Ie Rai Shan — Ie Rai Shan
(Made in Japan MJC 1005, 1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-03-01Remember Pageant, Providence, Mr. Sirius, and the better days of Japanese symphonic rock? Well, don't say they don't make music like that anymore — because Ie Rai Shan is proof true that they do. Take a big, lush, symphonic sound a-la Novella era Renaissance, mix in some harder rock elements, add an outstanding vocalist to match, and blend it with some unique Japanese cultural elements, and you're getting very close to the light. I am frequently reminded of Pageant's La Mosäique de la Rêverie or Providence's ...And I'll Recite an Old Myth. Ie Rai Shan ranks among the best of them. At the forefront is vocalist Naomi, exceptional in every way — powerful, intense and compelling, she makes me understand Japanese! Singing solo and harmonizing with herself she brings an uncompromising energy to each of the album's seven tracks. Also in the lineup are veterans Ikkou Nakajima (ex-Pageant) on guitars, and Katsuhiko Hayashi (ex-Mugen) on Hammond XB-2, Prophet 5, Mini-Moog, Poly-6, ARP Pro- Soloist and a whole battery of other keyboards and devices giving their sound a wide array of voices and colors. Katsunori Hamada (ex-Pale Acute Moon) plays electric bass, and Shinjiro Inoue — the only name here besides Naomi that I'm not already familiar with, handles the drum kit. In addition, Junko Minobe (of Cinderella Search) adds violin on a few tracks. Musically, the band covers plenty of ground within the symphonic sphere, and only on a couple tracks with simple boom-bash/neo-prog style drumming do I find any reason to doubt my enthusiasm for this album. Overall, though, this is classic symphonic prog, the way it was meant to be. Fans of any of the aforementioned bands should find much to enjoy in this.
Related artist(s): Ie Rai Shan
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