A Myth is the second album from Wappa Gappa
(Musea (France) FGBG4250.AR, 1998). The album contains eight
symphonically-oriented progressive rock tracks. Production
quality is improved substantially over the first album,
primarily in the vocal mix, and is evident from the opening
track "The Lion Hearted King" (Shishi-Oh). One will
immediately notice how the instrumentals are knocked down
when Tamami Yamamoto's vocal begins. Instrumental arrangements
are more delicately produced with imaging much improved over
the band's debut (reviewed above). The booklet accompanying
the compact disc contains stunning photographs of the band's
members and English translation of the songs' lyrics.
Wappa Gappa's passion for soaring excursions during
instrumental bridge featuring guitar and keyboard solos
and time signature changes continues into A Myth.
From Progression, "Female vocalist Tamami Yamamoto
has a sweet earnestness about her delivery that's quite
endearing. While everything is sung in Japanese, her
sense of conviction shines through." Vocal work is stunning
in all respects, however, the strong Asian influence in
"The Banquet" (Utage) does not seem to fit into the style
of the rest of the album.
While comparisons have been made to Quidam and Nexus
in the music press, this is no more evident than in the
orchestrally arranged ballad "No Mercy" (Mujou) which
grows with passion during the song's choruses. The
style is equally apparent in the soaring vocalise
of "Pilgrimmage of Water" (Mizu No Junrei), with
Tamami's incredibly clear lead vocal. This delicate
style is also present in the acoustic guitar-based
introduction to "The One and Only" (Yui Itsu) before
the heavy electronic instrumental arrangement begins.
Powerful soaring vocals seem to perfectly compliment
the arrangement. "The Underground" is an impressive
progressive rocker driven by thick guitar and somewhat
subdued vocals. Melody and time signature variations
add to the track's interest.
The epic 12+ minute title track is somewhat reminscent
of Renaissance, combining Annie Haslam-style vocals with
Yes-like instrumental arrangements. Very enjoyable as
a progressive instrumental with loads of variation within
its construction, the track features equally stunning
soaring crystalline vocals by Tamami Yamamoto. A Myth
concludes with the symphonic track "Floating Ice" (Rhuhyo).
An atmospheric and ballad-like vocal introduction ultimately
surrenders to a more dynamic progressive rock sound with
typical Wappa Gappa time signature changes and instrumental
You can order Wappa Gappa's A Myth from amazon.com
here. Their debut album appears to be available through
the band's own
Wappa Gappa appear to stand apart from their Japanese
contemporaries (eg, Providence and August); this is
most evident in their songwriting and the symphonic textures
produced in their arrangements. The group have also
emphasised Tamami Yamamoto's vocals in the tracks, and
this is especially apparent in their second ablum.
The album will clearly appeal to female vocal enthusiasts
and fans of progressive bands Quidam (Poland), Nexus
(Argentina), Sagrado (Brazil) and Vermillion Sands (Japan).
Certain to appeal to a broad range of
progressive rock enthusiasts, their second album joins
their first and—worth a cross country journey—is a must