Scheherazade" (along with "Rumble" and "Fromage") was one of the first bands where Toshio Egawa (famous from "Gerard") had a chance to show his keyboards abilities. This group was formed in 1977, but in 1979 after line-up changes - new drummer & bassist and also additional guitarist, all of them from band Sanakuikan - they switched their name to "Novela". Under new moniker they recorded lots of progressive rock/hard rock albums and became real star in Japan. However in 1992 original line-up of "Scheherazade" decided to re-unit and finally record their first album.

I must say that their self-titled release is a really fantastic work of art. Egawa after many Novela and Gerard albums was already confident enough to carry on main responsibility for Scheherazade's sound which is a mix of neo-prog, symphonic prog, hard rock and even includes pop-rock and space/psych elements. But we can't forget about Terutsugu Hirayama's solid guitar performance with lots of sharp riffs and solos. He's a very important part of this band too. 3rd member from core-band "trinity" - Hisakatsu Igarashi - is surely the most difficult "case" for western listener. His voice is very...original for us. I'd say his singing style is extremely controversial and not for everybody's taste. Lots of people will probably even say that he sounds very cheesy and lame, but to be honest after I've been listening to Scheherazade's and Novela's albums couple of times, I used to it and it doesn't bother me anymore at all. I can even say that I like his style now, kinda ultra passionate, "over-the-top" but enjoyable.

Time to describe album's songs one by one:

1. "Fall in Love" - record starts with song called "Fall in Love" which was also released (in shorter version) on single. Composition starts from some gloomy sounds, but after few seconds symphonic sounding keyboard "announce" the real beginning and song kicks in with good vocal delivery. In the middle we can listen to instrumentals which include expressive synthesizer & hard rock guitar solos. This songs is probably the most poppy sounding here (very much a la late "Novela"), but really good one. BTW pay attention to strange drum beat signatures during solos, very weird!

2. "The Gate to Legend" - one of the best songs on this album! Outstanding fast rocker with heavy guitars, crunchy organ runs and surprisingly symphonic (fanfare-like) keyboards. Vocals are screamy but memorable and Hirayama's guitar solo seems to be taken straight from 70' classic rock. Egawa's synth solo is also worth mentioning. This song reminds me of Rainbow/Deep Purple/Uriah Heep school of rock.

3. "Forever Mercury" - the only real ballad on the album. Very good song where Igarashi proves that he can also sing such softer, more sensible staff. Overall "Forever Mercury" has good melody, some nice flute-like keyboards sounds, piano and very charming acoustic guitar. Vocal is as usual in Japanese language but "Forever Mercury" words during the refrain are sang in - very funny accented - English. I like "Queen" oriented, falsetto chorus section placed after slightly melancholic electric guitar solo. In the end of the song vocalist sing "forever Freddie Mercury", so it's tribute song in fact!

4. "Once Upon in a Time" - very good song which perfectly mix Rainbowish hard rock with symphonic progressive rock. Hisakatsu delivers his best vocal parts here and Terutsugu's guitar is truly melodic in this one (what a catchy solos!). Egawa plays lots of great leads on his synthesizers and finally presents us what organ freaks like the most - splendid, 70s inspired Hammond solo!

5. "Looking for You" - almost my favorite song on the album! Great heavy prog song with dramatic vocals, powerful organ roars and sharp guitar work. Sound like mix of 70s and 80s Uriah Heep's staff. In the middle brief guitar and high-pitched synthesizer solos.

6. "Suite 'Lights Are Burning' 77-92" - and here comes what everybody was waiting for - multi-part, 17+ minutes long suite. And it's truly magnificent suite! It's surely the most 70' sounding part of the album, where we're exposed on constant attack of crazy guitar attacks, never-ending organ runs, analog sounding synths flights and other "self-indulgent" staff. Theoretically this epic is divided into 7 parts but for review purposes I can describe it more like 3 parts composition. First section is dominated by extremely energetic guitar riffs, quasi-operatic vocals, uplifting keyboards and very sharp organ chops. My favorite moment of this section is full-blown, truly mad Hammond solo that only Toshio Egawa knows how to play! Next part of the suite is slightly more mellow and sounds like space/psych rock in the vain of "Pink Floyd" or (even more) "Eloy". This part is structured along gloomy bass line and hypnotic drum beat. Hirayama plays here extremely distorted guitar and create truly cosmic atmosphere (a bit like Pink Floyd's "Echoes"). Egawa adds some strange noises and scary wind effects. After a while music become even more mellow and we can hear soft pipe organ-like passages (but it's surely Hammond here too) and "angelic" voices. The final part of the suite is a come back to fast & heavy formula and culminates with aggressive, ripping Hammond organ solo in a tradition of Manfred Wieczorke from "Eloy".

Summarize: "Scheherazade" is a hidden gem of Japanese progressive rock which mix many styles and shows influences of such bands as ELP, Uriah Heep, Genesis, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Queen, Yes and other classic outfits. They also mix modern production and gear with old school elements like Hammond organ, mellotron (probably samples), string machines, occasional Moog-like synths etc. If you like this kind of 80'-90' Japanese progressive rock I can also recommend you to check such bands as "Novela" (very similar style of music, also with Toshio Egawa, Hisakatsu Igarashi & Terutsugu Hirayama), "Teru's Symphonia"(with Terutsugu Hirayama), "Moondancer", "Vienna", "The Black Mages", "Pale Acute Moon", "Magdalena" and "Mugen", and if you like completely keyboards-driven, ultra-bombastic prog: "Gerard"(with Toshio Egawa), "Ars Nova", "Social Tension", "Deaja-Vu" & Motoi Sakuraba.

IMHO this is - along with Novela's debut album "La Songerie" - the best album Egawa, Igarashi & Hirayama ever recorded together. So if you don't have allergy for quite goofy, over-the-top, Japanese vocals grab this album and enjoy!

For me solid 4,5 stars.

Thanks to ozzy_tom & windhawk for the artist addition.

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