Masheen Messiah - For The Light Unseen - 2016


“... a Japanese band with a lot of potential ...”


Previously known as Machine Messiah, Masheen Messiah is a band from Japan. You can find a familiar name in their lineup. Drummer Mark Murdock made in the year 2012 an album (“Cymbalic Encounters”) together with Brand X members John Goodsall, Percy Jones, Kenwood Dennard and other guest. There is an interesting story about Mark who was introduced by a roadie of a famous British band (Genesis) to Phil Collins and later on was jamming with some guys. Not knowing at that time that this would become the debut album “Unorthodox Behavior” of a band called Brand X. The name of the band indicates a connection with the band Yes. But musically wise there is no resemblance to the music of Yes and Brand X. I would describe their music as a mix of Rock and AOR with a progressive rock potential. Their debut album “For The Light Unseen” was released in the year 2016 as an independent release.


Yoshihide ‘KAME’ Akiyama - keyboards, vocals; Tatsuo ‘Michael’ Inoue - guitar, vocals; Mark Murdock - drums, percussion, vocals; Mutsumi ‘Gonzales’ Tanamura - lead & backing vocals; Yasushi ‘Yasai’ Tsuruma - bass, vocals

Keisuke Takashima (ptf) - violin (4)
Masaaki Kondo - marching drums (4), backing vocals (1,2,4,6)


You can find the following tracks on this album; “Sail Against The Wind”, “Divine Insanity”, “Cadence Of Life”, “Learning To Fly (On This Ground We Lie)”, “The Dawn (Prelude)”, “Awake: For You” (including “The Wake” (Interlude)) and “Tomorrow”.

The opener “Sail Against The Wind” is one of the songs that has a more (Neo) Progressive Rock atmosphere. It opens with lush synths and a freaky guitar solo. Immediately you can hear that this band knows how to rock. Second thing I noticed that their lead singer Mutsumi Tanamura sings without an accent. You can find a lot of melodic vocal harmonies in this track (But this counts for the whole album). It gives the music a kind of AOR feeling. At one point I had to think of Todd Rundgren's band Utopia. Great opening of this album. The following songs “Divine Insanity” and “Cadence Of Life” are also fine songs with an atmosphere that is a melting pot of Rock, AOR and Prog. The guys of Masheen Messiah master their instruments. Expect excellent guitar and keyboard solo’s on top of a steady rhythm section. Then it is time for another highlight, the longest track of the album is called “Learning To Fly (On This Ground We Lie)”. It opens with a nice keyboard and piano intro. The band slows down a little bit. The music has a nice structure and is in overall not so hectic as the first rock oriented pieces. Of course you can find those freaky guitar and synth parts also in this epic but the music is more diverse and more in balance. In this piece you can find a contribution of another familiar name out of the Prog scene. Keisuke Takashima the violin player of the Japanese band ptf. In this long track you can hear the Progressive potentials of the band. This is followed by a beautiful keyboard prelude with the name “The Dawn”. Beautiful keyboard strings and fine melodies. The next track “Awake: For You” (including “The Wake Interlude”) has again that AOR feeling. This is reinforced by the polyphonic vocal harmonies. Sometimes the name Asia crossed my mind. And for the first time I hear a little reference to the music of Yes. Maybe a little ode to the late Chris Squire? The album closes with the track “Tomorrow”. A song with beautiful vocal melodies and nice keyboard and guitar parts. A worthy ending of a fine debut debut album.


“For The Light Unseen is a fine debut album of a Japanese band with a lot of potential. In the first part of the album you can still find those hectic and more Rock oriented pieces. But gradually the band shows it’s potential with more melodic and more balanced music with a progressive potential. The strong vocal harmonies gives the music a kind of AOR feeling. Personal favorites are opener “Sail Against The Wind”, The epic “Learning To Fly” and the beautiful “The Dawn Prelude”. Looking forward to their next album because I am very curious how the music of the band will develop. For sure they have the potential.

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - November 2018 -   - Masheen Messiah Records