03-18-2017, 04:39 PM
Artist: Concerto Moon
Release: From Father to Son (1998)
Concerto Moon is one of the best Japanese bands I've ever heard, and definitely ranking among some of the BEST power metal in existence. They've defied all trends, simply by doing what they do best, and that's making intelligent, unique music in their own way. While you could say that founding guitarist Norifumi Shima obviously was very much influenced by Yngwie J. Malmsteen's playing, the truth of the matter is that he has a much greater scope of imagination and feeling than Malmsteen ever could muster in all his time as a worldwide success in the guitar virtuoso industry. Most guitarists are usually full of themselves, and want all the attention to go to themselves. Shima's riffs and compositions are definitely standouts, but he also lets other musicians stand out. The keyboards are also more prominently used than most of Malmsteen's music, which includes even the 1980s classics.
Above all, what makes Concerto Moon unique to me is that at least on the first three albums, there's such a tasteful, neoclassical/shred metal edge to them that is even further complemented by the soulful vibratos of original vocalist Takao Ozaki, who's definitely not a name to mess around with. He impressed me greatly on Fragments of the Moon, and he continues to do so on From Father to Son, albeit a little more melodramatic this time. The main difference between the two albums is that whereas the former is closer to classic, atmospheric heavy/power metal, the latter is more sentimental and based on a bit of a conceptual sound. The album covers for both albums are also just incredible, incredible stuff.
"Dream Chaser" starts off the album, and it doesn't disappoint in the slightest that it's a worthy fast song with some great riffs that will stick to you immediately. It gets even better on "Moonlight After the Rain", which is probably the highlight of the album for me. As I said previously, this album is more on the emotional side, and the song itself lives up to that hype. Such a grand chorus, and I love how complementary to the overall feel of the music that the keyboardist and the drummer are. I've had to replay this one song in particular several times in a row to get it out of my system. For the time being, at least!
Of course, there are other incredible highlights, with the next one up being the heavy, intense "Inside Story". Ozaki during his grittier moments sounds a little bit like King Diamond on the chorus, and it's such a fitting comparison. The song is an in-your-face kind of deal. "One and Only" is the first quality dip on the album, but if you can stomach the average ballad, then you'll actually enjoy this song! I actually like it, but it's not as memorable or as moving as "Moonlight After the Rain", for instance. The title track does a whole lot to make up for that slightly forgettable tune, with a more symphonic edge that would sound impeccable on a classic Stratovarius album. The key riff reminds me a bit of Anthem's "Soldiers", although the chorus is a bit different, at least. Definitely another highlight of the album for me.
"Somewhere in Time" and "Into the Fire" are other excellent songs, but by the time that you hear the EPIC closer, "Change My Heart", the bar is set at an all-time high since "Moonlight After the Rain". As far as I know, "Change My Heart" was originally debuted on the band's 1997 live album, Live Concerto. A few other songs from that set would also be placed on other albums. Anyway, just a fucking masterpiece of a song to close off such an overlooked album by this glorious band.
Above all, a truly amazing album that I can never get sick and tired of playing. The production is just about right, balancing the pros of both the 1980s and what was current at the time of its release. I like From Father to Son about as much as its predecessor, Fragments of the Moon, but if I had to choose just one, I'd still go with the debut album on the strength of being my first time listening to this band, and it was definitely a wonderful experience.