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(54:56, JPRG Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Braves 8:04 2. Flight of Hope 6:38 3. Resilient City 5:20 4. Born in Chaos 8:19 5. On the Beach 4:15 6. Repromised Land 1 4:07 7. Repromised Land 2 4:32 8. Repromised Land 3 5:30 9. Repromised Land 4 8:11 LINEUP: Takuya Morita - keyboards, vocals Kazuo Katayama - drums Masami Katsuura - guitars Hiroaki Fujii - bass
Prolusion. Japanese band QUASER was originally formed back in 1976, and was an active live unit until disbanding in the early 80's. But following a decade of inactivity the members decided to give it a second go, and have been a going concern again since 1993. ":46" is their most recent production, and was released by JPRG Records in 2016.
Analysis. Quaser is among those bands that appear to explore whatever type of material they feel like doing, without having too many thoughts about just how it will be perceived in terms of a specific style orientation. Their affection for quirky song structures and instrument details that comes across as both challenging and demanding rather makes them a progressive rock band by default of course, and at least in this case I'd hazard a guess that the symphonic umbrella is the one that fits the band best of all. The keyboards have a lot to do about that of course. When the band leader is a keyboardist, that instrument does tend to take a dominating spot, and that is most certainly the case here. Takuya Morita is a deft hand at producing atmospheric laden textures just as much as demanding, expressive and quirky solo runs and layered sonic tapestries, and he isn't difficult to ask to provide some gentler, fragile piano interludes either. Vintage era guitar and organ combinations another exercise provided in something of a routine manner. Those fond of the more challenging aspects of vintage era symphonic progressive rock will find quite a bit to please their taste buds on this album, but Quaser isn't a one trick pony. Gentler, more ballad-oriented pieces have their place here too, as do harder edged affair that are arguably more progressive hard rock than symphonic progressive rock. And as the band enjoys adding a touch of jazz here and there, and then bassist Fujii in particular, having an open mind to that elements is probably something you need to be able to explore this album as a total experience. The album may be a bit too expressive for some on occasion though, the instrument details and arrangements perhaps a tad too intricate and too close to the borders of the chaotic in places. The lead vocals will also be something of an acquired taste: At least to western ears, they come across as somewhat dramatic, in a case kind of similar to what many Italian progressive rock bands tends to feature as well. Old fans of this band might also note that the concluding suite of this CD consists of material that was first explored on their album "Phase Transition" back in 2003. This time in a new version, and assembled in a suite rather than spread throughout the album.
Conclusion. Quaser's fifth studio production and sixth album overall documents a veteran band that are sure in what they want to do and how to go about it. While fairly broadly spread over the progressive rock spectrum, my main impression os that those with a taste for the more demanding aspects of symphonic progressive rock will be something of a key audience for this specific album. Especially if those into this type of music tends to find lead vocals delivered with something of a dramatic flair to be a good thing.
Progmessor: May 26th 2018
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