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Sadistic Mika Band biography
One of the Folk Crusaders Kazuhiko KATO - quite immersed in British Glam Rock scene led by David Bowie or Marc Bolan - and his wife (and his eternal fan) Mika KATO have founded an as-it-is-said modern rock project named SADISTIC MIKA BAND (it's said the project name was a parody merged with Plastic Ono Band and Mika's sadistic movements of a knife upon her cooking) with Hiro TSUNODA (drums), and Masayoshi TAKANAKA (guitar) later soon. Although Hiro's left after releasing a single "Cycling Boogie" for founding his own band, Yukihiro TAKAHASHI has replaced Hiro as a drummer and has taken Rei (Ray) OHARA into the project as a bassist. In 1973, the new SADISTIC MIKA BAND released their eponymous debut album, that could be much appreciated in UK (especially in London), not achieve enough success in Japan though.

Chris THOMAS, already renowned as a recording engineer for The Beatles or Pink Floyd, had been so immersed in their first album that he offered them production of their second album "Kurofune (Black Ship)". They spent over 450 hours for recording and producing the second creation in collaboration with Chris, and finally released in November 1974 all over the world. This album has been estimated as one of the most important Japanese rock albums by Rolling Stone Magazine. Sadly, owing to Mika's falling in love with Chris during their UK tour in 1975 and being divorced with Kazuhiko, SADISTIC MIKA BAND were disbanded after replacement of bassist by Tsugutoshi GOTO and releasing their third album "Hot! Menu" in November 1975.

After disbandment, Kazuhiko reformed the project with the collaboration of another vocalist some time - in 1989, as SADISTIC MICA BAND with Karen KIRISHIMA, and in 2006, as SADISTIC MICA BAND REVISITED or SADISTIC MIKAELA BAND with Kaela KIMURA. Two single records "Boys & Girls" (1989) and "Time Machine (rerecorded by the new lineup)" (2006), one studio album "Narkissos" (2006), and two live albums "Seiten" (1989) and "Live In Tokyo" (2007) have been released. On the other hand, a documentary film "Sadistic Mica Band" (by a director Kazuyuki IZUTSU) has been shown in Autumn 2007.

SADISTIC MIKA / MICA / MIKAELA BAND will never be reformed because of Kazuhiko's suicide in October 2009.

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EMI Japan 2006
$18.11 (used)
Live In LondonLive In London
Toshiba 2013
$33.68 (used)
$8.75 (used)
Sadistic Mika Band (Limited)Sadistic Mika Band (Limited)
Essential Best 1200 Sadistic Mika BandEssential Best 1200 Sadistic Mika Band
UP 2018
$17.62 (used)
Golden Best Sadistic Mika BandGolden Best Sadistic Mika Band
EMI 2016
$146.62 (used)
Hot MenuHot Menu
EMI Japan 2013
Toshiba 2013
$24.95 (used)

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SADISTIC MIKA BAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 6 ratings
Sadistic Mika Band
3.89 | 9 ratings
Kurofune (Black Ship)
2.26 | 4 ratings
Hot! Menu
0.00 | 0 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings

SADISTIC MIKA BAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In London

SADISTIC MIKA BAND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hot! Menu by SADISTIC MIKA BAND album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.26 | 4 ratings

Hot! Menu
Sadistic Mika Band Prog Related

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The third and final SMB studio album sounds like it was assembled under duress, and with good reason. The band was in the process of imploding after lead singer Mika Kato began an extramarital affair with producer Chris Thomas (who she later married). Add to that the slow erosion of their musical identity after relocating from Japan to London, and it's little wonder the results of this session were so inconsistent.

But even without all the distractions the band would have been doomed by such an anemic effort: thirty-five (thankfully) brief minutes of pallid soft rock, lacking the sly energetic imitation of their self-titled first album and the galvanized intensity of their previous "Kurofune". The exceptions are the two contrasting highlights book-ending the album, beginning with "Time to Noodle", arguably the strongest single piece of music in the abbreviated SMB catalogue (and notably an instrumental track). Despite its total lack of Asian character the music has a powerful yet playful momentum, building to a speed-freak Fusion 'chorus" not unlike an injection of pure adrenalin.

On the polar opposite end of the musical spectrum is the oddball album closer "Tokyo Sunrise", a totally different experience but equally effective in a dreamy, drugged out sort of way. The hazy tropical atmosphere and weird stoned vocals (is that Mika snoring over the fade-out?) offer an ideal antidote to the uninspired songwriting elsewhere on the album, reaching its aesthetic nadir in the too-accurately titled "Style Is Changing", followed by the embarrassment of "Funkee Mahjong". The former is a bit of a Doobie Brothers ripoff; the latter presents the worst sort of obsequious musical kowtow, almost a sell-out of the band's native Japanese heritage, which might have worked if it had been intended as satire.

Things fell apart pretty quickly after the album was released. The surviving band members, sans Mika, would retreat to the Far East and attempt a comeback as The Sadistics, but the new group's first album would leave no impression whatsoever on this listener, although I wouldn't mind a belated second listen. "Hot! Menu" ("Hot! Mess" would have been a better title) is essential to any complete picture of this unique band, but unlike their two earlier albums this one isn't a keeper.

 Sadistic Mika Band by SADISTIC MIKA BAND album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.76 | 6 ratings

Sadistic Mika Band
Sadistic Mika Band Prog Related

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Strange and fascinating things often happen when Occidental pastimes are filtered through the Oriental mind, as any fan of baseball or action cinema can tell you. Rock 'n' Roll too can get somewhat lost in translation between West and East, and in the debut LP by the premier Japanese band of the 1970s it emerged as a mirror image of itself: easy to recognize but reflected backward, and weirdly distorted around the edges.

The album is hardly their proggiest. But it remains their most authentic recording, presenting a unique band in its native habitat, far removed from any foreign interference. My own well-preserved (vinyl) import is annotated mostly in hieroglyphic ideograms, but the garish tropical artwork and imperfectly translated subtitle (sic: "It's a Sweet Songs for Lovers") provide context clues to the music itself, which runs an enthusiastic gamut between kick-ass blues, lovelorn ballads, glam rock posturing and teeny-bopper pop, often with a groovy "shoo-be-doo-wop" background chorus.

Na´ve cross-cultural mimicry? Or sly tongue-in-cheek pastiche? It's hard to say for sure, which is part of what makes this album so much fun compared to the band's more polished later efforts. They would quickly be linked to ROXY MUSIC, and no wonder: compare the gatefold sleeve insert here, with its kitschy beach frolic band portrait, to the likeminded feather boas and sci-fi apparel of Bryan Ferry and company. The Sadistic Mika Band wasn't playing Progressive Rock yet, by any definition. But the music (and the musicianship) on their first album is entirely credible on its own polyglot terms, and deserves nothing less than four brightly colored stars.

[...A quick personal postscript. So how did a sheltered kid from suburban Northern California first hear about this band? From a picture on the back cover of the QUIET SUN album "Mainstream", in which BRIAN ENO can be seen wearing a SMB sweatshirt. You couldn't ask for a better endorsement than that...]

 Kurofune (Black Ship) by SADISTIC MIKA BAND album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.89 | 9 ratings

Kurofune (Black Ship)
Sadistic Mika Band Prog Related

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The second LP from Japan's Sadistic Mika Band is not only a good entry point for newcomers, but from a Prog Rock perspective is easily their creative zenith. The album succeeded in raising the band's profile outside their own country, in part by trading the perceived (but calculated?) na´vetÚ of their 1973 debut for a more confident Anglo-influenced sound, hardly an unfair exchange given the strength of the material here. A high-profile tour supporting ROXY MUSIC didn't hurt their growing reputation either.

The musicianship throughout is world-class, ranging from pinpoint fusion pyrotechnics to heavy rock power chords to dreamy Oriental psychedelia. The ethereal multi-tracked vocals in the album opener "Sumie No Kuni E" (separated into opposite channels, one voice singing and the other speaking) was a particular stroke of stylistic genius. As was the dramatic segue into the steamroller riffing of "Time Machine", enough to send any closet air-guitarist pounding his fists to the sky.

The band's native Asian culture surfaces at the start of Side Two, but the Far Eastern flavor was undermined in the tongue-in-cheek manner of early FAUST by a defiantly amateur saxophone, and by the ubiquitous funky crunch of a clavinet. Elsewhere, the album's three-part title track (a.k.a. "Black Ship", but the English song names are new to me: all the text on my imported LP is in runic Japanese) really allows the band to show its chops, shifting from manic jamming to a high-caliber Arena Rock anthem with testosterone to spare, all of it captured in the full-blooded production of ace engineer Chris Thomas, one of the premier studio gurus of the 1970s.

It's true that the original ersatz-glam spirit of the band was somewhat compromised by the move to London, where to a certain degree their foreignness was sold as a musical novelty. And the project would soon disintegrate when the husband/wife team of guitarist Kazuhiko and singer Mika Kato sailed into rocky marital waters: see the inaptly-titled "Hot! Menu" album, recorded the following year. But for the time being, as depicted in the fanciful cover photo here, the group was flying high.

 Kurofune (Black Ship) by SADISTIC MIKA BAND album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.89 | 9 ratings

Kurofune (Black Ship)
Sadistic Mika Band Prog Related

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

4 stars "Kurofune (Black Ship)" ... This superb album produced in 1974 (a conception of progressive rock underdeveloped in Japan yet in those days) can be suitably called as one of pioneers in Japanese progressive rock scene, except only one point described later. As you know, this album has a conception of "opening Japan for foreign (especially Western) countries", that had brought and compelled by Matthew Calbraith Perry in 1853, the end of Edo Bakufu (maybe called "a closed government" in English) Era. Kazuhiko and Sadistic Mika Band have created this album and story as a serious, problematic one for Japanese people in those days, and simultaneously, made this album itself "open the Japanese rock scene for Euro-American progressive rock kingdom". Yes, this album could be the dawn of Japanese concept album creation, and sadly, this was too progressive for Japanese music scene at this moment to be approved under commercialism.

Easily can imagine that lots of Edo people might be surprised, shocked, and upset with their sudden attack. Kazuhiko and his band have made an excellent expression about that matter, especially as an undefined fear / confusion in the first track "Sumie No Kuni E (Into A Nation Of Black Ink)" and as a coming anxiety in the second "Nanika Ga Umi Wo Yatte Kuru (Something Horrible Is Coming Across The Sea)", with weird voices and unstable melodies. Such a texture created by them (especially Kazuhiko, Takeshi Matsuyama, and Chris Thomas) sounds remarkably vivid. Not simply folksy nor catchy but experimental around pop essence. We can hear enough progressiveness for Japanese pop / rock scene in 1974 (and understand they could not be approved successfully). The last suite in Side A "Kurofune (2nd - 4th June, Kaei 6)" is the highlight of this album, where we can suggest a magnificent panic and hopelessness, giving-up around lots of Edo people, via powerful, enthusiastic heavy rock launched by deep bass sounds, complexly quaking drumming, and crying guitar shouts. On the contrary, in "Yoroshiku Dozo (Welcome Please)" natives seem to accept the cross-cultural matter (maybe could not avoid accepting under their superiority though).

Sadly, however, so far as I am aware, Kazuhiko's indulgence with his wife Mika, that he'd let her sing such a sweet rock "Time Machine" or an eccentric (for this story) cookie "Hei Made Hitottobi (Suki Suki Suki)", would lower the estimation for this album as a concept one. These pop songs, one of that later released as a hit single, are good indeed, but unsuitable catchy atmosphere in them might disturb the train of thought around this serious story I'm afraid.

This regretful point aside, this album created just in Japanese closed music scene could open widely Japan's door, and it's true. I'm sure this splendid work will be re-appreciated all over the world, after Kazuhiko's sad suicide. Highly recommended.

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the artist addition.

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