[Neoclassical] Concerto Moon / Norifumi Shima (島紀史)
Man, there are a bunch of YouTube dumbasses commenting that Norifumi Shima "copied" Yngwie J. Malmsteen's style, and that somehow is all it takes to hurt his credibility. What a load of bullshit, because I hear no Malmsteen plagiarism of ANY sort, except for the surface areas where Shima does noodle around a bit, but that's typical of neoclassical/shred metal guitarists. At least when you listen to the first three Concerto Moon albums, this band is more atmospheric than your average Malmsteen album, with more emphasis on harmonies than just technicality, but of course, there's no denying that Shima is an incredible guitarist in his own right.

Above all, it's better to just say that one band was influenced, rather than supposedly ripping off another. There's nothing wrong with being influenced, because that's the first step to carving your own path, which shrinks competition. Ritchie Blackmore was already playing a lot of this kind of stuff before either Shima or Malmsteen even made names for themselves.
He's acting like Malmsteen a little too much on stage, but his guitar playing has a significantly larger classic rock vibe to it. Closer to Malmsteen's big example Ritchie Blackmore I say. I'd also say Shima is a bit more willing to take a step back if the song demands him to.
I don't like when people claim that any musician who happens to be heavily influenced by another is just a straight up clone. Shima definitely draws other influences in, as Agonymph said.
Not a bad version of "Take You to the Moon". My only gripe with Gate of Triumph is that it's mostly instrumentals. I did enjoy the fuck out of songs off the self-titled EP from 2004 and Savior Never Cry. Just something magical is missing from all of this...

Outdated, albeit informative biography on Concerto Moon's early years. Not sure why Takao Ozaki was out of the band, though. It also hints at the birth of Double Dealer.
Quote:The seemingly boundless enthusiasm for melodic metal on the part of Japanese fans is well known but the land of the rising sun is often also the birthplace of tremendous bands in this musical genre. Names such as Loudness, Anthem, Earthshaker, 44 Magnum and Bow Wow come to mind however none of these bands have gone about it quite as spectacularly as Concerto Moon. On the band's latest album, "Rain Forest", they present fourteen breathtaking songs which blend great compositional talent with technical virtuosity. Concerto Moon have managed to fuse the melodic feel of the 80's American metal scene with traces of modern influences while at the same time retaining a sound of their own. Influences such as Deep Purple, Rainbow, Malmsteen, Royal Hunt or Dio are clearly evident in the songs Concerto Moon are by no means standing in the shadows of such great rock paragons. They enhance their compositions with a unique, unforgettable flair and prove they are truly masters of their instruments.

Singer Takao Ozaki began his musical career as a guitarist at the tender age of thirteen. When he was 21 he joined a local band in his hometown, Kagawa. After moving to Tokyo he joined Dirty Doll, moving later to Zenith, one of the most popular Japanese bands in the Nineties. When Zenith gave their farewell concert in Autumn 1995, Ozaki met the guitarist Norifuma Shima with whom he founded Concerto Moon shortly afterwards.

Shima has been playing piano since he was four years old. In 1983 he happened to see a Rainbow video, which led the young musician to take up the guitar. Two years later he was playing an important role in the band Dion and formed the later, highly praised band Crystal Clear in 1994. After three eventful and formative years, Crystal Clear split up, yet within months Shima helped to form Concerto Moon. Shima's impressive style has already made him a guitar hero in his native Japan.

Besides Ozaki and Shima, the band also comprises of bass player Kosaku Mitani, drummer Ichiro Nagai and keyboard player Toshiyuki Koike. Bass player Mitani began playing with various school bands and joined the popular Emerald Aisles in 1983. After he had met Shima and his band Crystal Clear in 1995, Mitani was the first choice when Concerto Moon was looking for a bass player. Drummer Nagai began his career as a percussionist in a brass band but moved on playing drums in various rock bands in his twenties. In 1996 he joined Concerto Moon as a guest musician but soon became a permanent member. Keyboard player Koike began playing piano when he was just ten years old. An interest in Heavy Metal developed and his fascination with Royal Hunt's Andre Andersen led to Koike switching to keyboards. During a tour in Summer 1997 he met Concerto Moon and joined the band in January 1998.

After the band was founded in Autumn 1995, Concerto Moon held their first concert in Osaka in July 1996. Two weeks later they caused a sensation at their very first show in Tokyo. In the following summer the band released their debut album "Fragments Of The Moon", which received an impressive 85 point rating in the revered Burrn! Magazine. The album release was followed by a successful Japanese tour and April 1998 saw them preparing for their second album, "From Father To Son", which was released in July. In December, Concerto Moon toured with the Finnish superstars Stratovarius and then began work on their third studio album, "Rain Forest". The band's back catalogue will be re-issued with bonus tracks by Limb Music to coincide with the new album's (also included three bonus tracks) release in April 2000.

News wise, Concerto Moon is currently looking for a new lead singer. Here is news clip from the LMP Website from March. Whilst CONCERTO MOON are still auditioning for a new singer, NORIFUMI SHIMA has started to record a new solo project at Bazooka 450 Studio in Kamikitazawa, Setagaya.
The members are as follows:
Norifumi Shima (guitar) from Concerto Moon
Takenori Shimoyama (vocals) from Saber Tiger
Yoshio Isoda (drums) from Saber Tiger
Kohsaku Mitani (bass) from Concerto Moon
Toshiyuki Koike (keyboards) from Concerto Moon
SABER TIGER is also one of the greatest HR/HM bands in Japan, so this is a super dream project !!!
All lyrics are written in English. The project will finish recording 11 songs including one instrumental by the end of March. The album will be released in September and the project will make tour Japan after the release.
Dang it, I need to stop reading your reviews. Looks like I need to see if I can find some Concerto Moon releases on Spotify or YouTube. I've been hemorrhaging money lately with a few very expensive purchases. I need to stop the bleeding. But . . . I want to hear this stuff, too.... WTF?!?!?
Sure, there are a couple out there! YouTube has full uploads of their first three albums, if I'm not mistaken. Just be forewarned that the version of Fragments of the Moon that you want is not the one with the red cover, as it omits the song "Save My Own Life". The CDs themselves are super cheap, though.
Looks like Spotify has Angel of Chaos and Savior Never Cry.
Those are much later on in their discography, and the vocals aren't as strong. You can easily find the original pressing of Fragments of the Moon at less than twenty dollars.
Yeah those albums aren't bad by any means, but they're not really anything special either. As Painkiller says, they're a lot weaker vocally. Also, I like the blend of progressive power metal and classic rock on their early releases, those albums on Spotify lean heavily towards power metal. Again, not bad, but not as excellent as their early work.

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