Shingetsu - "Live 25-26 July 1979, ABC Kaikan Hall Tokyo"
(Musea/Poseidon 2004, FGBG 4571.AR / PRF-019)

From Aural Innovations #30 (February 2005)

Shingetsu were a Japanese band whose music fit firmly into the classic early 70's European progressive rock mold. The band consisted of Makoto Kitayama on vocals, Haruhiko Tsuda on guitar and vocals, Shizuo Suzuki on bass, Naoya Takahashi on drums, and dual keyboards from Akira Hanamoto and Takashi Kokubo (the latter credited as "guest"). This concert was recorded in July 1979, shortly after the release of the first Shingetsu album.

Nursery Cryme/Foxtrot era Genesis is the immediately apparent influence, though it would be unfair to call the band a clone. Singer Makoto Kitayama has a very nice voice of his own and doesn't even try to mimic Peter Gabriel, though clear traces of Tony Banks keyboards and Steve Hackett guitar can be heard. The music has all the hallmarks of classic prog, transitioning through multiple movements with a dedication to thematic development, sweeping the listener through angelic melodic passages and heavier rocking segments. But Shingetsu doesn't overwhelm us with non-stop purist 70's prog stylings. There are some hints of the likes of IQ and other British "neo-prog" bands that the new decade would soon give birth to. And we get some breathers in the middle of the show, starting with "She Can't Return Home", which sees Shingetsu getting down and kicking a little ass on what is the most purely rocking track of the set. "Night Collector" follows and is very much a progressive rocker but a ROCKER nonetheless. Overall, if you're a committed fan of 70's classic progressive rock then Shingetsu is essential listening, and they do it damn good.

For more information you can visit the Musea Records web site at:
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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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