Mizukagami

Mizukagami

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AllMusic Review by

Mizukagami's first album impresses with its lack of invention. You couldn't imagine a more straightforward, by-the-rules platter of Japanese symphonic progressive rock. That being said, this quintet plays proficiently and the songs have their moments, however predictable. The group and the album's biggest asset is singer Futaba Tanaami. Her voice allies elegance with fragility and is somewhat reminiscent of Quidam's Emila Derkowska. Besides singing and writing all the lyrics (in Japanese, no English translation provided), she also adds flute melodies, but in that regard her contribution has little effect. The music is heavily dominated by the keyboards of Junya Anan, the group's sole composer. Sadly, his keyboards have an early digital sound (read: '80s) that can be quite aggravating, except for the occasional Mellotron chords and organ riffs. The rhythm section of Keiichi Yanagawa and Keita Kamiyama is correct, while guitarist Yasuo Asakura throws in a few nice solos (like a fuzzy wah-wah-driven feature spot in the closing "Yukimushi"). "Suzukaze" is the strongest track, mainly because it aims for a more straightforward structure. The other songs go through perilous structural circumvolutions that feel too often gratuitous to convince anyone of their pertinence. Prog rock fans looking for the exotic touch of a Japanese female singer may want to investigate, but otherwise this album has hardly anything special to offer.

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