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Accept - 2015 - "Under the 23rd"

(62:06, Prime Number Label)


****+
    

TRACK LIST:  
                 
1. High and Wide Tonight 1:21
2. Angel 6:01
3. Moon Theme? 4:47
4. Invasion 4:29
5. The Inevitable Pain II 3:03
6. Lost on the Floor 0:39
7. Escape 6:35
8. The Judgement Day 3:59
9. Gazing at You 0:47
10. Snow, Melt, Wind 4:10
11. Switchback 2:58
12. Port of Hope 2:52
13. Departure 2:22
14. Nome Da Vida 5:46
15. The Given (A Tree) 10:10
16. In the Brighter Sky 1:24
17. (unnamed track) 0:43

LINEUP:

Hisao - vocals, all instruments
Taiki - sounds, voice

With:
Mari - voice
Edna - voice

Prolusion. Japanese project ACCEPT is mainly the creative vehicle for composer and musician Hisao, and ever since the first album "Silver Moon" appeared in 2007 this Japanese project has been an ongoing venture. "Under the 23rd" is the fifth studio production to be issued under the Accept moniker, and was released through the fledgling Prime Number Label in 2015.

Analysis. This Japanese project have always been an original creator in the progressive rock environment. Perhaps not due to exploring the more challenging landscapes out there, as this isn't an artists that appears to be all that fascinated by avant, RIO and similar approaches to progressive rock, but due to blending certain elements in a particular manner few others do. Symphonic textures are used as elements throughout, on occasion in the tradition of the classic symphonic progressive rock bands of old, but rather more often as textures with more of an ambient feel to them, when not being used more as details in arrangements that nods back to classical symphonic music that is. Quite a few details here and there is, to my mind at least, nods towards modern day classical music as well, with quirky, chaotic and almost free form oriented interludes and passages given room in multiple compositions. That being said, the greater majority of the keyboard arrangements are more ambient, in a kind of Vangelis like manner. Cinematic sequences with voice effects and sound effects further flavor and enrich these landscapes, in sum creating a rather novel overall impression. On some of the longer creations, the rock aspect of Accept is given an airing too. On a couple of occasions sporting a dark, harder edged expression, but more often with an elegant approach to progressive rock alternating between darker and lighter tendencies in mood, giving associations to Pink Floyd for the former and The Beatles for the latter. Perhaps in a more subtle manner for this latter aspect, but still a presence in my view. A final element worth mentioning are vocals. Layered backing vocals and spoken voices as effects is one thing, but the song featuring lead vocals all have those mixed to sound distanced, which gives the songs a rather unique dynamic. That this applies also to most of the backing vocals gives this album it's very own mood and atmosphere.

Conclusion. "Under the 23rd" is a novel and experimental production, even if not extremely challenging, and as many such ventures goes not all the material is as interesting as the rest. Striking throughout, often compelling, but sometimes also a bit too odd and quaint for comfort. If you think that an album that blends old and modern classical symphonic details into a broader context of ambient music, neo-progressive rock and symphonic progressive rock sounds like a good thing, then this is an album that you probably should inspect at some point

Progmessor: January 27th, 2018
The Rating Room


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