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Tamami Yamamoto - Lead Vocals
Wappa Gappa: A Myth
Image © 1996 Musea
 
 

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 excursions.

You can order Wappa Gappa's A Myth from amazon.com here. Their debut album appears to be available through the band's own website.

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 listen!

 
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