The power-trio ARS NOVA (Keyboards, bass & drums) can be seen as the female answer to GERARD, another emblematic band of the Japanese Progressive rock scene. Both of them actually pay tribute to the great bands of the Seventies, from EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER to TRACE, from classical music to BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO. On "The Goddess Of Darkness" (1996), the symphonic keyboards reveal the obvious talent of charming Keiko KUMAGAI. "The Book Of The Dead" (1998) is the Musea version of an instrumental concept album "Reu Nu Pert Em Ru", dedicated to ancient Egypt. Those apparently fragile women perform a truly structured and refined music, whose loud progressions harmoniously blend with elaborated arrangements. Issued in 2001, "Android Domina" shows some of those ladies' more secret sides, with pictures and suggestive vocals ! This is a masterpiece of organ-trio... With the experience acquired in six studio albums and more than a decade playing together, it's obvious that the group of charming keyboards player Keiko KUMAGAI had to go a step further. "Biogenesis Project" (2003) clearly achieved that goal with style ! The list of guest players is a who's who of the genre: Alex BRUNORI (LEVIATHAN) on vocals, Lucio FABBRI (PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI) on violin, Atsushi HASEGAWA on bass and Masuhiro GOTO on drums (Both from GERARD), Gianni LEONE (IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO) and Claudio SIMONETTI (GOBLIN) on keyboards, Robert ALLEN narrating... And that list is endless ! Nothing strange if that concept-album reminds of the best works by AYREON, as Arjen Anthony LUCASSEN and his typical guitar gimmicks are here too ! As far as the vocals are concerned, the all-instrumental formula is replaced by lyrics as good in English as they are in Japanese or Italian. More powerful and virtuous as ever, ARS NOVA's music gained density, with well-crafted arrangements and impressive science-fiction themes. "Chrysalis - Force For The Fourth" (2006) gives Keiko KUMAGAI the opportunity to take an overview upon her fifteen-year-long carreer. Six tracks were carefully selected within ARS NOVA's discography, then replayed live in studio by herself plus her mates Masuhiro GOTO (GERARD's drummer) and Shinko SHIBATA (bass). Satoshi HANDA's guitar is also noteworthy, as it revitalizes compositions that were already quite punchy indeed. Published in the year 2009 on the Musea label, "Seventh Hell" may well put the listener on cloud nine ! And especially if the latter is fond of vintage keyboards... You can trust Keiko KUMAGAI to provide loads of authentic Seventies sounds. Here are five long pieces in the grand arsnovian tradition, including one 17 minutes-long suite, "Salvador Syndrome". The latter is here to honour a tradition made famous by the Musea label: a specific bonus-track for the european version. Let's also mention a couple of guest-stars, such as hungarian guitar-player Zoltan FABIAN (AGE OF NEMESIS) and dutch keyboardist Robby VALENTINE. Simply outstanding !