Kehell

Galileo

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    6
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Kehell is Shigekazu Kamaki on guitars, guitar-synth, and pedal-synth with Yasuyuki Hirose on bass, and Toru Hamada on drums. This is Japanese prog-fusion with smooth jazz fuzak and guitar rock yearnings. So what is it, exactly? Well, Kamaki seems to want to be a jazz-rock fusion composer/musician but many times he breaks out into Beck/Montrose/Satriani rock riffs and flurries of guitar-hero effects in the midst of moments that one might expect, ah, more fusion and less flash. Kamaki's compositions and stylings flirt with fusion but exhibit genre-schizophrenia. Songs will flow with a Satriani-like rockin' then fade into late-'90s fusion-esque, then jump into a Yellowjackets smooth jazz vein, and then bounce back to Ronnie Montrose's or Rick Derringer's bombastic glitter modes. (And those were just tracks 1 and 2.) Things get more interesting on "Colony #2," where some swiftly executed Allan Holdsworthian chordal passages intro the song but -- you guessed it -- Kamaki is back in the straight-up rock riffs, only to outtro in a mirror of the intro. "Replica" is a tad Bill Connors-esque in guitar voicings upfront, but quickly descends into pentatonic and diatonic rock. Bland fuzak backgrounds for Kamaki's rock riffs do not really work well. There's a strong melodic leaning but this has been done before by so many rock bands trying to be fusion groups. Kamaki's Kehell is almost fusion, not really prog, sorta smooth jazz flirting with rock, but never landing squarely in any genre. Kamaki is a solid musician that is confident and poised for attack but his style seems "automatic," pristine, mechanical, precise, perfect but sterile, and soul-less. The whole band is similarly tight and faultless in meeting each song's needs. There's so little happening in Galileo to deeply impress. On "Kaiper Belt," Kamaki does experiment with a variety of time signature mutations. The musicianship is great, but there's a seriously impairing genre-identity-crisis in Kehell.

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