January 23, 2022

The rather curiously titled Rachel Mother Goose is a Japanese neoclassical band with large elements of power and symphonic rock incorporated into their glorious and all action style. A new name to me, the band was formed in 1999 by the band’s guitarist Hideshi Ueki with Synra Bansho now being the bands sixth album to date but Ueki is now the only remaining founding member as the musicians have been changed at regular intervals with the band even been touted as a solo project at one stage.

It seems that the band’s earlier albums were very much neoclassical affairs influenced by Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen with Blackmore being a most excellent role model for Ueki to take his influences from. The second album Nadir was released in 2002 and even at such an early stage in the band’s career everyone from the debut except Ueki had gone which means that he is a very hard task master or ever in search of new musicians and fresh ideas but, then again, he just may want everything done his way! In 2014, when the band became a solo project, Ueki brought in several musicians who are still with the band today including the South Korean vocalist Sunghoon Kim; keyboard player Takumi Matsubara and bassist Kaz Nakamura and in 2018 the drummer Hiroki Hori joined the band making this the line-up that the band has today.

The PR for the band states that they have moved away from the neoclassical roots to become more of a progressive melodic hard rock band but they seem more power/symphonic to me and still with a very strong neoclassical sound at the heart of the band. Indeed, the use of choirs and orchestration to some of the musical passages gives a distinct flavour of Rhapsody Of Fire especially so as they are another over the top band with a mercurial delivery and a truly huge and epic score. As should probably be expected, the guitars of Hideshi Ueki are very prominent and he proves himself to be quite an amazing shredder with his sounds and lead breaks that are very much in line with the works of Yngwie Malmsteen and Axel Rudi Pell. However, he is also very much a team man and as vital as his guitar is to the essential band sound he is very willing to share the work load so there are lots of amazing keyboards of the Jon Lord/Tony Carey variety from Takumi Matsubara and the interplay between Ueki and Matsubara is truly amazing. Sunghoon Kim impresses too with his clean, powerful and totally accent free vocals and his soaring and upbeat style is most definitely a great asset to the band but I think the band would benefit from having a voice a little more prominent in the mix.

As mentioned earlier, this is a new band to me but there is more than enough on this very fine and hard rocking album to ensure a thorough examination of the back catalogue is in order. If you are a fan of bands like Rhapsody Of Fire, Stratovarius and Vision Divine then you are going to love Rachel Mother Goose.

Synra Bansho

  1. Rachel In Wonderland (1:19)
  2. Under 500 Million (5:31)
  3. Why So Serious? (4:29)
  4. Kotodamaist (6:58)
  5. Amatsu Kaze (5:05)
  6. Summon The Instinct To Fly (5:17)
  7. My Ascending Day (5:37)
  8. The Clock Is Tickin’ (6:08)
  9. The Sixth Sense (6:32)
  10. Dainsleif (5:51)
  11. Tomorrow Is Another Day (3:13)
  12. The Earth Bounder (European Bonus Track) (3:30)