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KPRO: Kansai Progressive Rock Orchestra

With a unique blend of genres and instruments, the Japanese instrumental prog band KPRO brings us their self-titled debut Kansai Progressive Rock Orchestra, a Kansai (Jap) based quintet comprised of Dune Tanaka on keyboards, Yasuhiro Nishio on guitars, Wakyo on drums, Shohei Matsuura on the sitck, and Derollin’ Kataoka on Melodion.

A Melodion? How cool! right? what about the Stick?... the use of these atypical instruments gives the band’s music a distinctive sound and feel right from the start, however it can also be a little overwhelming when overused. Slightly a third of the album I really enjoy, a third a can easily listen to without much emotion, and the last third I just don’t get… and although I do have those boundaries clearly established, there is some common ground between the three of them, and that’s the excellent instrumentation by the guitars, the keys and the Melodion. The rhythmic section does a good job as well, and they do sound much better when teasing with jazz elements than with the hard rock ones, they do have a progressive sound, like the one found in the mini epic track “Kirkus”, but with a very light complexity to it, and they sound more Mediterranean (south western Europe) than Asian, as bright as Flamenco and as dark as doom metal, with everything in between that range. Kataoka does an amazing job and gets along fantastically with both Nishio and Tanaka but is thirteen Melodion-led tracks we are talking about here, is like an album full of bagpipes, or harmonica, sometimes it simply too much. The melodies are great and even beautiful at times, I just think the album suffers of not having any vocals, as well as the off-sounding production values, inconsistent throughout the record. But when they sound good it is at a high level, an aspect noted in tracks such as “View of the Sands”, “Deep Sea Fireworks” (my personal fav), “Sorrow in the Darkness”, “Nebula”, and their second epic “Lost Illusions”. I strongly feel the band would beneficiate from having a vocalist in their near future… just a thought! Cheers

Track Listing:
  1. Introduction (0:49)
  2. Rebels (5:26)
  3. Spanish Wind (5:57)
  4. View of the Sands (6:37)
  5. Kirkus (9:11)
  6. The Jester’s Bolero (4:09)
  7. Deep Sea Fireworks (5:42)
  8. Sorrow in the Darkness (6:34)
  9. Triumph (5:50)
  10. Nebula (5:33)
  11. Lost Illusions (11:20)
  12. Overture (2:11)
  13. Technical Session (5:12)

Added: November 3rd 2022
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 382
Language: english

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