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Shogun Kunitoki: Vinonaamakasio | Review

I was brought to this album with a sentence “these guys just use church organs, but it won’t be like you think”, and I couldn’t think of a better way to explain them. A mixture of synth-rock of the eighties, latest electronica and marching drum beats, it all equals in this climatic-all-of-the-time record, superfluously following the steps of Ray Manzarek of The Doors fame.

What you get from the first introductory track, is what you’ll be listening through the rest of the album, only with more power. Main motifs are always the same, the church organs creating the sonic jungle in which you are thrown into.

Other motifs are scarce, and usually feature a set of electronica sounds, just to serve as a minimal intro before the power drums + organs combination comes blasting one more time. The church organ is the main tool here, and you’ll be hearing it in various instrumentations, with music movements going back and forth from progressive rock to electronic.

What you will hearing most of the time is the loud drumming with a cacophony of sounds produced by the organs, creating a somewhat harsh and discordant sound, and once the album starts it doesn’t give you any pauses until its climax ending during the “Nebulus” track, leaving with you with a high pitch noise present at the end, possibly a homage to the same high pitched ending present in the “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles.

While this sounds as much as a new as a new album can sound, one cannot shake a feeling that the entire album rests on huge foundations made by the krautrock and acid rock in the past. The album itself has no tracks that stand out of the whole by themselves, as the entire album is dependant on the “beginning to the ending” feeling, as if it’s a one 35 minute track. Indeed, it just might have been what the band wanted.

One downside to this is that there is a certain level of monotony present, which is definitely hard to avoid with the tempo that regularly shifts to half beat, then moving to double beat, or having being forced to listen to the same set of tones all of the time. This is to an extent avoided by background noise, recurring organ motifs, but it’s still there. If it’s a statement, or simply an intention to poke the listeners in their ears, I’ll leave it for the band to decide, but the album thankfully contains enough theme changes for them not to be boring.

Speaking of other bands, there is one that cannot be avoided during this album (other than the Shogun Kunitoki themselves, of course). It’s The Doors. This whole sonic universe created by the Shogun Kunitoki on this album fits so perfectly with them, as if it’s the extended soloing done by Ray Manzarek on the “Waiting for the Sun” and “Light My Fire” being merged with the raw power of the band. This feeling is almost impossible to avoid… in fact, I believe there is no need for the word “almost” there. If you’ve ever listened to The Doors, you’ll regard this as some sort of instrumental experimentation that just screams Ray Manzarek.

As a conclusion, I cannot say anything chronically bad about the band, as I would have nothing to back it up. With a few listens the album gets in your mind, and the organ riffs are kind of hard to get rid off (if you’re to have a reason to want them out of your hand in the first place, that is). All in all, it’s a great listen,

Overall grade: 7 / 10