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Kenso - Esoptron CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.11 | 33 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Last album before the millennium for the oldest Japanese band around, Esoptron s easily the ballsiest album they've done so far. The recipe is relatively easy: bring the usually quiet guitarist up front and crack his amp to volume 11 and let him rip to shredds the recording tapes. Coming with a classy silvery b&w picture of the guitarist for an artwork, Shimizu also affects a pose that the Crimson Fripp would in an inside shot, and let's face it, musically, you can feel a bit this influence in many places.

Yes, Shimizu is the guitar hero the group always had and finally recognized, even if he is the main man on the album as he also plays keyboards and is the main songwriter, but he's still seconded by the other leader, keyboardist Ogushi. Otherwise the line-up is exactly the one of Yume No Oka at the start of the decade. Compared to previous albums of theirs (but I haven't heard all of them), this album is also very raw, almost messy (but voluntarily so) and might appear a bit as a jam band, despite its complex music. Yes, you've guessed it, we're far away from their ball-less symphonic rock of the 80's. Outside a pathetic drumming (this may appear as blasphemy to some, but Muraishi really misses it all in this album, especially in the choice of sound, but sometimes affecting 80's type of drumming as well), the keyboards are a mix of Emerson meeting Lord (including a tad of mellotron the Crimsonian Chronos track), but the group never veers towards jazz-rock or fusion. The group never gets better when it Release (it) Yourself, when the machine is firing from all cylinders, despite inadequate skin-banging sounds (not technique in this case) and the group finishes on the quieter Kiraku, the only track on this album that would merit a JR/F tag.

A much more interesting album than their early flimsy symphonic rock, Esoptron is not perfect (those hideous drums), but it is full of energy and sizzles the eardrums, which is what I ask from my music.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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