Shingetsu (1979)

Great late 70’s Japanese prog. A very light sound throughout the album that occasionally enters neo-prog territory. In fact, Shingetsu might be the first neo-prog band in music history (in a tasteful, non-terrible kind of way). The Genesis influence is incredibly evident on a few songs, particularly in the guitar and keyboard. The first song “Oni” may be the best on the album and sincerely does sound like some long lost track that Tony Banks and Steve Hackett performed on, except instead of Peter Gabriel it’s some Japanese guy. The middle of the album gets more into synths and that neo-prog sound I mentioned earlier, somewhat reminiscent of the Marillion albums that would come a few years later. Vocals are good throughout, always soft and relatively low in the mix. The last two songs on the album “Night Collector” and “Return of the Night” are some other highlights, managing some pleasant dramatics without getting cheesy. I believe this was the only studio album Shingetsu ever released, and fans of Genesis and Marillion or those who don’t mind the softer side of prog will probably find something to like here.