Ah, it’s good to be back after taking a few days off! Compiling that Top 50 was an extremely rewarding task, as well as a ton of work, but it also got us thinking: “what else could 2023 possibly hold?”
Well, in that spirit, let’s start off the year right with something truly out there – the brilliance of Koenjihyakkei, and the infinitely rewarding concept of something called ‘Zeuhl.’ These thrilling Japanese prog juggernauts are headed by the legendary drummer Yoshida Tatsuya, and today we’re stoked to announce the ultimate rerelease of 2001’s Nivraym.
Nivraym, heralded as a flagship Koenjihyakkei album in the past, resurfaces here in a different way than one might expect – it’s far from a simple remaster, and of course, you can always count on SKiN Graft Records to pull out all the stops when it comes to these kinds of things. For a quick and to the point preview, incinerate yourself with the revised, revisited, and gorgeously reupholstered version of “Axall Hasck” below.
The differences between the two versions of Nivraym range from the subtle to the striking, with rerecorded drum tracks, additional overdubs, and new flourishes throughout. Koenjihyakkei even went ahead and re-arranged the track listing, which really changes the whole journey when you think about it, but in the end, what we’re seeing is Tatsuya’s purest expression of zeuhl to date. There’s also a trio of bonus tracks to sweeten the deal, each of which were recorded at Japan’s Club Goodman.
Zeuhl, for the uninitiated, is perhaps most simply described as the amalgamation of progressive rock, symphonic metal, jazz fusion, and neoclassicism, often performed at tempos akin to punk and hardcore. There are probably a lot of bands we’re into that fall into that category, but to be honest, zeuhl is a new term for us. Maybe we’re secretly kind of a zeuhl blog? Sometimes?
You never know with us.
Also, just in case you need a reference for just how different the remaster sounds compared to the original, check out the original version of “Axall Hasck” and everything else above. Flipping between the two, it shouldn’t take you much time to figure out why the new version is so exciting, and an excellent way to kick off the year.
Like most of the recent SKiN Graft rereleases, the Nivraym reissue comes with thoughtful, bespoke packaging, including posters and options for vinyl variants… and you know we mean that because we literally hate the word bespoke and wouldn’t break it out unless the occasion called for it, in a ‘break in case of emergency’ kind of way… anyway. We’ve got all sorts of stuff coming up this year, but we’re going to take the next week or so to organize our imminent WEST COAST / PACIFIC NORTHWEST COMP! WOO! Check out the pre-order here, with the album due out this February 17th. Also, buy us a coffee sometime this year here. Thanks for reading!