Concerto Moon - Rain forest - 2000


It is difficult to frame, to define or to give a certain explanation on the function of all and each one of the grandiose bands that in turn, are grouped inside their corresponding progressive branch, and trying to give a constructive valuation. A valuation that is sometimes not limited strictly to give an opinion on the musical content of the work as other factors intervene, to my understanding, completely indispensable and important to reinforce the base of the progressive genre.

To prove this statement, this album musically doesn't represent a major surprise, but inside its evident stylistic field, it fulfills its objective very well. An objective that you could value as being more pedagogic than musical.


The field I refer to is that of metal-prog, one of the many variants that in the last years has shown a great movement with the appearance of new bands and their indefatigable work rhythm, causing a number of considerable new works. A progressive metal that anyway, in my point of view, is immersed in a "comet" effect quite understandable and that doesn't seem at first sight, counteractive. The use of the term "comet" in the astronomical sense can maybe surprise you, but it is maybe a phenomenon that can give a clear idea, although quite out of context, of the situation of metal-prog. A great celestial, luminous body of about 50 square KM that moves at great speed and that attracts the attention of a majority, astronomers or not, for its exceptional spectacularity (Dream Theater) which is surrounded by a tail formed by millions of elements of a minuscule size, of great scientific value for the information on the composition of the nucleus (Rhapsody, Kamelot, Whuthering Heights, Gamma Ray, Listen, Spiral Architect,… Concerto Moon). Bands that give a very valuable information and allow to see something of the progressive mystery and that as I said before, serve as an introduction, as a first step for those that are not prog experts. These bands give small doses that educate in some way, enlarging the ears and preparing the senses for the assimilation of more complicated things. Formations that follow that musical power of Dream Theater closely and that will find it difficult to reach their status.

Concerto Moon come from the land of the rising sun where they have cultivated a fruitful and worthy progressive history based almost 100% in the European prog movement. A proof of it is this third work "Rain Forest", where the references to their oriental origin are not appreciated in any of the compositions, developing a completely western metallic-progressive sound. The band is composed by Tako Ozaki (voice), Nosifumi Shima (guitar), Toshiyuki Koike (keyboards), Kosaku Mitani (bass) and Ishiro Nagai (drums).

The album opens up with "Prologue" (1:22) an instrumental introduction where they present the powerful guitar and efficient keyboards that will be use while the CD lasts. "Time to die" (5:16) shows from the start the style of the group, with a composition where the guitar gallops in a bolted way and that leaves a small space for some keyboards a la Jordan Rudess of great speed and precision. "Lonely last journey" (5:54) is more calm, with a melodic guitar and some keyboards in the background carrying the weight of the song from the start. One of the most dangerous areas, to my understanding, is that of the vocals, that can easily destroy an entire work. But in this case Tako Ozaki doesn't abuse of his capacity to the microphone, advancing at the same time that the other instruments without offsetting his partners. "Fight to the death" (5:55) increases the rhythm with a song a la Dream Theater with some ups and downs of the drums, followed by a Petrucci guitar sound.

The pieces of great speed are alternated in a very intelligent way with other more leisurely ones and that usually are wrapped up with keyboards of mellotron sounds of more epic poetry, as "Half way to the sun" (5:50). "Rain forest" (6:54) that gives name to the album is amongst the best in the album, instrumental with an acoustic introduction and some very pleasant keyboards, they give form to a beautiful composition that marks a change of style in the album. "Unstill night" (7:17) opens a second part with a sound more rhythm and blues closer to the sound of Deep Purple or Rainbow. The keyboards open the compositions and then serve as a support, while the rhythm section monopolizes the sound of songs like "Live on the memory"(6:05). "Victim of desire" (4:15) follows the tendency with a catching rhythm a la Ritchie Blackmore. "Pictures of an old man" (5:19) is a ballad with a sound of great volume provided by some soft keyboards that disconnect you from the metallic blast that characterizes the album. "Break it down" (4:55) recaptures the destructive rhythm of the beginning with a small space for the splendor of some brilliant keyboards. The last three songs appear as bonus tracks and begin with an extended version of "Time to die" (6:21) and it turns out to be the same composition from the beginning of the CD but with a more extensive introduction. It continues with "King of the judas" (5:18) with some guitar riffs that remind us from the "Gates of Babylon" of Rainbow with a very powerful rhythm and a good base of keyboards. The work ends up with an excellent instrumental piece "Waltz for masquerade" (4:24) monopolized by a very intense guitar, an interrupted drum rhythm, as a good finale for the album.


I would say that groups like these are really necessary. We cannot expect that a person enters the prog world listening to "De Profundis" of After Crying or the "The Voyage" of Isildurs Bane. Bands that make a small and soft introduction to the genre help, in this case to fans of heavy metal sounds, as I said previously, to prepare their ears for a more correct appreciation of the progressive sound.

author - date - rating - label

Jordi Costa - April 2000 -   - LMP