Ring are a four piece outfit from Japan featuring Yukitoshi Morishige on keyboards, Masata Kondo on guitars, Takashi Kokubo on drums and vocals while Hiroshi Hamada fills in with the basics. I am always keen to discover any new Japanese band especially if they can approach the unique qualities of Kenso, Gerard or Ain Soph but quite often the hunt is fraught with disappointment more often than pleasure.
While there is nothing particularly wrong with Ring's musical abilities, their songs simply fail to deliver anything really convincing or different. Whether it's the limp attempt to meld King Crimson influences with Pink Floydian airy fairy floaty stuff and then top that off with some even more lame "Peter Gunn" guitar and organ sections all within the one song, it becomes a bit laughable. Equally well, I often find that lyrics sung in Japanese just sound so daggy and unfortunately, Ring are no exception.
The track, "The White Sybil" is a bit of a letdown as the morose sounding themes and melancholy playing drag on for too long before the song segues into a more jazzy and extroverted section with speedy guitar fills, keyboard excursions and crisp drumming from Takashi. One of the strongest tracks is probably "Magic Lady" but it is by no means a classic as the guitar sounds badly buried somewhere within the left hemisphere of your brain. The song also suffers from the band simply failing to take proper advantage of the assortment of instruments at their disposal. They are just so severely underused. It is not until the final bonus tracks featuring some ripping keyboards that you become remotely aware that the band does possess some musical ability of importance.
While each song has some merit, the overall appeal is lost about mid way as the band doesn't overstretch either their own or your imagination. The softer sections are just way too soft with little really emotive pieces to leave you inspired while their fierier sections are simply luke-warm at best. It's not that this bands music is offensive or particularly unpleasant; it's more a case of the song writing failing to even reach the Plimsoll line. A preliminary audition before parting with the cash might be the best advice here.
2. The White Sybil
3. Piano Solo
4. The Desolation Of Soom
5. Magic Lady
6. The Star Of Sorrow
7. The Memory of Charnades The Pan