RYO OKUMOTO Coming Through (Inside Out 2002)
Ryo Okumoto is the keyboard player with Spock’s Beard, who have just
recently released their latest album ‘Snow’. He has assembled an impressive
array of guest musicians including Toto members Simon Philips (drums), Steve
Luthaker (guitar) and Bobby Kimball (vocals); Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard);
Glenn Hughes and famed session guitarist Mike Landau.
‘Godzilla vs. King Ghidarah’ could be a film score number, with a driving Hammond organ
underpinning some fabulous bass from Dave Carpenter. ‘The Farther He Goes,
The Further He Falls’ features drummer Nick D’Virgilio on vocals. This track
reminds me of King’s X, particularly on the chorus harmony vocals. ‘Slipping
Down’ is the first of three tracks to feature Toto’s Bobby Kimball on
vocals. Starting off with a Purplesque vocal intro and then developing into
a heavier Toto like feel, complete with a horn backing section and some
superb Hammond organ playing.
Glenn Hughes takes the vocal duties on ‘Highway Roller’ and it sounds like a Hughes rocker! He puts in a fine vocal
performance along with some neat soloing from Steve Luthaker, backed-up by a
70’s funk rock feel. ‘Coming Through’ is a mellower track with a sublime
vocal from Bobby Kimball. It builds in epic fashion and is, to my mind, one
of Bobby Kimball’s best vocal performances in many years. The eighteen
minute epic ‘Close Enough’ starts with more Hammond organ before Bobby
Kimball once again takes vocal duties. This is the most progressive track on
the album, with some wonderful guitar and keyboard interplay.
A very accomplished solo album, which highlights Okumoto’s keyboard
talents. The tracks are a mixture of hard rock and prog rock, which will
appeal to fans of classic rock bands like Deep Purple but also those who
enjoy latter day off beat rock like King’s X. Of course Toto fans will want
this as nearly all the band are present on most tracks!
Review by Jason Ritchie
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