Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Ningen-Isu - Shura-Bayashi CD (album) cover

SHURA-BAYASHI

Ningen-Isu

 

Heavy Prog

3.95 | 2 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The fifth consecutive album with Masahiro Goto on drums and the sixth album with him in total, also the last Ningen Isu album with him before his departure. (Last I heard he's with Kinzoku Yebisu.) Though every Ningen Isu album comes across as well-thought out, well-written, and well-recorded, I have found myself discovering more stand out tracks on this album recently than I first noticed.

Touyou no Majo - The Witch of the Eastern Sea. Typical for many Ningen Isu albums if not most, there is a heavy opening riff that is clearly inspired by one of the band's most influential groups, Black Sabbath. It's a solid heavy rock track with Ken'ichi Suzuki's gruff, kabuki-styled vocals. There's a riff change and then another really cool one, which is sadly repeated only once. Why do bands often put in the most killer riffs in the transitional parts of the track? Then the song changes again. There are 4-5 really good riffs in this musical mini story.

Oni - Daemon. Another heavy, doom metal style track describing, I presume, the character of the Japanese oni, a denizen of Jigoku (Hell) and torturer of the souls of sinners. In folktakes, oni have been known to emerge from the netherworld and attempt to trick humans or simply make off with them. There are some Voivod-sounding riffs in this track, something I have come to recognize in many Ningen Isu songs. Howling demons create a monstrous atmosphere in the chorus buildup with more doom metal chords. Drummer Goto goes for the double kick drum in chorus. It's a fierce and ominous track!

Ai no Kotoba wo Oshieyo - Teach the Words of Love. Here's Shinji Wajima at last and what a contrast to Suzuki's themes of demons and witches! This is a bluesy rock and roll number with a hint of Stevie Ray Vaughn or other blues rock guitar legends in the lead guitar style and sound. The guitar solo is very seventies, one of Wajima's specialties. The song takes an eased back turn for a bit before returning to its initial form. Check out that drumming!

Tsuki ni Samayo - Misled by the Moon. We're back to heavy rock with Suzuki again. This time, there's a less immediate doom punch. The music reminds me a bit of Trouble. The chorus is heavy and then there's an instrumental part like a requiem or dirge. The bass pulses like something by Iron Maiden. There's more of the doomy song and then riff change to something more positive, followed by a guitar solo. Ningen Isu are a three piece band, so you'll notice how the bass and drums really stand out. I have read comparisons to Rush before for the tight interplay between Wajima's guitar and Suzuki's bass.

Yakyuu Yarou - Baseball Idiot. I think this must be drummer Masahiro Goto on vocals? This is a coarse, rocker style of vocals but it's not Suzuki who is gruffer and more theatrical. This is a good and fun, straightforward hard rocker, but I feel Goto is not a completely strong lead vocalist. For one fun, hard rocking track, it's cool. The sound of this track is like pumped up mid-seventies hard rock.

Saigo no Bansan - The Last Supper. This track is very Beatles-like in the beginning, I feel. It's another track by Shinji Wajima. It's mellower and melodious. There's a change up in the middle like melodic alternative rock and then an atmospheric psychedelic part before the chorus abruptly returns in a sudden rhythm change then back to the song as it began. One of my favourites from this album!

Owaranai Ensoukai - The Unending Concert. We're back to a charging heavy rock track with Suzuki. There's an eighties metal riff. The guitar solo is short and fast and the music goes right back to that riff. The finale introduces a second guitar like Iron Maiden before reaching a dramatic conclusion.

Oosama no Mimi wa Roba no Mimi - The King's Ears Are Donkey Ears. This is a fun Suzuki-sung alternative rocker with a grooving bouncing bass and rhythm. Like Saigo no Bansan, it's a surprise change of pace to this otherwise heavy rock/stoner rock album. The chorus is sung once with the title repeated four times in comical falsetto voices. Then there's a really lively and fun solo by Wajima. And later dual vocals for the final part of the song. In spite of my love for the heavy tracks, this one is an ear worm that stands out for being fun and different.

Osorezan - Terror Mountain. This track opens with a finger picked acoustic intro. It's Wajima singing what sounds like an old folk tale. The guitar switches to strumming and band comes in for the chorus. Wajima's voice keeps the raconteur vocalist style. We hear a rain stick or beads and then Suzuki takes the background with a "Hei... Ooo..." repeated. It has a ritual feeling to it no doubt complementing the story in the lyrics. It's a good track for setting a kind of ballad atmosphere, like hearing an old traditional myth or folk tale performed with music.

Jasho no In - Serpent-like Arousal. This is another Suzuki heavy rock number but wow what a nice bounce and hit bass and drum rhythm. The riff reminds me of Voivod again with the guitar and drums joining the bass for an effective riff. "Ba-dum, ba-Da-dum, ba-Da-dum, ba-da-Da". Suzuki's vocal style adds Ningen Isu's unique stamp. Wajima's lead guitar is the icing on the cake! The track switches gear to a speed metal- like style reminiscent of Anvil. The drumming is once again notable. There's a frantic heavy bit bookending solo. Then we return to that bass rhythm perfect transition. The final guitar solo is done with chorus effects pedal. This track is one of my top five picks from this album!

Soukoku no Ie - House of Antagonism. As with many Ningen Isu albums, Wajima takes the final track with a small epic number. This is a typical Ningen Isu heavy rocker with slow heavy chords that go breaking into a gallop for the chorus. The "Hei-oh" chanting and almost tribal-meets-rock drumming is a stand out feature of this song. It reaches a slower melodic part in the middle and keeps it for the guitar solo and after. The bass and drums return and mood becomes darker. There's a haunting mood to the chanting, "Omae wa nigiteru" (You are running away). We get another galloping riff and then go back to chant and tribal rhythm. Just the chant and drums close this well-developed song.

I find this to be one of the more impressive albums of Ningen Issue's 2000's output, though any of the albums packs some great songs. This album is not a work of excellent progressive rock but rather an excellent album of skillful song-writing and musical performance. This band proves with every album that they know how to create songs with great riffs, cool bass lines, awesome drumming, fantastic and diverse guitar solos, and captivating vocal styles. Shura Bayashi is worth checking out as an example of this band's creativity.

FragileKings | 4/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

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

Share this NINGEN-ISU review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

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

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives