Seventh Seal to inne wcielenie projektu Ohkami No Jikan, za który odpowiedzialni byli przede wszystkim dwaj weterani japońskiej sceny psychodelicznej: Asahito Nanjo i Makoto Kawabata. Pod szyldem Seventh Seal nagrali w 1997 roku tylko jeden, szerzej raczej mało znany album składający się wyłącznie z trzech utworów, który okazał się kolejną interesującą pozycją w niezwykle zróżnicowanym świecie japońskiej psychodelii.
The Seventh Seal is a Japanese collective that grew out of two of guitarist Kawabata Makoto's other bands: Mainliner and the Acid Mothers Temple. All of Seventh Seal's similarities to those two bands ends at the personnel, however; the music that this band makes has nothing whatsoever to do with guitar-driven electric rock overload, but instead with slowly unfolding psychedelic trance music powered by electric guitars, percussion, and other strings - most notably Makoto's violin and sarangi. This self-titled album, like the guitarist's Inui album, contains three long tracks, the last, "The Fifth Substance and the Four Elements," is a four-part suite. Listeners would not be remiss to reference a more powerful, less noodling version of Ghost, a more basic, less exploratory Can, and slightly raw, less acoustic version of Florian Fricke's Popol Vuh. The elements of repetition and overtone droning saturate these proceedings, giving them a dark, otherworldly feel, while the electric guitars root them in some of the early Velvet Underground experiments. However, Seventh Seal sound like none of the above; the aforementioned referent are only for the sake of locating something familiar in this very accessible yet very strange and beautiful music. Drones aside, the shimmering guitar interplay between Makoto and Asahito Nanjo is stunning. There is no overt soling, only call and response drones and pulled notes that Nanjo occasionally answers with an organ! The intensity is almost overwhelming by the end of each side, but it builds gradually, shrouded in mystery, feedback, and deep, low, throbbing basslines that seem to accent the cymbal and tom-tom-only percussion. To call this an underground classic is understating the case as only a few hundred people have ever heard this disc and it's long out of print. In ten years this will be considered "the" experimental rock record of the 1990s, and deservedly so - it's a masterpiece. (amg)