Koenjihyakkei Hundred Lights of Koeji

"Wow” is the first word that comes to mind within the first few seconds of Hundred Lights of Koenji. That feeling of utterly incalculable amazement doesn’t let up throughout this 1994 reissue’s duration. Koenjihyakkei is essentially the Japanese punk version of Magma. If you know what that means, you’ve probably already pissed your pants in excitement. Citing the French prog legends as their primary influence is about as accurate as it gets. Band leader/drummer/multi-instrumentalist Yoshida Tatsuya, who has transformed his vision into still-active band Ruins, composes all his lyrics in a fictional tongue and employs heavily operatic choral vocal arrangements, mind-bending polyrhythmic drumming, sometimes chiming, sometimes searing keyboard lines and ridiculously mathematical, precise and sonically experimental guitar and bass lines. Decisively funkier than their Magma mentors, "Gepek” shows off a dark, guttural pulse reminiscent of Faith No More at their most insane. With no tracks touching the eight-minute mark, it’s amazing how much intense progressive madness is crammed onto this disc. This reissue is a blessing for Western audiences who wouldn’t otherwise have access to the genius of Yoshida Tatsuya. (Skin Graft)