drkreviews
drkreviews
ÐARҞESŦ REVIEWS
REVIEWS OF J-ROCK MUSIC AND NOT ONLY!
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drkreviews · a month ago
The song Zangai is really dark. Do you know more about the meaning, inspiration? Thanks very much
Hi, you mean the song by Buck-Tick? If you’d like, I can make a post talking about it :-)
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drkreviews · 2 months ago
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Album Selection of 2020 | December
Concerto Moon - Rain Fire (09.12.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Tears of Messiah (2017)
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Concerto Moon is one of the most renowned metal bands in Japan, despite their several member changes and their link with a older era of the genre. In their fifteenth album, the fourth work since Watashi Haga joined the band, the band shows that they didn’t lose their fiery energy, bringing a powerful and compelling sound, driven by animated vocals and notable guitar riffs. Concerto Moon is definitely something Japan should be proud of.
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TRACKLIST
Long Way to Go
Rain Fire
Run for the Light
Waiting for you
The Night Tells Thousand Lies
Burnt Society
False Confidence
Rise and Fall
The Next Moment of Grief
Mirror Design
Junna - 20x20 (09.12.2020) [★★★★★]
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At just 20 years old, the pop singer Junna has already shown of possess an incredible talent and much charisma, a rare thing for Japanese female voices. Debuted in the idol band Walküre, she went beyond her limits, delivering a series of releases, one better than the other. Her second album fortifies her style, in a mix of pop-rock, dance, electronic and ballad, where Junna’s living and fierce vocals always stand up in each theme featured. Junna has all the skills for becoming even more relevant in the scene and deserves to be more recognized.
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TRACKLIST
Ware wa shousetsu yori mo kinari (I’m stranger than a novel)
FREEDOM -Never End-
Sleepless
La vie en rose
Iru imi (Reason for being)
Namiuchigiwa (Beach)
Now or Never
Kono yubi tomare -20x20 ver.-
Abayo Yesterday (Goodbye yesterday)
Sky
Ima (Now)
Sugizo - Ai to Chouwa [Love and harmony] (23.12.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Oto (2016), Oneness M (2017)
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Well, Sugizo doesn’t need to be introduced, but his work is always well appreciated and enjoyed, since it embraces each possible musical horizon. In his latest album he brings his own inspiration and creativity within ten different tracks, going from sumptuous and ethereal instrumental compositions to several duets with other Japanese musicians, giving a vast choice of talents to look into. Sugizo manages once again to communicate unique emotions with his music, reflecting also the hard times we’re living into.
REVIEWS: Truth? (19.11.1997)
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TRACKLIST
Nova Terra
Childhood’s End
A Red Ray (ft. miwa)
Tsuioku (Reminiscence)
Endless -Yami wo koete- (Endless -Beyond the darkness-) (ft. Ohguro Maki)
The Gates of Dawn
Mindfulness
Charon -Shichi no Bongo-
Hikari no hate (Light of life) (ft. Aina The End from BiSH)
So Sweet So Lonely
Masaharu Fukuyama - Akira (08.12.2020) [★★★★]
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Maybe some of you have heard the name Masaharu Fukuyama related to Japanese pop music, but few people knows that he is actually the best-selling male solo artist in Japan, an aspect which could raise his interest for his music. His latest album, released for celebrating his 30th anniversary, features a cheerful and nice pop sound, mixing catchy rhythms to more passionate ones and accompained by Masaharu’s skilled vocals, making his popularity in Japan quite justified.
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TRACKLIST
Akira
Kurayami no naka de tobe (Fly into the darkness)
Kakumei (Revolution)
Popstar
Hyouryuu seyo (Whether dritfing)
Tomoe Gakuen
Shippai-gaku (Failure study)
Koshien
Bou-tsu (Dawn)
Shinon (Heart sound)
Shiawase no salad (Happy salad)
1461-nichi (1461 days)
Seiiki (Sanctuary)
Itterasshai (Welcome)
Rei -Zero-
Hajimari ga mata hajimatte yuku (The beginning begins again)
Kanata de (Beyond)
Majiko - Sekaiichi shiawase ni hitori bocchi [The happiest loner in the world] (02.12.2020) [★★★★]
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Starting her career as a cover singer on Nico Nico Douga, Majiko saw her career flying quite high, thanks to a bunch of albums made of a peculiar sound, quite unusual to find. Her latest album brings on a mix of dancing themes, alternative rock melodies and simpler pop tracks, driven by Majiko’s clear and shaded vocals, confering also an indie-ish vibe in each track. If you are looking for
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TRACKLIST
Sekaiichi shiawase ni hitori bocchi
23:59
Kamisama demo arumaishi (I am not a god)
Once upon a time in Tokyo
Escargot
Katte ni shi yagare (Do whatever you want)
Majo no rule (Witch’s rule)
Hoshi ni tatoeba (A star for example)
Ichiou watashi mo naita (I cried too)
Grim
Angel number
-HONORABLE MENTIONS-
Mai Yajima - Heaven Knows (02.12.2020)
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The first mention is for the Japanese metal artist Mai Yajima, who has already unleashed her own energy nine months earlier. Compared to the previous release, in this mini-album there’s a major focus on Mai’s vocal skills, driving compelling and refined metal themes, made of passion and virtuosism. Mai Yajima is an unstoppable force and we hope to hear more of her.
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TRACKLIST
Vermilion Crime
Kagerou (Ephemeral)
Mother
Magnolia
Circus
Phoenix
Damian Hamada’s Creatures - Kyuyaku makai seisho dai II sho [The Old Testament of Hell -Chapter 2-] (23.12.2020)
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The second mention is for Damian Hamada’s solo project, which already shown its potential in the previous month. While in the first part their sound works quite well to introduce the band and the members’ skills, in the second one there are several tracks lasting more than four minutes, a good ground for showing what each member is able to do, between powerful riffs, complex rhythms and sustained vocals, in an exquisite style variety.
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TRACKLIST
Angel of Darkness
Deepest Red
Shingetsu no minuet (New moon minuet)
Megami to shinigami (The goddess and the death god)
Ma koujou kourin -Birth of death, Death of birth- (The Advent of the Demon Princess -Birth of death, Death of birth-)
Which Do You Like?
Wakana - Wakana Covers -Anime Classics- (09.12.2020)
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The former Kalafina member Wakana makes into the third mention of this last month, after having already featured about ten months earlier. This time she shines herself into a series of covers of famous anime songs, all fulfilled with Wakana’s unique grace and a noteworthy melodic component. This album is ideal for breaking with all the pumping and energetic music we listen to every day.
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TRACKLIST
Toki ni wa mukashi no hanashi wo (Sometimes old stories) [Tokiko Katou]
Yasashisa ni tsutsumareta nara (If wrapped in kindness) [Yumi Matsutoya]
Rain [Yui]
Inochi no namae (Name of life) [Yumi Kimura]
Yatsura no ashioto no Ballad (Ballad of their footsteps) [Kaori]
Get Wild [TM Network]
Kaze no toori michi (Road of the wind) [Joe Hisaishi]
Kimi wo nosete (Carrying you) [Azumi Inoue]
Ai ni dekiru koto wa mada aru kai (Is there still anything you can love?) [Radwimps]
Yume no yukue (Direction of dreams) [Emiko Shiratori]
That’s all for the last year’s album selection! Continue to follow me here on Tumblr and on my Youtube channel, for more exciting reviews!
Thanks for all the follows/likes/reblogs!
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drkreviews · 3 months ago
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Album Selection of 2020 | November
Angelo - [Evolve] (11.11.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Factor (2015), Resonance (2018)
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The visual kei band Angelo has been quite prolific in the last years, releasing at least an album per year. This thing hasn’t changed with the twelfth album, which features an energetic and various sound, including catchy melodies, aggressive notes and charismatic vocals. Angelo may appear to be formulaic, but if their style works and always delivers, why not give it a chance?
REVIEWS: Rebirth of a Newborn Baby (18.04.2007), The Freak Show (21.12.2007), Design (06.10.2010), Faith (analysis), Resonance (14.11.2018)
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TRACKLIST
Enter the NEOPHASE
Swallow
:evolve
Cell Division
Amon
An Endless Multiverse
Teardrop
Haru no kaze (Spring breeze)
Missing Link
All for you
Revival of the Era - Nephthys (04.11.2020) [★★★★★]
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On 2017 a new band, named Revival of the Era, has quietly formed, but nobody could expect that their sound may have been so powerful and fascinating at the same time. Their first mini-album is made of energetic and virtuous metal sound, with strong orchestral shades and chilling vocals, creating suggestive and powerful tracks, which always surprise the listener. This band surely represents a new phase of the visual kei scene and we will surely follow them.
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TRACKLIST
Nephthys (ft. Cazqui)
Outbloom
Prada
Desert
Division Point
Ayame (Iris)
Atom -Nephthys ver.-
Tears of Tragedy - Trinity (25.11.2020) [★★★★★]
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Tears of Tragedy is one of the most appreciated metal bands in Japan and it’s always good to hear something new from them. After three years of absence, the band comes back with an album, made of compelling compositions, driven by an awesome guitar work, passionate vocals and a good keyboard work, which characterizes each track.
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TRACKLIST
Trinity
Nonsite
Yuugen (Mystery)
Innocent gram
Anonymous
Outsider
After song
No.05
Frost flower
Toki ni kagami wa uso wo tsuku (Sometimes the mirror is lying)
Chronometry
Blindman - Expansion (11.11.2020) [★★★★★]
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In a time when old bands decide to get back into the stage with something new, Blindman definitely fits the current musical scene. Their first album in two years tries to introduce their sound to whoever doesn’t know them and the final result is definitely awesome, with strong rhythms and energetic vocals domaining over the rest, bringing an atmosphere remindful of 90′s heavy metal.
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TRACKLIST
Love Drifter
Angel Smile
Promise of Love
Tonight
Over There
Never Say Never
One Step Closer
Your Melody
In the Autumn Wind
Solitude
I’m Falling Down
Damian Hamada’s Creatures - Kyuyaku makai seisho dai I sho [The old testament of Hell -Chapter 1-] (25.11.2020) [★★★★]
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Damian Hamada has been the main guitarist of the Japanese metal band Seikima-II for about three years, but afterwards he became quite popular as musician. Recently he came up with a brand-new project led by himself and composed by quite unknown musicians and released the first of two mini-albums for introducing their music to the audience. In this first work there are many promising elements, such as the refined instrumental work, an energetic guitar work, gothic shades and flowing vocals, making this project worth of interest.
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TRACKLIST
Seiei (Holy poem)
Babel
Heaven to Hell
Running like a Tiger
San-mai no shoumakyou (Three sacred mirrors)
Lady into Devil
Sacrifice of Love -Omo yo, hito no yokubou no kanashimi yo- (Sacrifice of love -Lord, the sadness of human desires-)
-HONORABLE MENTIONS-
Rename - Instinct (04.11.2020)
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Only the die-hard visual kei fans can remember the indie band Masked Rider System, which lasted about five years. Akira, the band’s singer, started a new project in the following year, whose first album came out only on 2020. The sound can be associated to many visual bands, but at the same time there’s something refreshing behind each note, accompained by a deep voice and an unpredictable approach, alternating fast themes with more romantic and jazzy ones.
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TRACKLIST
erode
Loose
Gross
Fula
void
Inu no uta (Dog song)
elegy Elegy
Stigma
anemone
miserable
a crowd of rebellion - Zealot City (11.11.2020)
Already appeared with: Ill (2018)
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The alternative metal band a crowd of rebellion is slowly becoming one of the most riveting acts of the moment. Their latest album is a confirmation of their always growing style, but also a link with the past (there are three re-recorded tracks), incorporating shocking colors, distinct vocal performances and an awesome technique, giving to each track an unique identity, going from aggressive to catchy in a single blow. This band should be kept an eye on.
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TRACKLIST
Meteor
Muzaisha (Innocent)
Under the Split Tree
°OD。
SLANDER.
QED
Up to me
Bless by Blue
coelacanth
Alone//Dite
Keep the Day
Mania
Stick VS MADDOG
hAngedmAn_A
Interlude-(NOT FOUND)
〔←REDO.〕
The Crow (Re-recorded)
Rebellious Behavior (Re-recorded)
A Malice of Rider (Re-recorded)
Hotei - Soul to Soul (25.11.2020)
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It’s impossible to not have listened a song composed by Tomoyasu Hotei at least once and his style is pretty hard to forget. The seventeenth album is a set of collaborations with several artists from Japan but also from the West, each one bringing a different touch to Hotei’s majestical work, bringing on a mix of pop, rock, dance and ballad, worth of being experienced, especially if you love to listen to music without obligation.
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TRACKLIST
Soul to Soul (ft. Kobukuro)
Dangerous (ft. Kazuya Yoshii)
Find a Way (ft. Incognito All Stars)
Lotus Flower (ft. Zucchero)
Great Messenger
BoomBoomBoom (ft. Yang Kun)
I Don’t Wanna Lie (ft. Kiyoshi Hikawa)
Battle Without Honor or Humanity -Solid Groove- (ft. Nate Smith)
Live on (ft. Marc Lavoine and Calogero)
Savage Sun (ft. Glim Spanky)
Battle Without Honor or Humanity -Battle Samba- (ft. Carlinhos Brown) 
TO BE CONTINUED...
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drkreviews · 3 months ago
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Album Selection of 2020 | October
Wagakki Band - Tokyo Singing (14.10.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Yasou emaki (2015), Shikisai (2017), Otonoe (2018)
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Following about two years, intervalled by singles and an EP, Wagakki Band comes back with a brand-new album. Their sound appears refreshed and invigorated, thanks also to a stronger connection with the Western music (there’s a duet with Amy Lee of Evanescence), where Yuko’s awesome vocals and the incredible instrumental work in each track are the best features. Wagakki Band is back to bringing more of their unique colors and notes in a world which really needs it.
REVIEWS: Vocalo Zanmai (23.04.2014), Ikusa (analysis), Yasouemaki (02.09.2015), Shikisai (22.03.2017)
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TRACKLIST
Calling
Ignite
Reload dead
Ikitoshi ikeru hana (Living flowers)
Gekka bijin (Queen of the night)
Sakura Rising (ft. Amy Lee)
Guernica
Tokyo Sensation
Origami-ism
Atena no nai tegami (A nameless letter)
Nichirin (Sunflower)
Eclipse
Singin’ for...
Loki (MikitoP cover)
Yae - On The Border (07.10.2020) [★★★★★]
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Yae is known mostly for her songs being used for the videogame Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, but actually she has a respectful career, featuring a bunch of albums and singles. For celebrating her 20th anniversary, she brought up a work which totally breaks all the barriers of common music, between acoustic guitars, crystalline notes and Yae’s powerful vocals (she sings also in Spanish). An album made for everyone, for who has the heart and the soul for enjoying a timeless music, going beyond time and space.
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TRACKLIST
On The Border
Yoru no bara (Rose at night)
Kasshoku no samba (Brown samba)
Mirai e no uta (A song for the future)
Gracias a la Vida
Tori no uta (Bird song)
Kurai hashike -Barco negro-
Sharom no uta (Sharom song)
Yashi no mi (Coconut)
Amazing Grace
Smile
Miage te goran yoru no hoshi wo (Look up at the stars at night)
Natsukashi tomoyo -Auld Lang Syne-
Mika Nakashima - Joker (07.10.2020) [★★★★]
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Mika Nakashima is known for having portrayed Nana in the live-action movies based on the famous manga, but nowadays she is definitely one of the most renowned female artists of Japanese pop scene. After three years, she comes back with a new album, bringing on several songs made of catchyness and positivity, alternating sweet melodies to more energetic ones and seeing collaborations with musicians like Hyde and Salyu.
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TRACKLIST
Nocturne
A or B
Kiss of Death
Good bye
Desire
So What
Justice
Mukunaru mono (Innocent things) [Marie starring Mika Nakashima]
Happy Life (ft. Salyu)
Sai_Ren (Siren)
innocent
Domino
Yo ga akeru mae ni (Before the dawn)
Niji ga detara kimi ni ai ni (I’ll see you when the rainbow appears)
LiSA - LEO-NiNE (14.10.2020) [★★★★]
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Another female singer who is rising up is LiSA, who has always brought a more rebellious and coloured image than most of her colleagues, and this reflects also on her sound, as seen in her 5th album. The album sees an energetic and animated sound, distributed between good riffs and a nice use of electronic, along with LiSA’s clear and passionate vocals, which can become even deeper when it is needed.
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TRACKLIST
Play the world (ft. Pablo)
Gurenge (Red lotus)
Harere butai (Fine stage)
Makotoshiyaka (Plausible)
cancellation
Aijou (Love)
Akai wana -who loves it?- (Red trap -who loves it?-)
Wagamama ket sea (Selfish cat-sìth)
unlasting
Adamas
1-Senchi (One centimeter)
Howl
Beautiful World
rem†non†rem - 0.01 (01.10.2020) [★★★★]
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Formed on 2017, the visual kei band rem†non†rem might seem one of the many coming and going, but despite everything, their latest work demonstrates that they shouldn’t be underrated. Their sound is quite peculiar, remindful of 90′s visual kei era, a forgotten but still appreciated style, made of nostalgical and gloomy notes, accompained by enigmatic vocals and a mysterious concept. If you are a listener who still lives into the past, this band should be in the playlist.
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TRACKLIST
Lost...
Deep Forest
Regeneration
Deterioration
Redemption
Paradise Lost
Fall & Sleep
Confession
...Find
-HONORABLE MENTIONS-
Tricot - 10 (21.10.2020)
Already appeared with: Kabuku EP (2016)
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The first mention is for the all-female math rock band Tricot, which achieved ten years of career, celebrated with the release of an album. Each track has an unique and unpredictable rhythm, well shaped by the drum work and the energetic guitar riffs, driven by light and passionate vocals, confirming the great harmony that these four girls possess.
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TRACKLIST
Omae (You)
Summer night town
Warp
Hako (Box)
Chahan (Fried rice)
Agenai (Don’t give)
Itazura (Mischief)
Yuureibune (Ghost ship)
Laststep
Karada (Body)
Sokoninaru - Choetsu [Transcendence] (07.10.2020)
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Sokoninaru can be definitely considered one of the last revelations of Japanese music. Formed on 2011, this duo has a really unique style compared to other rock bands, with a sound embracing shades of progressive and hard rock. Their latest work focuses mainly on the intensity brought by their sound, where the guitars create an incredible effect, between hard hits and piercing riffs, along with paced rhythms and quite mature vocals, shaping up each song in an unique way. Sokoninaru can definitely boost the Japanese rock scene.
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TRACKLIST
Lament moment
Mirage
Complicated system -new system ver.-
Avoided absence
Tenbin no ue de (On the balance)
Kyokugen wa setsuna (The limit is a moment)
Eien no sabaku (Eternal desert)
White for
Black to
Kyono - S.A.L (21.10.2020)
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If you know the alternative metal band The Mad Capsule Markets, you definitely know Hiroshi Kyono, former vocalist of the band, who since the disbandment, has been working on a solo project, named Wagdug Futuristic Unity, which became quite popular on the West thanks to several collaborations with renowned metal musicians. Recently he came up with a new album, released under the name Kyono, which brings up a mixed style, hanging between electronic, hardcore, punk and rap metal, delivering energetic and powerful tracks to listen to all in one breath.
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TRACKLIST
S.A.L
Stucked System
The Way (ft. Kj from Dragon Ash)
Stay Glow (ft. Takuma from 10-FEET)
Drive
Wipe out
In the Morning
Sailing the Life
Phase
Wonderful World
The Way -Kyono ver.-
Stay Glow -Kyono ver.-
TO BE CONTINUED...
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drkreviews · 3 months ago
Text
Album Selection of 2020 | September
Dexcore - [Metempsychosis.] (30.09.2020) [★★★★★] *REVIEW*
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Although they have formed only about four years ago, Dexcore have already estabilished their own status within the visual kei scene, thanks to a powerful and distinctive sound. Their first full album summarizes at best what they are able to do, with energetic themes, accompained by unique vocals and shades of experimentation, in seventeen tracks of pure metal energy.
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TRACKLIST
[Metempsychosis.]
Dragout.
Replace our Souls
Collapse -2020-
Breath
the Ground
Scribble
Two-Dimensional
Don’t be Afraid -2020-
U.N.Know
「T.c.b.t.s」 
Demise
Truth=Betrayal
Period
Cibus (ft. Ryo from Crystal Lake)
Needle in the Dust
Visitor
Buck-Tick - Abracadabra (21.09.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Atom Miraiha no.9 (2016), No.0 (2018)
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The veteran band Buck-Tick is back to shake off things after two years from their last album, heading back to their roots, such in a way. In their latest work, their sound maintains the gritty and enigmatic vibe which always characterized them, but there’s also a pleasant electronic vibe, distributed on each track according to the style, driven by Atsushi Sakurai’s sumptuous vocals and a really refined instrumental work. If you are looking for something different, but also belonging to Buck-Tick, this album is definitely your choice.
REVIEWS: Jupiter (analysis), Kurutta Taiyou (21.02.1991), Romance (analysis), 13kai wa Gekkou (06.04.2005), Atom Miraiha no.9 (28.09.2016)
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TRACKLIST
Peace
Que sera sera Elegy
Urahara-Juku
Sophia Dream
Tsuki no sabaku (Moon desert)
Villain
Kogoeru -Crystal Cube ver.- (Freezing)
Maimu maimu (Mime mime)
Dance Tengoku (Land of dance)
Kemonotachi no yoru -YOW-ROW ver.- (Night of the beasts)
Datenshi -YOW-ROW ver.- (Fallen angel)
Moonlight Escape
Eureka
Boukyaku (Oblivion)
Hazuki - Souen -Funeral- (16.09.2020) [★★★★★]
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Everyone knows the energetic and compelling metal band named Lynch., but few people know that their singer, Hazuki, has also a solo project, which has recently seen a sparkle thanks to the first album. In this release he gives vent to his own creativity, managing from covers of known Japanese songs, including something of his band, to newer songs, all transformed into magnificient and deep ballads, each one with its own shade and well driven by Hazuki’s melting and touching vocals. Hazuki has definitely a softer side compared to what he does with Lynch. and we’d like to explore it more.
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TRACKLIST
Eternity
Phoenix
D.A.R.K.
Keibetsu (Despise)
Misshitsu (Closed room) (Buck-Tick cover)
Mizukagami (Water mirror) (Cocco cover)
Tsuki no shizuku (Moon droplets) (Shibasaki Kou cover)
Ray (Luna Sea cover)
Shijou no yurikago (Supreme cradle) (Kuroyume cover)
Another day comes (Pay money to my pain cover)
Tamayura no hi (Short-time lantern)
Climbgrow - Culture (09.09.2020) [★★★★]
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Climbgrow is a metal band formed on 2015, and since then they released some EP and two albums, both last year. The second one caught the attention thanks to a paced and energetic rock sound, well provided by a quite good instrumental work, along with Taisei’s piercing vocals, giving an unique spin to an already addicting sound. This band appears incredibly interesting and has all the cards for going even beyond.
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TRACKLIST
Tight Rope
Door
Senkou (Fast)
Suiseimushi (Drunk life, dream death)
Bang Bang Bang
Mont Blanc
Hello Goodbye (Newrec ver.)
Mother
Fall Out
September (Newrec ver.)
Mado (Window)
Dress o kite (Wearing a dress)
Smany - Illuminate (26.09.2020) [★★★★]
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Smany is a young Japanese electronic artist, active since 2013 and recognized more for her collaborations with other alternative projects, such as World’s End Girlfriend. In her second album since signing up with Virgin Babylon Records, she brings up an enigmatic sound, closer to dream pop, made of vibrant notes, shaded vocals and unpredictable changes of rhythm and atmosphere, leading up to an unusual and fascinating work of pop music.
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TRACKLIST
Dye the darkness
Blurry moon
w
Usagi -ft. Go-qualia- (Rabbits)
Yume (Dream)
Fall
Hide me
Himitsu -ft. World’s End Girlfriend- (Secret)
Illuminate -ft. Matryoshka-
Over
-HONORABLE MENTIONS-
Aldious - Evoke II 2010-2020 (30.09.2020)
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The first mention is for the Japanese all-female metal band Aldious, which has released the second chapter of their “back to the roots” project, started six months earlier. In this second disc, the band decides to reprise some of their recent hits, mixing up with the genres, going from thrash metal vibes to ballads and catchy hard rock notes. If this Evoke phase is a teaser of what Aldious has become, we can’t wait to experience what they have to offer.
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TRACKLIST
Luft (Wing)
Re:fire
Believe Myself
Reincarnation
Kanashii otoko (Dear friend)
Confusion
White Crow
Step
Fragile
Meme - Kokuu wo mitasu ether [Ether filling the void] (29.09.2020)
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The second mention is for the newest project led by the visual kei singer L, already know for his work in the bands Amber Bullet, The 3rd Birthday and Balalaika. This EP, exclusively in digital, shows off the band’s sound, made of creepy tones, piercing bass lines, pounding rhythms, energetic riffs and L’s compelling vocals, all filled into the seven tracks featured, bringing on an interesting variety. We can only hope that L’s latest gig will last even more than the other ones.
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TRACKLIST
Goku (Prison)
Yokujou Shangri-la (Lust Shangri-la)
Anthem
Kokuhaku (Confession)
Twilight
Viola Stigma
Montage
Inoran - Libertine Dreams (30.09.2020)
Already appeared with: 2019 (2019)
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Inoran, who most of you know as the guitarist of Luna Sea, came out with the eleventh album, made for celebrating his 50th birthday. The album is made of several genres, such as pop, rock and also ballad, mixing up energetic themes with more romantic ones, all of them working with a cohesive harmony. So Inoran is definitely a musician who makes well also outside the highlight of his band, ready to kick in with fresh and addicting music.
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TRACKLIST
Don’t Bring Me Down
Soul Ain’t For Sale
Libertine Dreams
Purpose
Missing Piece
Soundscapes
75
Kingdom Come
Shaking Trees
Dirty World
TO BE CONTINUED...
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drkreviews · 3 months ago
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Album Selection of 2020 | August
Kenshi Yonezu - Stray Sheep (05.08.2020) [★★★★★] *REVIEW*
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In the vastity of Japanese pop scene, Kenshi Yonezu is a incredible exception, thanks to a fascinating commistion between music and arts. With his fifth album, he confirmed to deserve his growing popularity, bringing up a nice genre variety on the plate, going from upbeat themes to more melancholic and nostalgical ones, helped by his compelling singing style. Thanks to this recent work, Kenshi’s music will definitely see a bigger audience, for a which exceeds the imposed limits of pop music.
ARTIST REVIEW
REVIEWS: Diorama (16.05.2012), Yankee (23.04.2014), Peace Sign (analysis)
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TRACKLIST
Campanella
Flamingo
Kanden (Electroshock)
Placebo (ft. Yojiro Noda)
Paprika
Uma to shika (Horse and deer)
Yasashii hito (Kind person)
Lemon
Machigai sagashi (Look for a mistake)
Himawari (Sunflower)
Mayoeru hitsuji (Stray sheep)
Décolleté
Teenage Riot
Umi no yuurei (Spirits of the sea)
Canary
Mary’s Blood - Re>Animator (26.08.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Revenant (2018) ,Confessions (2019)
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Like many other metal bands in Japan, even Mary’s Blood decided to take a turn from their musical path, releasing a cover album which quite reflects their own skills. The band chose to bring famous anime themes into a new life, filling them with energetic notes, strong rhythms and charismatic vocals, where the tones change according to the song’s style. These four girls could definitely make an anime opening of their own and this album is a strong confirmation of this.
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TRACKLIST
Pegasus Fantasy (Make-up cover)
Kouga ninpouchou (Ninja scroll of Kouga) (Onmyo-za cover)
Magia (Kalafina cover)
Syuukyoku Battler -Kouryoutaru shinsekai- (Final song battler -Desolate new world-)
Unravel (Tk from Ling Tosite Sigure cover)
Forever Love (X Japan cover)
Zankoku na tenshi no teeze (Cruel angel’s thesis) (Yoko Takahashi cover)
Invoke (TM Revolution cover)
Driver’s High (L'Arc~en~Ciel cover)
Exterminate (Nana Mizuki cover)
We Are! (Hiroshi Kitadani cover)
Nothing’s Carved in Stone - Futures (26.08.2020) [★★★★]
Already appeared with: Maze (2015), Existence (2016)
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Nothing’s Carved in Stone has built a solid image in their eleven years of career, bringing on a paced and refreshing rock sound. For their latest work the band decided to cover some of their most famous themes, in an album made of two discs, where their sound is the result of their maturity, including catchy themes and great rhythmic touches. This band has grown so much since their debut and there’s a lot of interest of what the future has in store for them.
REVIEWS: Parallel Lives (06.05.2009)
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TRACKLIST
DISC 1
New Horizon
Isolation
Spirit Inspiration
November 15th
Red Light
Rendaman
Hakutyuu (Day)
Out of Control
Like a Shooting Star
Kirameki no hana (Shining flower)
DISC 2
Dream in the Dark
Youth City
In Future
Brotherhood
Midnight Train
Around the Clock
Milestone
Pride
Tsubame Crimson (Swallow crimson)
Blue Shadow
Crystal Lake - The Voyages (05.08.2020) [★★★★]
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Staying on the subject of self-cover albums, the metal band Crystal Lake has repurposed some of their old songs, precisely the ones made with Kentaro Nishimura as singer, this time empowered and modernized by Ryo’s harsher tone, along with a more refined sound and an improved technique. Despite being a brand-new release, Crystal Lake managed to make it fresh and addicting, and we can’t wait to hear more of their music.
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TRACKLIST
Fabricated Refuge
Twisted Fate
Open Water (ft. Daniel McWhorter and Takashi Uesugi)
The Passage (ft. Kentaro Nishimura)
The Burden
Freewill
Innocence
Daylight (ft. Go Nakaharada)
Voyages
Into the Great Beyond (ft. Kentaro Nishimura)
Arlequin - The laughing man (19.08.2020) [★★★★]
Already appeared with: Utopia (2016)
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After four years made of a bunch of singles and a mini-album in the middle, the visual kei band Arlequin delivers a full album, disproving whoever thought that their sound had become boring. The album is made of distinct songs, ranging from energetic ones, which see a reinforcement of the rhythmical component which characterized them since their debut, to passionate ones, mixing cheerful and aggressive notes without any effort. If you think that visual kei has nothing to offer, maybe Arlequin’s latest work will surprise you.
REVIEWS: Near Equal (12.11.2014), Dilemma (25.02.2015), Utopia (08.06.2016), Puzzle (analysis), Exist (15.03.2018)
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TRACKLIST
In the Mirror
Veludo
Ikasama (Trickery)
Sora ni ochiru (Falling into the sky)
Kasabuta (Scab)
Todome wo sashite (Stop it)
Fireworks
Himawari (Sunflower)
Kimi to no Aida ni (Between you)
The laughing man
-HONORABLE MENTIONS-
Seventeen Years Old and Berlin Wall - Abstract (05.08.2020)
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The first mention of the month is for the not-so-known shoegaze band Seventeen Years Old and Berlin Wall, active since 2015 and become quite notable thanks to the indie music platform BandCamp. Their latest EP sees a really enigmatic sound, with shaded notes, electronic vibes and a cohesive rhythm, creating an unique atmosphere, driven by an awesome vocal work by the singers Yusei Tsuruta and Eriko Takano. Literally made for shoegaze lovers and not only.
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TRACKLIST
Rakuen wanai (There’s no paradise)
Paraglide
Machi no tobira (Doors of the town)
Touketsu-chi (Frozen land)
Darekaga ita umi (Someone by the sea)
Tounen (Ten years)
Tatsuya Kitani - Demagog (26.08.2020)
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Tatsuya Kitani might not be a familiar name for you, but maybe you know the Vocaloid band Sajou no hana, whose he is the bassist. Between a single and the other, he has found time to shape up a solo project of his own and releasing also some album. The latest one offers a catchy pop-rock sound, well driven by his good vocals, along with electronic, dance beats and funky vibes. Tatsuya Kitani may be another name which can rise within the Japanese pop scene and this album is definitely worth checking.
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TRACKLIST
Hide and Seek
Panopticon
Dead Weight
Humanlike
Bad Dream
Demagog
Lotuses
Spoilman - Body (05.08.2020)
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The final mention is for a pretty indie rock band, Spoilman, active since 2019 but came out only last year with an album. Their sound is quite adrenalinic, with roots into noise and punk rock, empowered by quite heavy vocals, energetic riffs and bass lashes, making each track more pumping of the previous. Spoilman can definitely shake the ground of Japanese rock and they deserve more recognition.
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TRACKLIST
Amaryllis
Declaration
Ghost
Inner Haze
Sunday
Drunken Man
Cloudy Eyes
Monotonous
Comfortable
Life is REM
Body
Pail and Ladder
Rampage
Woodcutter
Utonagan
TO BE CONTINUED...
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drkreviews · 4 months ago
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Album Selection of 2020 | July
Boris - No (03.07.2020) [★★★★★] *REVIEW*
Already appeared with: Dear (2017), Tears EP and LφVE & EVφL (2019)
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Boris has redefined each possible concept of rock music in their whole career, giving to the noise itself an own shape. Even in an unlucky year like 2020, their music is still there for our enjoyment and in their 25th album, the band went back to their most hardcore roots, in a series of energetic and compelling tracks, intertwined into aggressity and unique depth. And according to the final track’s title, we should expect to hear a sequel of this album, hoping that is as powerful as this one.
REVIEWS: Boris at Last -Feedbacker- (25.12.2003), Akuma no uta -2nd issue- (2005), Pink (analysis), Dear (14.07.2017)
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TRACKLIST
Genesis
Anti-Gone
Non Blood Lore
Temple of Hatred
Kagami -Zerkalo- (Mirror)
HxCxHxC -Perforation Line-
Kiki no ue (Top of crisis)
Lust
Fundamental Error (Gudon cover)
Loveless
Interlude
Unlucky Morpheus - Unfinished (29.07.2020) [★★★★★] *REVIEW*
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If you’re into the Japanese metal scene, you have heard of the singer Fuki, whose name has accompained the audience in leading bands like Light Bringer, Doll$Boxx and Dragon Guardian. Unlucky Morpheus is her latest act, started as a touhou band and became quickly popular thanks to their riveting original works. In the fifth album of the original series, the sound is energetic and virtuous, featuring powerful guitar notes, melodious themes and Fuki’s charismatic vocals. Unlucky Morpheus is an awesome mix of charisma and mystery, ready to be experienced.
BAND REVIEW
REVIEWS: Hypothetical Box Act 2 (05.05.2010), Black Pentagram (analysis)
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TRACKLIST
Unfinished
Unending Sorceress
Near the End
Kago no tori (Bird in cage)
Salomè
Make your Choice
Top of the “M”
Dogura Magura
Carry on Singing to the Sky
Ryuichi Kawamura - Close to you (08.07.2020) [★★★★]
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Ryuichi Kawamura, other than being the singer of the famous Japanese band Luna Sea, is also prominent with his solo project, which led him to release several albums and singles since 1997. On 2020 he released two distinct albums, whose first generates more interest thanks to the peculiar focus on ballads and romantic themes. Warm shades, various melodies and Ryuichi’s charismatic and passionate vocals make this album an enjoyable experience for who loves romantic music and not only.
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TRACKLIST
Another Sky -Mou hitotsu no sora ni-
Kono kaze ni ho wo hirogete (Spread the sail in this wind)
Your heart
Close to you
Beyond the starry
Sunao na mama de (Stay honest)
Hikari no wa (Ring of light)
Light my Way
Your Happiness
Silent Bell
Zygote - Revived Relic (15.07.2020) [★★★★]
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Zygote is a Japanese metal band formed on 2013, which always stayed under the indie radar. Recently the band started coming out, releasing a short but compact EP, showing off their sound in the best way possible. Energetic riffs, lively vocals and psychedelic shades, worth of a 80′s thrash metal band, Zygote definitely deserves a chance, thanks to a style which can satisfy whoever loves some good metal.
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TRACKLIST
Metal Road
Deadly Diver
Strange Stray Sails
Enigma
Liphlich - Yorozu no yoru ni naku sharekoube 2 [Cranium Creation 2] [★★★★]
Already appeared with: Hebi de are o kurae and Hatsumei (2016), Club Fleuret (2017)
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Liphlich is one of the few visual bands to have reinvented themselves in each their work, delivering extravagant and fascinating themes. Another good feature of their sound is their unique touch in acoustic arrangements, as shown in their first acoustic compilation on 2015. Five years later the band releases the second volume, reprising older songs (plus featuring a brand-new track), where the dark and enigmatic aura of the original versions leaves the place to warmer and more sensual versions, empowered by Shingo’s compelling vocals and a refined instrumental work. Liphlich never stops surprising their own audience, even if they are bringing back old tunes.
REVIEWS: Lost Icon’s Price (05.09.2012), Full Course wa sakasa kara (02.10.2013), Great Nonsense (analysis), Skam Life (24.06.2015), Vlack April (19.04.2017), Youki na noir (26.07.2017)
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TRACKLIST
Yorozu no yoru (Man’s night)
Hatsumeika A (Inventor A)
Manic Pixie
Sangenshoku Dada (Three primary colors Dada)
Seizokugai (Holy town)
Daikeikaku (Great plan)
Race
Ouroboros
Un Deux Trois You Die
Fleuret
-HONORABLE MENTIONS-
Yuki Koyanagi - Sphere -Tama uchuu- (01.07.2020)
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The first mention for the month goes to the prominent pop singer Yuki Koyanagi, who released a brand-new album after thirteen years of absence. The album mixes up a series of genres, going from ballads to jazzy tunes, driven by Yuki’s clear and astonishing vocals, managing to entertain in each track. Yuki’s comeback will bring more energy within the Japanese pop scene.
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TRACKLIST
It’s Show Time
Quantum mechanics
Pluto
Prelude
Sideway -Heikou sekai- (Sideway -Parallel world-)
Sphere (ft. H.E. Demon Kakka)
Hajiroboshi (Venus)
Anata no kiss wo kazoemashou -You were mine- -2020 ver.- (Count your kisses -You were mine-)
Exist†Trace - The Only Garden (29.07.2020)
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Another comeback worth to be mentioned is Exist†Trace’s one, returned on the stage after four years with a new mini-album. The all-female metal band didn’t lose their own style, alternating from energetic tracks to more paced ones, showing the great skills from each member and providing a contained but various choice of tracks, fulfilled with charisma and a distinct technique.
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TRACKLIST
Existence
I’m still not dead
Acacia
Selection
Power of “One” -vocal retake ver.-
Garden
Darrell - Brilliant Death (01.07.2020)
Already appeared with: Darxness (2018)
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The visual metal band Darrell was destined to become even stronger, thanks to a notable frontman like Ai and a good musical support. But with their latest work the band decided to balance themselves between past and future. The release features two discs, where in the first one there are two new songs, made by a compelling and obscure energy, and the second one is a sort of “self-cover album”, featuring several hits of Deathgaze, Ai’s former band, revisited in a darker and more adrenalinic style, showing the unique skills of each member.
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TRACKLIST
Disc 1
Brilliant Death
Too Late To Cry
Disc 2 -Deathgaze covers-
Evoke the world
Blood
Ring the Death Knell
Useless Sun
Shi sakura (Dead cherry flowers)
Sorrow
Dearest
Abyss
Rihitozoire
Yami ni ame fuhai shita sekai (Rain in the darkness, corrupted world)
TO BE CONTINUED...
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drkreviews · 5 months ago
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Album Selection of 2020 | June
Mucc - Aku -Justice- [Evil -Justice-] (10.06.2020) [★★★★★] *REVIEW*
Already appeared with: T.R.E.N.D.Y. -Paradise from 1997- (2015), Myakuhaku and Houmura uta -Shin- (2017), Kowareta Piano to Living Dead (2019)
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Mucc is one of the most prolific bands of Japan, still ready to kick in with something new and never afraid to experiment and getting beyond the conventional music limits. Their fifteenth album marks a definitive return to their roots, building up complex and emotional themes, all driven by the energy and the intensity which this band has always provided. If you need something to boost up your days, Mucc’s latest effort is definitely your choice.
REVIEWS: Antique (25.12.1999), Kuchiki no tou (01.09.2004), Libra (analysis), Yue, ni matenrou (10.09.2014), T.R.E.N.D.Y. -Paradise from 1997- (24.06.2015), Heide (15.06.2016), Classic (14.09.2016), Kowareta Piano to Living Dead (13.02.2019)
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TRACKLIST
Aku -Justice-
Crack
Ameria -Aku mix-
Kamikaze over Drive
Kurage (Jellyfish)
Friday the 13th
Cobalt
Sandman
Memai -ft. Hazuki from Lynch.- (Vertigo)
Super Hero
Self Hate
Alpha
My World -Aku mix-
Sei to shi to kimi -Aku mix- (Life, death and you)
Spica
Koochewsen - Mysterious Flight (17.06.2020) [★★★★★]
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Active since 2008, Koochewsen estabilished a remarkable role within the Japanese rock, with their psychedelic notes and dreamy atmospheres, mainly inspired by bands like Pink Floyd. Their second album brings altogether complex and articulated themes, accompained by piercing bass lines, incredible vocal performances and gritty guitar notes, giving to each track an unique identity. Wrapped under a mysterious aura, Koochewsen is one of the reasons why the Japanese musical scene is still to be discovered.
REVIEWS: Compact (13.05.2015)
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TRACKLIST
Mystery
Shine
Self Abduction
Theme of Courtship
Last Train Going to the Far End of Love
Endless Summer -Chinese ver.-
Starship in the Closet
Kiss Me Like an Illusion
milet - Eyes (03.06.2020) [★★★★] *REVIEW*
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The young singer milet represents another side of the current Japanese pop scene, made of unpredictable shades. Having spent most of her life in Canada, her experience grabs a bit from the West and another bit from the East, mixing up everything in a style easy to recognize. Her first full work summarizes at best her music in the latest two years, bringing catchy and quite compelling pop melodies, all well driven by her husky and fascinating vocals. Given the popularity she gained with her appearance in several anime themes, we will definitely hear more of her.
REVIEWS: Inside You (06.03.2019), Us (analysis)
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TRACKLIST
Again and Again -Eyes mix-
Parachute
Koukai zenya (Eve of the voyage)
Somebody
Inside You
Drown
You & I
Grab the Air
STAY
Dome
Tell me
Wonderland
Us
Prover
Unti I Die
Without your Love
Fire Arrow
The Love We’ve Made
Good on the Reel - Te o te [Hand to hand] (17.06.2020) [★★★★]
Already appeared with: Hikari ni mamirete (2018)
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Good on the Reel is one of the most famous acts in Japanese indie rock scene and their sound is still fresh and strong after fourteen years of career. On their latest EP the band focuses more on bringing easy and flowing rock tracks, underlined by an articulated guitar work and simple vocals, fitting for any kind of listener, who is looking to enjoy good and simple music.
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TRACKLIST
Te o te
Kindan no kajitsu eiga (Forbidden fruit)
Akai lip (Red lip)
Kimi no tomodachi (Your friend)
Sena kaawase (Back to back)
[Alexandros] - Bedroom Joule (21.06.2020) [★★★★]
Already appeared with: ALXD (2015), Sleepless in Brooklyn (2018)
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After thirteen years of successful career, the alternative rock band [Alexandros] decides to step into a quite riveting direction, explained also by the departure of the drummer Shomura Satoyasu. In this release, their first conceptual work, the band brings their sound into a more acoustic and intimate side, with revisitations of some of their hits, all re-recorded from the members’ respective houses, because of the pandemic. [Alexandros] definitely knows how to overcome music limits and to reinvent their style each time and we’re ready to see what’s in store for them, now that are only in three.
REVIEWS: Kill me if you can (analysis), ALXD (17.06.2015), New Wall (20.04.2016), Swan (24.08.2016)
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TRACKLIST
ar
Starrrrrrr -Bedroom ver.-
Run Away -Bedroom ver.-
Leaving Grapefruits -Bedroom ver.-
Thunder -Bedroom ver.-
Gesshoku Horizon -Bedroom ver.- (Moon-colored horizon)
Adventure -Bedroom ver.-
City (ft. Pecori)
pr
Rooftop
Mayonaka -Bedroom ver.-
-HONORABLE MENTIONS-
Kotone - Kyousouka [Racing] (24.06.2020)
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The first mention of the month is for the first full work by the young pop singer Kotone, known for being winner of several musical festivals. She debuted on 2018 and since that moment she definitely got noticed thanks to her deep and chilling voice, which drives this album, made of electronic vibes and melodious tones, empowered by her awesome interpretation. Soft and bright like few, Kotone will definitely break into Japanese pop scene.
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TRACKLIST
Sakanai hana (Not blooming flowers)
Ima (Now)
Anata no you ni naru tame ni (Being like you)
Kyousouka
Iza, saa (Come on)
Shinkaron (True value theory)
The Moon is Beautiful
Shiroku nuritsubuse (Filling in white)
Kimi wo shitta kara (I knew you)
Kitto ai da (I’m sure it’s love)
Asu e no tegami [Teshima Aoi cover] (Letter for tomorrow)
Kinou yori (From yesterday)
Bo Ningen - Sudden Fictions (26.06.2020)
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The Japanese music is really famous for having seen weird combinations which bring on unexpectedly good results. Bo Ningen is a band you couldn’t expect to get into, since their genre is alternative/noise rock, but mixed up by psychedelia and, whether you believe it or not, rap, thanks to Taigen’s incredible flow. Their fourth album is incredibly hard to define with common musical terms, but it is incredibly articulated and variegated, with a sound made of piercing bass lines, resonant beats and bizarre tones, along with Taigen’s versatile and fascinating voice. This band is definitely something you will have difficulty to forget.
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TRACKLIST
You Make a Mark Like a Calf Branding
Aka (Red)
Silenced
Zankoku (Cruel)
Minimal (ft. Bobby Gillespie)
Kyutai (Sphere)
Kuzurenai (Not collapsing)
B.C
Riff
SRMZCEK - Ogdoad (24.06.2020)
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Remaining into the experimental side, there’s another project which is becoming more and more relevant. Composed by Yu Shiromizu, member of bands like I Love You Orchestra and Kagero, and the pianist Chieko Kikuchi, SRMZCEK is an instrumental act whose roots are into the most mysterious and obscure sides of music. In the first album there’s a focus on eerie sounds and dim atmospheres, bringing chills and also a bit of musical ecstasy, draining the listener into a brand-new world.
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TRACKLIST
Nun
Naunet
Amen
Amaunet
Kek
Kauket
Heh
Hauhet
TO BE CONTINUED...
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drkreviews · 5 months ago
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Album Selection of 2020 | May
Ray - Pink (23.05.2020) [★★★★]
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Ray, Japanese band composed by four young girls, with pretty faces and nice clothes, typical concept of most pop acts of the scene, the only thing is that they are not a pop act, but their genre is definitely maturer. Their first album is a clear example of this; strong guitar lines and good electronic shades accompany the tracks, driven by a light and shaded voice, building up themes with an uncommon structure, closer to Western shoegaze bands. Ray is one of the bands you wouldn’t expect to get into, but when it happens, it’s easy to enjoy their sound.
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TRACKLIST
Fading Lights
Butterfly Effect
Sekai no owari wa kimi to futari de (The end of the world is with you)
Blue Monday
Nemophilia
Meteor
Toutoshi anata no subete o (Precious all of you)
Hoshi ni negai wo (Wish upon a star)
No Title
Generation
Silhouette
All I need is love
Slide
Satellite
Mama. - Ningen shikkaku [No more human] (27.05.2020) [★★★★] *REVIEW*
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Mama. is one of the most rising visual kei acts of the recent years, born from the ashes of the short-lived project Morphine. Following up a series of decent singles, the band released a mini-album showing off all the features of their sound, alternated between heavy and soft, with energetic lines and good vocals, where the songs don’t appear dull as they would seem. Mama. have a long path next to them and the time will say if they will be able to rise up within the scene.
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TRACKLIST
Ningen shikkaku
Kansen (Infection)
Yubi asobi (Finger play)
Murder Red Chainsaw
Shinjuu uta (Heart song)
Urami harasade o kubebika (Envy or sickness)
Toko Miura - Asterisk (25.05.2020) [★★★★]
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Toko Miura is not a name people would normally know, but if you are a fan of Radwimps, you should know that she became quite popular for having joined as guest vocal in the song Shukusai. Delicate vocals immersed in soft and touching melodies are the main ingredient of her first mini-album, a simple but passionate product of pop music, worth to be listened.
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TRACKLIST
Uzu (Swirl)
Ai ni dekiru koto wa mada aru kai? (There’s something I can love?)
Mitsubachi (Bee)
Ochitsuke (Calm down)
Nami ga tatta (Only the waves)
Blue Hawaii
FISHANDCHIPS
Foad - Returner (09.05.2020) [★★★★]
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The Japanese metal scene is growing more and more every day and Foad is another important name to add to the list of the most promising bands. Their first work in two years brings up an adrenalinic sound, completed by compelling rhythms, along with piercing vocals and unpredictable shades distributed in each song, showing that Foad has an own technique and energy, distinct from the other bands of the genre.
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TRACKLIST
Grey Goo
Lucid Dream
Tsukuyomi
Dive to the Ground
Belong to the Sky
Wheel of Life
Nirvana
Leo Ieiri - Answer (13.05.2020) [★★★★]
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Considered as one of the best voices of Japanese pop, Leo Ieiri always distinguished herself for her soft but really efficient tone, making her fit for any kind of sound. In her latest EP she brings her voice into a series of catchy and fresh tracks, featuring both slow and fast notes, according to the situation, and never fails in building up a solid final result in each one of them. Light and swift as few, Leo Ieiri is surely one of the faces of Japanese pop’s future.
ARTIST REVIEW
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TRACKLIST
Answer
Kosumosu (Autumn cherry flowers)
Swallowtail Butterfly -Ai no uta- (Swallowtail butterfly -Love song-)
Kanashimi no hate (The end of sadness)
Pop Star
Naku kamo shirenai (May cry)
-HONORABLE MENTIONS-
Daisuke Kurosawa - Black Album 3 (06.05.2020)
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The first mention of the month goes to the musician Daisuke Kurosawa, known as a composer for the GuitarFreaks & DrumMania series and also for owning a cover band. Since 2013, he started a series of albums, which this is one is the third, bringing his talent in rock and metal music within his works. The final result is a solid instrumental album, made of an interesting mix between electronic and nice rock notes.
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TRACKLIST
Giga Drive -long ver.-
Kill Trap
Dairoku tenmao (Demon king of the sixth heaven)
Tenka touitsuroku (Memoir of the unification)
Banana Fusion
Field Seven
Metamorphose
Subliminal Delusion
Dos Ninos
Time Limit 10 PM
Muscle Soul - Freedom at Your Field EP (13.05.2020)
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Muscle Soul is a not so known post-rock band based on Nagoya, whose musical style is closer to shoegaze, but including also alternative shades. In their newest EP, composed only by four tracks, their sound is shown through articulated rhythms, featuring vibrant guitar lines and electronic notes, and fascinating vocals, providing an unique aura in each song, in a really good musical product.
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TRACKLIST
Wonder
Clearance
Behind the Light
Freedom at Your Field
Saki - The One (27.05.2020)
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If you know the Japanese female metal band Cyntia, you should know that the former singer Saki has started a solo project following the band’s hiatus. Her first album summarizes at best her style, which doesn’t have lost the energy which accompained her in the past, combining energy and charisma in a single blow, all in a metal key. Saki joins some other colleagues of hers in building a promising project such as her previous band and we couldn’t be more happy of that.
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TRACKLIST
The One
Desolate Heart
Raise your Flag
Fight
Nameless Night
Shooting Star
Genkai lovers (Limit lovers) [Show-Ya cover]
Glitter
Days
Monologue.
One
TO BE CONTINUED...
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drkreviews · 5 months ago
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Album Selection of 2020 | April
Outrage - Run Riot (15.04.2020) [★★★★★]
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Formed on 1982, Outrage is one the most important exponents of Japanese thrash metal, going on with an incisive sound, allowing them to become more popular even oversea. Their fourteenth album sees an energetic and refreshing sound, with compelling guitar riffs, dynamic rhythms and powerful vocals, bringing up a high rate of adrenaline in each note. Outrage is reaffirming their status of veteran band, still having a style which is appreciated even nowadays.
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TRACKLIST
Edge of a Blade
Blood and Scars
Hot Rod Immunity
The Way We Are
Silver Screen Hero
Cyclops
Machete III
Supernatural Outlaw of the Cosmic Void
Science Spirit Hits
Are You Ready
Matenrou Opera - Chronos (22.04.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Chikyuu and Phoenix Rising (2016), Pantheon -part 1 & part 2- (2017), Human Dignity (2019)
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A lot has been said about Matenrou Opera, between style changes and members departing, but their style never faded at all. The band evovled a lot, enclosing new shades without betraying their essence. In their latest EP there’s a major focus on dynamic themes and powerful rhythms, brought up by the presence of the talented guitarist JaY, and also on vocal performances, as Sono gives literally everything for each track, alternating raging and clear notes altogether. Despite everything, Matenrou Opera are still alive and kicking and we are here to taste each note of theirs.
REVIEWS: Anomie (24.06.2009), Justice (analysis), Avalon (03.09.2014), 3Jikan (analysis), Burning Soul (21.10.2015), Chikyuu (20.01.2016), Phoenix Rising (19.10.2016), Pantheon -part 1- (12.04.2017), Pantheon -part 2- (15.11.2017), Human Dignity (27.02.2019),
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TRACKLIST
Chronos
Kiss
Silence
Reminiscence
Anemone
Suzue - Rakuen [Heaven] (29.04.2020) [★★★★★]
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Would you ever thought that a Shintoist priestess might have become a full-time singer? The answer is Suzue, born in Brazil but grown up in Japan, whose spiritual world went in touch with music, bringing all the themes of Shintoism into her songs. In her latest album there’s a concentration of folk melodies, having their roots in traditional Japanese music, accompained by Suzue’s crystalline voice, touching the heart in each performance. If you truly love Japan and his ancient culture, Suzue is definitely a must.
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TRACKLIST
Mizu no melody (Water melody)
Rakuen
Hokutoshichisei (Great Bear)
Blessing
Utakata -Sign of Luna- (Foam -Sign of Luna-)
Tokowakano mori (Forest of eternal youth)
Toyoashiharano Mizuhonokuni (Japan)
Sakuramichi (Cherry road)
Prayer of the Flowers
En no kizuna (Bonds of edge)
Inaba/Salas - Maximum Huavo (15.04.2020) [★★★★]
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On 2017 Hiroshi Inaba, singer of the famous Japanese band B’z, and the Native American musician Stevie Salas started a new-project, indeed named Inaba/Salas, leading to an unusual fusion between two distinctive styles. In their second album the style offered is groovy and refreshing, with good rhythms and living vocals, building up catchy tracks, really hard to forget and to not enjoy.
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TRACKLIST
Mujo Parade (Ruthless parade)
U
Kyonetsu no ko (Mad child)
Violent Jungle
Boku no yume wa (My dream)
Demolition Girl
Irodori (Color)
You Got Me So Wrong
Bloodline
Take on Your Love
Celica
Celebration -Kanki no shisha- (Celebration -Emissary of joy-)
Scenarioart - Ever Sick (15.04.2020) [★★★★]
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Scenarioart has seen a good popularity for having some song used in anime themes and also because of a good mixture between pop-rock and electronic sound. Their third full-album, released after three years, brings up a series of catchy and animated tracks, featuring even some indie shade, well developed by the two voices of the trio, Kumiko and Hayashi, who intertwine their different tones in a pretty nice way, also in the most complex works. Scenarioart is not definitely the typical J-pop act you could expect, but it is even better.
REVIEWS: Dumping Swimmer (09.03.2016)
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TRACKLIST
Starside Syndrome
Ever Sick
Adahada Alien
It’s all right
Y.M.P
Whale Inside
Only Hero
Shibuya Meltdown
Blue Collar
Leap suru (Doing leap)
Beautiful Sunday
See you Neverland
Dried Flower -dramatic ver.-
Love Clone
-HONORABLE MENTIONS-
Rina Sawayama - Sawayama (17.04.2020)
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The first mention of the month is for one of the most promising acts of Japanese pop scene. Rina Sawayama, born in Japan and grown in England, is definitely a phenomenon, thanks to her image, against any stereotype, and an engaging and incredibly unpredictable sound. Her first full album mixes up several shades, featuring pop, R&B and rock influences, well driven by Rina’s charismatic voice, explaining the big success of the release, especially in West. Rina Sawayama’s music shouldn’t be missed and will give you a new perspective of Japanese pop.
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TRACKLIST
Dynasty
XS
STFU!
Comme des Garçons (Like the boys)
Akasaka Sad
Paradisin’
Love Me 4 Me
Bad Friend
Fuck This World
Who’s Gonna Save U Now?
Tokyo Love Hotel
Chosen Family
Snakeskin
Tamiw - Future Exercise (22.04.2020)
Already appeared with: Flower Vases (2018)
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The second mention is for Tamiw, a really peculiar alternative rock band. Active since 2018, the band released only an album, which showed their unique and experimental approach. Two years later, their second full work confirmed this style and evolved it a bit more, enclosing electronic shades and shoegaze touches, helped by Tami’s clear and enigmatic voice and a quite peculiar instrumental work. Tamiw is an act which should be followed more and their music can satisfy everybody, as shown in this album.
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TRACKLIST
Intro -At the end of the world-
Poor Boy
Future Exercise
Immigrant Song
(Don’t) think seriously
Difference
Are we both under the same sky?
Feeling the same
KanoeRana - Toutoi tokihana tareshi nijigenkasu (22.04.2020)
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The final mention is for a young Japanese pop singer, named KanoeRana, who can seem a typical pop vocalist, since her works are aimed to anime themes. But in this release, an anime cover album, she brings out all her best shades, since she is quite known for being ready to include any kind of musical influence in her songs, and the final result is above any expectation, with catchy and various melodies, driven by her brilliant and charismatic vocals, showing her incredible ability, despite being so young. We will definitely hear more of KanoeRana, who brings a new breath of fresh air into Japanese pop music.
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TRACKLIST
A Cruel Angel’s Thesis [Yoko Takahashi cover]
Adabana Necromancy [Franchouchou cover] (Unfruitful necromancy)
No, Thank You! [Ho-kago Tea Time cover]
1/2 [Makoto Kawamoto cover]
Happy Jam Jam [Omi Minami and Bin Shimada cover]
Pray [Tommy Heavenly6 cover]
Pre-parade [Rie Kugimiya, Eri Kitamura and Yui Horie cover]
Sirius [Eir Aoi cover]
TO BE CONTINUED...
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drkreviews · 5 months ago
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Album Selection of 2020 | March
Downy - Dai nanashukin shuu “mudai” (18.03.2020) [★★★★★] *REVIEW*
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Whoever is into the Japanese musical scene, can’t but have come into contact with the mysterious and complex music of Downy. The band came back for their 20th anniversary with a brand-new album, the first work since Aoki Yutaka’s death, building up a musical product which is impossible to define with the typical canon, but made of being experienced in all possible ways, thanks to a melancholic and dynamic sound, transporting the listener in a powerful and emotive journey. Few bands manage to break the limit between music and emotions and Downy with this seventh album has once again overcome such barrier.
BAND REVIEW
REVIEWS: Dai nisaku kinshuu “mudai” (22.05.2002), Underground (analysis)
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TRACKLIST
Contra-post
Shikai furyou (Scarce visibility)
36.2° 
Good News
Kazukatou (Sugar cube)
Geranium
Sajou, moyu. Zankou (Dune, scatter. Persistent vision)
Pianoid
Azayagu shiten (Vivid perspective)
Adaption
Stand alone
Yousei Teikou - The Age of Villains (25.03.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Shadow Corps[e] (2015)
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Yousei Teikou brings back their fairy and gothic concept to their audience after several years of absence, between member changes and a new musical awareness. Their latest album is composed with an unique and riveting structure, with an energetic and virtuous metal sound, empowered by Yui’s bright voice and a great work by the other musicians, providing the right energy song after song.
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TRACKLIST
A Treatise of Villainy: The Seventy-Two Villainous Truths (And One Blasphemy)
Autoscopy
Hitoya no maboroshi (Hell is not an illusion)
Iron Rose
Phantom Terror
Ransho Aion (Overrun eternity)
Eclipsed
Hell in Glass
Zetsu (Absolute)
Paradiso ≒ Inferno
Aru tsuioku, bouchou uchuu ni okeru shinkai sunawachi suiten (Memories, mandara and deep sea)
Sousou Friedian (Friedian funeral)
Kiyoharu - Japanese Menu/Distortion 10 (25.03.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Soloist (2016), Elegy (2017), Yoru, Carmen no shishuu (2018), Covers (2019)
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It seems that Kiyoharu’s music is a fixed presence in our radars. His will to experimentate, to surprise the listeners and to enchant with compelling and powerful performances allowed him to bring solid works each year and in 2020 he was no less. His tenth album, released for the 25th anniversary of his career, mixes up all his styles, going from energetic notes to melodious themes, featuring a bit of exotic and rebel vibe. Kiyoharu knows how to bring romanticism and potency with his sound, which is a must for true Japanese music fans.
REVIEWS: Poetry (08.03.2004), Under the Sun (07.11.2012), Yoru wo, omou/Charade (09.02.2017), Slow (analysis)
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TRACKLIST
Survive of Vision
Geretsu (Vile)
Outsider
Greige
Sakkaku Refrain (Illusion refrain)
Ryoujoku (Rape)
Senrei (Baptism)
Uso to oroka (Lies and stupidity)
Yume oi (Dream chasing)
Romantic
Boukyaku no sora -25th anniversary ver.- (Oblivion sky)
Mai Yaijma - Hell on Earth (25.03.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Vampiress (2018)
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Mai Yajima is a rising phenomenon within the Japanese metal scene, whose style doesn’t go unnoticed. Being active since 2014, she started a band two years later, going on with her powerful and obscure sound, which led her to release several EPs. Her first work of this year goes straight to the darkest side of her style, bringing on dynamic and powerful metal themes, driven by her charismatic voice. Mai Yajima has all the cards to shake off things in the metal world and we’re ready to experience it.
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TRACKLIST
Dominator
Phantom Pain
Chimera
Bloody Sword
Shinen (Abyss)
Absolute Moon
Aldious - Evoke 2010-2020 (18.03.2020) [★★★★]
Already appeared with: Radiant A (2015)
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Staying in the Japanese metal scene, there’s another band ready to bring something new. Aldious was already estabilished as a cornerstone for the genre in the past years, but they recently gained a new singer, R!N, on 2019, who substituted Re:NO after five years. The new vocalist has definitely brought a Western influenced approach in the band’s sound and before going on with this new phase, they decided to going back to the past, reworking their hits in a refreshing way, with deeper riffs and more energetic vocals, as shown in this first part of the compilation.
REVIEWS: Deep Exceed (13.10.2010)
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TRACKLIST
Spirit Black
Yokazura (Cherry flowers by night)
Ground Angel
Kochou no yume (Butterfly dream)
Eversince
Ultimate Melodious
Utopia
Dominator
Absolute
Bind
Dearly
Deep
I Wish for You
-HONORABLE MENTIONS-
Hana Sekitori - Kitto watashi wo matte iru [I am sure you’re waiting for me] (04.03.2020)
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The first mention of the month goes to Hana Sekitori, young Japanese singer who mainly grew up in Germany. She had her debut on 2010 and released some EP, two albums and few singles. This year she brought up a mini-album, composed by six tracks exalting her simple and bright voice, accompaining melodious and enjoyable pop themes, making her sound fit for everyone.
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TRACKLIST
Touhikou (Escape)
Ao no gosenfu (Blue staff)
Hajimari no toki (At the beginning)
Machi wa usukurenaiiro (The city is light red)
Kangaeru dake (Just think)
Ieji (Home)
Fake Island - Cell Division (04.03.2020)
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A metal band fronted by two female vocalists is quite unusual, especially in Japan, but Fake Island has shown that they shouldn’t be underrated at all. With a rebellious concept and a gritty metalcore sound, the band started their path on 2017 with a mini-album, followed up by their first full work three years later. The sound offered in the release is adrenalinic and pumping, empowered mostly by the coupling made by Erica and YuuriBJOUX’s voices, creating a perfect contrast between aggressive and clear tones, along with a pounding instrumental work. Fake Island have a bright future next to them and we can’t wait to hear more of them.
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TRACKLIST
All at Once
Fortune
Who The Hell Made This?
Just Wanna Live
Hang Onto My Dream
Throw Down
No Trust
My Tranquilizer
No Solution
Develop One’s Faculties - Inverse Яeverse (11.03.2020)
Already appeared with: Bukkakou na machi boku to kimi (2018)
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Develop One’s Faculties is definitely one of the most remarkable visual kei bands of the recent times, thanks to an unpredictable soul, allowing them to approach each song with a unique and impressive style. Despite Detto, their historical bassist, departed on 2019, substituted by Hiromu, of Lack-Co. and Merry Badend fame, the band didn’t lose their extravagant style and in the second album their sound changes in each song, featuring electronic, deep bass lines, rhythmical changes and vocal versatility, bringing up a tune for each kind of listener and pleasing the visual kei audience.
REVIEWS: Hope (13.05.2015), I Want my Freedom (02.11.2016)
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TRACKLIST
Inverse
SevenStars
Uitenpen wa yononarai (The meaningful change is a world tradition)
Y
Borderline
“Taihaiteki” (Decadence)
Boutoku (Blasphemy)
Ephemeral
Schadenfreude (Malicious joy)
monochro
Shinjitsu no kuro (True black)
Henken to shouken (Prejudice and correctness)
My Name is R&R
Jun (Tour)
Ao to sora (Blue and sky)
Яeverse
TO BE CONTINUED...
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Album Selection of 2020 | February
IX -Nine- - Psyche (02.02.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Vidya (2015)
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In about four years of career, IX -Nine- continued to appeal and bring fascination with their ethereal and compelling music. Between side projects and an unexpected success in Europe (especially in Poland), the band brought out a new EP, composed by a pounding metal sound, made of chilling tones, a nice touch of electronic and unique vocals, whose performances go from heavy to melancholic and delivering in each note. It’s extremely hard to find a band whose identity is impossible to define and that at the same time bring on quality works, but IX -Nine- falls definitely in this category.
REVIEWS: Vidya (12.03.2015), Nirdvandva (09.01.2016)
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TRACKLIST
DIes Irae
Na zdrowie (Bless you)
Kindan no kajitsu (Forbidden fruit)
Waizatsu no hate (The end of obscene)
Blood Harvest
Ubiquitous
Anyo - Near your ear. (26.02.2020) [★★★★★]
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Anyo is one of the latest rising names of the Japanese progressive rock scene. Formed on 2007, the band had few releases, but their sound is slowly getting more and more attention, especially thanks to their live videos, posted on their Youtube channel. Their latest EP shows off what they are capable off, in four different tracks, moving on genres like shoegaze and emo, helped by vibrant and shaded vocals and compelling rhythms. Thanks to their unique and fascinating sound, Anyo is definitely a band we want to hear more about.
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TRACKLIST
Softener
Liquidly
In my Emperor
Lighting
Hollowgram - Pale Blue Dot (12.02.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: Wills (2016), Fluid (2018)
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After the still suffered dissolution of 9Goats Black Out, Ryo seems to have found another prolific project to work into. Hollowgram always distinguished themselves in their seven years path, thanks to a various and enigmatic sound, which doesn’t fear to go over the limits. Two years after their last work, the band came back with a new album, which exalts more their melancholic and nostalgical side, alternating melodious themes to more paced songs, driven by Ryo’s versatile and astonishing vocals and a refined instrumental work behind each track. Hollowgram is one of the few projects which still make visual kei a scene worth to be followed.
REVIEWS: Malus (20.01.2016), Indecencia (analysis)
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TRACKLIST
-Pale Blue Dot-
Paradox
The Deluge
Flood of Love
Blind Watchmaker
Paint in watercolor
Ryuuankamei (Willow)
Kyoujin (Lunatic)
Toonari (Distant roar)
With you
-Primitive Ocean-
Envy - The Fallen Crimson (07.02.2020) [★★★★]
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This year has seen one of the most awaited comebacks in the whole Japanese rock scene. We’re talking about Envy, whose sound accompained their wide audience for about 14 years. On 2018 Tetsuya Fukagawa, their historical vocalist, rejoined the band, confirming their awaited return, sealed with their seventh album. The aggressivity which always characterized their style is here reinforced and brought to new levels, made of all the creative struggles experienced by the band, between heavy riffs and melancholic tones. The scene definitely missed Envy’s compelling music and this album brings so much satisfaction under any aspect.
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TRACKLIST
Statement of Freedom
Swaying Leaves and Scattering Breath
A Faint New World
Rhythm
Marginalized Thread
Hikari (Light)
Eternal Memories and Reincarnation
Fingerprint Mark
Dawn and Gaze
Memories and the Limit
A Step in the Morning Glow
Shihori - Shihorism (07.02.2020) [★★★★]
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Maybe Japanese pop fans will know Shihori as a pretty popular singer, who released some music under the pseudonym Sena, but actually she is mostly a famous songwriter, especially for anime themes. This behind-the-scenes side of her career is the basis of her latest work, released for the 10th anniversary of her songwriting career, an album which features covers of some tracks composed by herself. The chosen songs are re-arranged with an acoustic approach, driven by Shihori’s charismatic vocals and musicians from New York, the city where she lives in now. So, between anime and melodies influenced by the West, Shihori is reinventing herself in an interesting way.
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TRACKLIST
Millenario [Elisa cover]
Chinmoku no kaijtsu (Fruit of silence) [Nana Mizuki cover]
Hatsukoi Cider (First love cider) [Buono! cover]
Seishunfu (Youth) [Momoiro Clover Z cover]
Tsubasa (Wings) [Sena cover]
Don’t Think. Feel!!! [Idoling!!! cover]
Catalmoa [Yoshino Nanjou cover]
HONORABLE MENTIONS
Wakana - Magic Moment (26.02.2020)
Already appeared with: Wakana (2019)
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If you know about the famous female trio Kalafina, you should remember Wakana Ootaki, the singer of the band, who, after the trio’s disbandment on 2019, started a solo career of her own. The first mention of the month goes to her second album, which mixes catchy and positive themes with powerful ballads, all well delivered by Wakana’s beautiful voice, bringing on impressive performances and giving a breath of fresh air to Japanese pop.
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TRACKLIST
Breathing
Yureru haru (Trembling spring)
Where
442
Hirari hirari (Fluttering fluttering)
Aki no sakura -acoustic ver.- (Autumn cherrytree)
Myself
Kimi dake no stage (Your own stage)
Orange
Happy Hello Day
Magic Moment
Hitsujibungaku - Zawameki [Buzz] (05.02.2020)
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Formed on 2012, Hitsujibungaku is an alternative rock band composed by three girls, who, despite their so young age, managed to grow pretty quickly in musical terms, going beyond the simple lines of pop-rock. Their first release of the year sees a major orientation to shoegaze rock, made by crystalline vocals and piercing notes, which sometimes bring a touch of nostalgia. If you didn’t think that mature female rock bands couldn’t rise in Japan, Hitsujibangaku shows that it’s exactly the opposite.
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TRACKLIST
Ningen datta (It was human)
Siren
Yuunagi (Calm evening)
Inori (Prayer)
Koi nante (Loving)
Tokyo Gegegay - Kiteretsu Mental World -Black&White- [Queer mental world] (05.02.2020)
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Japanese music is full of extravagant surprises and the dance&vocal group Tokyo Gegegay is definitely one of them. After being the winners of the dance contest Dance@Hero on 2013, the band went on their career with a dark and curious concept, made in the name of glam and sexual freedom. The double compilation here featured summarizes their best works, adding something new along the road, in a series of electronic tracks all to dance, which is impossible to resist.
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TRACKLIST
Black
Heart (ft. Reol)
Tg (2020 ver.)
Sayonara Darlin’
Yes or No
Tsumi to batsu (Crime and punishment)
Dorobou -ft. Seiya- (Thief)
Hikari -Interlude- (Light)
Nihon Agegay (Japan agegay)
Tokyo Gegegay jyogakuin no jyumon -ft. Nukuibayashihozonkai- (Tokyo Gegegay girls college spell)
Kurome (Black eyes)
HBD
Zutto suki na hito (People liking it all the time)
Gegegay no kitaro
Sense of Immorality
Egoist -Mikey remix-
Chiheisen (Horizon)
Dance ga boku no koibito -long ver.- (Dance is my lover)
White
Alarm
Kirakira 1 page (Glitter 1 page)
Kiss me
Tensei no hikari -Munetaka ver.- (God’s light)
Kamisama -long ver.- (God)
Byouin -Escape now- (Hospital -Escape now-)
Raichi☆Hikari Club (Litchi star light club)
Arigatou darlin’ (Thank you darlin’)
Maigo no Christmas Song (Lost child’s christmas song)
Goodbye, Snow White
Zutto suki na hito -ballad ver.-
Soredemo hana wa kitto zutto saiteku (Still, I’m sure I’ll be forever happy)
Succubus
Tokyo Teddy Bear -cover ver.-
Sasagetai (I want to give)
TO BE CONTINUED...
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drkreviews · 5 months ago
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Album Selection of 2020 | January
Dear followers, here I am back with a selection of albums that characterized 2020 month per month. The recently passed year has been a troubling one, between pandemic, which brought delays and reductions of musical works, and a quite messy situation for myself, trying everytime and in every way to deliver a new review to read in this site. But no worries, on 2021 I count things will be a bit better, for me and also for the whole world. This selection will be the final one with the traditional structure, since, starting on 2021, it will be composed by 5 (+3) albums, as always, plus 2 singles, chosen among a bunch of other singles, since I think it will help in including more artists/bands each month. So let's not waste time and ... let's rediscover together the best of Japanese music of 2020!
Dimlim - Misc. (28.01.2020) [★★★★★]
Already appeared with: CHEDOARA (2018), Kidoaraiku (2019)
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Dimlim is definitely one of the most unusual and impredictable bands within the visual kei scene. Starting with a dark and astonishing metal sound, they evolved into something different, following the departure of two historical members, the guitarist Ryuya and the bassist Taishi. In this second album the sound is definitely shocking for who was used to Dimlim’s darker notes, but it’s anyway pleasant, with interesting math and alternative rock influences, fitting with the concept of visual kei scene as one made of unexpected things. This album has brought Dimlim’s path to a really curious and intriguing direction, which we hope to hear more of.
REVIEWS: Various (03.06.2017), The Silent Song (27.12.2017), Aizou ni tsuki... (analysis)
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TRACKLIST
We've changed.NOW IT'S YOUR TURN NEXT
Mist
Mayonaka ni watashi o tsuredashite (Take me out in the midnight)
Funny World
What’s up?
+ & -
For the Future
Tick Tak
Kizukanai monotachi e (To fool)
Before it’s too late
Out of the Darkness
Lament
The Thirteen - Enigma (29.01.2020) [★★★★★] *REVIEW*
Already appeared with: Lament and Urge (2018), Alone (2019)
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Since their debut on 2016, The Thirteen brought a lot of high expectations, due to the formidable duo made by Mao and Mizuki, both members of the historical visual band Sadie. Their second full album brings on the plate all their best features, summarized in a series of already released songs, from the four EPs came out in the previous years, plus something new. So, between energetic and heavy tracks, cleaner and melancholic notes, and a notable support by the bassist Kazu (Gibkiy gibkiy gibkiy) and the drummer Ryo (Awoi), this obscure duo confirms their constant and formidable work, which shouldn’t be missed.
BAND REVIEW
REVIEWS: Pandemic (25.05.2016), Gamushara (29.03.2017), White Dust (analysis)
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TRACKLIST
Rinne (Reincarnation)
Karma
Aria
Aiyoku no rondo (Desire rondo=
Ugly duckling
Lament
Siren
Shallow
Memento mori
Saezuruame higeki no sanka wo tirasu (Singing rain scatters the tragedy hymn)
Doukou (Pupil)
Bites the Black
Hakuchuumu (Daydream)
Reol - Kinjitou [Golden tower] (22.01.2020) [★★★★]
Already appeared with: Sigma (2016), Endless EP (2017), Kyokou shuu and Jijitsujou (2018)
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In the latest years, Reol has definitely made people talk about herself within the Japanese pop scene. Since her group disbanded, she brought up a distinct sound in her solo project, mainly focused on electro-pop, but also oriented to experimental styles. The second album of her “solo phase” sees a definitive return to the roots, with energetic and banging electro-pop tracks, where it is impossible not to dance. With the arrangement made by Giga, Reol’s long-time collaborator from her Vocaloid phase, the album is a unique piece within the ever wider expanse of Japanese pop.
REVIEWS: Jijitsujou (17.10.2018)
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TRACKLIST
Kinjitou
Hype Mode
Yu-rei-zumi-/Phanto(me)
-Move no tame no shisoukyoku nr. 4- (-Tune for move nr. 4-)
Hameln
Un deux trois
Insider
Dali
-Rene no shouhin nr.9- (-Rene’s piece nr.9-)
Grimoire
1LDK
Naoluna - 27 -Two seven- (08.01.2020) [★★★★]
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As often happens in the musical world, there are hidden gems, worth of being tried and followed, but at the same time never recognized as they deserve. Naoluna is definitely one of them. Being singer of an indie band known as Mitoaoto_, she kicked off her solo career with a series of songs published on her Youtube channel, followed by the release of her first full album. Her sound can be defined as pop, but it’s more than that; her chilling and touching voice is combined with dreamy and slow melodies, alternated with more paced ones, remaining enclosed in an atmosphere quite distinctive even for a pop singer. With her unique talents, Naoluna is definitely an artist to follow, hoping that in future she will become more and more popular.
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TRACKLIST
Grow
Neverland
The night when the moon disappeared
Lost girl
reIwA
Here
Faker
Sunset
Tap-tap
Back-on - Rebirth (22.01.2020) [★★★★]
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Formed on 2002, Back-On is one of the most renowned Japanese bands, whose fresh and engaging style allowed them to gain much popolarity, especially for the use of their songs in some anime and drama. Their eighth mini-album brings out all the key features of their sound, in a pure mix of rock, electronic and rap, well provided by energetic vocals and a distinctive instrumental work. Back-on is definitely the band you need for a explosive charge of music.
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TRACKLIST
Good morning
Switch
Rebirth
Three two one
Tokyo Be-bop
Shall we dance
Chain 2020
HONORABLE MENTIONS
The Brow Beat - Adam (01.01.2020)
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The first mention of this month goes to a project whose name might not be familiar for you, but his members are quite famous. The Brow Beat, alternative rock duo formed on 2018, is composed by Ryuji, known as an actor who starred on musicals, and Hakuei, the famous singer of Penicillin, here as producer and back-vocalist. Their sound is a good mixture of energetic melodies and more heartfelt themes, along with some obscure and enigmatic shade. The Brow Beat is a promising project and their sound is easy and riveting at the same time, making them worth of being followed.
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TRACKLIST
Eve
Adam
Southern Cross
Yatagarasu no kagefumi (Yata-glass’s shadow tag)
Kaen (Flame)
Black Sheep
Oblivion
L.R
Tourou nagashi
MAKE MY DAY - Mind Haven (29.01.2020)
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Another mention is for the notable metalcore band Make My Day. Known on 2011 as Ashley Scared The Sky, this band has become quite recognized in the scene, especially with their features in three of the “Punk Goes...” compilations. In their second album, released three years after the first one, there’s a definitely heavy and adrenalinic sound, with dynamic rhythms, raging vocals and interesting duets with other singers of the metal scene. Make My Day is another good and refreshing addition to the growing Japanese metalcore scene.
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TRACKLIST
Mind Haven
Fragment
Death Wish
Money (ft. Flare Boy from Malissa)
I Hate Everything
Reborn
For Freedom
Like a Dead
Searching for the Fate
Wake Up (ft. Io&Kagura from Broken by the Scream)
Kari Band - Nimaime [Second piece] (29.01.2020)
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The final mention of the month is for a quite unusual musical project. Originally formed as a three-session musicans, Kari Band developed a personal and unique concept, but their intitial steps have been interrupted after the death of Mikio Fujioka, their guitarist. After three years of hiatus the band came back with the second mini-album, bringing out instrumental works made of several musical influences, such as jazz, folk and metal, all distributed in six compelling tracks, to listen to all in one breath. Kari Band is a sure confirmation of how instrumental bands shouldn’t be underrated, especially in Japan.
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TRACKLIST
Samurai Groove
Bewitching
Dancing Baloney
U-Yeah!!!
Cloud Funding
I See You
TO BE CONTINUED…
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drkreviews · 5 months ago
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The First Hymn
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*This post has been removed by Tumblr’s algorithm for sensible content, so I am reposting it, with updates from the time it has been published.*
Here I am with a new review in “Throwback Thursday”! Today’s subject is the debut release by the visual kei band Bless This Mess, the mini-album Hymn, released on 24th January 2016. If you don’t know them, they formed on 2015 and led by YNG (vo.), former guitarist of Saruin and vocalist of Jabell, who has been accompained at that time by Ranmaru (gt.), former member of Para:noir, and Baku (ba.), another member of Saruin and Jabell. And now... let’s review!
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-Hymn: the title-track opens the mini-album, a short intro filled by a dark atmosphere and slow notes, accompained by a melancholic piano.
-Kakushoku (Erosion): the song starts with a fast drumming, accompaining deep vocals, leading up to a strong and structured theme, well built by the instruments; YNG’s piercing vocals drive up the song, made by an aggressive and dark melody. ---> 9/10
-Barbarism: this song sees a faster rhythm, with powerful guitar lines bringing more energy into the melody; YNG’s voice is obscure and rapid, fitting in the theme quite easily; another strong song, maintaining high the level of the release. ---> 9/10
-16: deep notes and a steady drumming characterize the song, with darker and extreme vocals which dictate the whole thing’s atmosphere; the theme results being heavier than expected, even thanks to the compelling guitar work. ---> 9/10
-Mr. Human Error: the song starts with a pretty powerful drum work, along with a piercing guitar, leading up to an extravagant theme, well paced in its own; YNG’s vocals appear dim and grotesque, accompained by seducing bass lines, engaging guitar lines and a pretty good structure. ---> 9/10
-Keigan, hito o iru (Dazzling eye, shooting to people): suffused vocals open the song, accompained by a stronger instrumental work, dictating the track’s rhythm; then the theme becomes more energetic, with YNG showing off deep vocals, well intertwined with the guitar’s compelling notes; a quite unpredictable song, which adds some aggressive notes into its structure. ---> 8.5/10
-Slumber: the mini-album ends with a song opened by softer and melancholic notes, with YNG’s vibrant and deep vocals accompained by idyllic notes, making his interpretation more suggestive; the theme goes on with a really good rhythm, well articulated by the single instruments, building up an unique ballad, which reaches its own peak with a fantastic guitar solo. ---> 10/10
Final Vote ---> 9/10
Bless This Mess belongs to the wide group of visual kei bands which didn’t have the luck to see their talent recognized at all. This mini-album is surely their best work to date, bringing in an heavy and enigmatic metal sound, accompained by energy and melancholy, all enclosed in a contained and solid product, where YNG’s voice is the best highlight. The band had experienced a change of line-up in 2017, when the historical members Ranmaru and Baku left the band, substituted by Jin Tateishi, former guitarist of Ansia, and Rega, bassist of Srash Notes Garden, leading the band to be signed under Starwave Records, a label which would have brought them more popularity, even thanks to the pretty good album Xiall Rain. On 2018 the band gained an official drummer, Hakuya, of NightingeiL fame, and released their first and unfortunately only EP Blind Circus, before their disbandment, occurred at the end of that year. Despite their short and unlucky path, Bless This Mess is a band everyone should listen to, since the sound they had is quite rare, especially in the current scene. A mini-album for who had followed Bless This Mess’ short career or needs to get into a compelling and not so known band.
READ OUR RELATED POSTS
REVIEWS
Xiall Rain (20.12.2017)
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drkreviews · 5 months ago
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Breakerz - Breaking the Musical Scheme
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*This post has been removed by Tumblr’s algorithm for sensible content, so I am reposting it, with updates from the time it has been published.*
Here I am with a new special in “Focusing on”! Today’s subject is a Japanese rock band, whose style is disruptive and hard to miss. We’re talking about Breakerz, formed on 2007 and composed by Daigo Naitou (vo.), already famous for his solo project Daigo☆Stardust, Akihide Satou (gt.), who is recognized for his solo works and for the short-lived project Never Land, and Shinpei Inoue (gt.). The band name comes from their own concept, based on breaking all the possible musical schemes in order to bring new and energetic music. Their genre is a fusion between English rock music, provided by Akihide, and American style, brought by Shinpei, accompained by Daigo’s sensual voice. Their debut occurred on July 2007 with the first album Breakerz.
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One of the lead-tracks, named Wake up my soul, sees a strong and rebel rock sound, well characterized by each member’s work; the song is about the importance of ties in a changing world. It has been followed by the second album Crash & Build, the first mini-album Ao no mirai (Pale future) and the singles Summer Party/Last Emotion and Sekai wa odoru/Shakunetsu (Dancing world/Hot).
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The first lead-track has an heartfelt rock melody, kept up by a vibrating rhythm and nice vocals; the song is about the importance of ties in an ever-changing world. It has been followed by the single Angelic Smile/Winter Party, the third album Big Bang! and the singles Grand Finale, Everlasting Luv/Bambino, Hikari (Light) and Love Fighter -Koi no Battle-, the fourth album Fighterz, the acoustic mini-album B.R.Z. Acoustic and the single Gekijou (Passion)/Heaven.
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The first title-track is a pretty animated rock track, with a fluid rhythm and a catchy melody, hard to forget; the song is about the feelings, so powerful to make someone losing his mind. It has been followed by the singles Bunny Love, Tsukiyo no itazura no maho (Magical trick of night light)/Climber x Climber and Last † Pray/Zettai! I love you (I absolutely love you!), the fifth album Go, the singles Miss Mystery and Overwriting/Nounai Survivor (Survivor in the brain), the compilation Breakerz Best -Single Collection- and the single Rusty Hearts.
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The title-track sees a faster and more energetic rock sound, with relevant dark and gothic shades; the song is about fighting until the end for the loved one. It has been followed by the single We Go, the sixth album 0 -Zero- and the single Yaiba (Sword). The band came back with new releases after two years, starting with the single Ikusen no meikyuu de ikusen no nazo wo doite (Solve thousand of mysteries in thousand of labyrinths), followed by another single, Yume monogatari (Dream story), the seventh album X, the singles DxDxD/Great Ambitious -Single version-, Atarashii sekai he atarashii jidai he -Reiwa version- (In a new world, in a new era), Yamiyo ni mau aoi tori (Blue bird dancing in the dark night), the compilation Breakerz x Detective Conan Collaboration Best and the single Barabara (Scattered)/Love Stage.
Since 2007 Breakerz has always distinguished for their fresh and engaging sound, allowing them to deliver good and flowing tracks without any effort. The rocking trio composed by Daigo, Shinpei and Akihide manage to combine several elements in each song, bringing their energy into each note and having fun with the most unexpected shades. Their style allowed them to be more popular, especially among anime fans, since they provided several themes for the famous anime Detective Conan, appeared as guests in several tribute albums, such as Tribute of Mucc -En- and Hide Tribute Impulse and are planning to release a new single, I Love my Daughter, on February 2021. But we shouldn’t forget about the activities of the single members, which are still active and prolific; Daigo released a bunch of singles between 2013 and 2018, Akihide recently brought out his eighth album Loop World, and Shinpei did a solo live project in 2019. So Breakerz is one of the band which is hard to miss within the scene, especially if you like energetic melodies.
Who might enjoy: who loves energetic melodies and wants to be always surprised.
Recommended songs: Wake up my soul, Sekai wa odoru, Everlasting Luv, Gekijou, Last † Pray, Rusty Hearts and Barabara.
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drkreviews · 6 months ago
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Gotcharocka - Ash (from Ash, 09/11/2016)
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*FOLLOW US ON YOUTUBE AND COMMENT THE VIDEO CHOOSING WHAT SONG YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE CHANNEL! IF WE ALREADY  ANALYZED IT, THE VIDEO WILL COME OUT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, OTHERWISE IT WILL BE PUT IN SCHEDULE*
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drkreviews · 6 months ago
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Two Thoughts
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Here I am with the final part of October’s themed week in “Lyrical Love”! Today’s subject is a song by the visual kei band Gotcharocka, precisely Ash, the lead-track of their eighth single with the same name, released on 9th November 2016. This song features all the band’s key elements, with an energetic rock sound accompained by a really positive message.
THE MUSIC
The song starts with pretty energetic and paced guitar notes, leading up to a flowing and dynamic theme; Jui’s voice is quite fast and passionate, well accompained by the guitar notes, in a catchy and engaging rock track, pretty easy to listen and emphasized by Jun’s awesome guitar work, especially in the second part.
Lyrics (Romaji)
"Mata kurai kao shichatte douse kangaegoto nan desho?" GARASU goshi ni utsutta jibun o mitsumete wa umaku nante ikanai ne... kinou to onaji SERIFU narabeta ashita mo kitto kawaranai no desu ka? "Ii desho? kore ijou" "ii desho? ima ijou" "nayami komanakute ii" "Kono sekai ni kimi wa tatta hitori sa kimi no kawari o enjiru hito nado inai" Kagiri naku nibiiro ni chikai sora no shita de akiru kurai iya na koto ga aru noni kawaranai dakedo tachidomari wa shinai kara ikura namida koboretatte waraeru sa ima kanashimi ni todome o "Mada NIGAi kao shichatte douse omoidashita n'desho?" nanigenai hitoiki ga tameiki ni kawatta wasurerarenai doushite... youyaku rikai shita yo hito ni wa hanarerarenai kako ga arutte koto "Ii desho? ima kara de" "ii desho? osoku wa nai" "umarekawareru no sa" "Sukoshi kurai yasashisa nagesutete shimaeba ii kokoro ga oreru kurai nara" Tsurakatta azayaka ni nokoru kako no kioku ima mo kokoro tokiori sashikomu kedo mou nidoto omoide no maigo ni wa naranai ikura namida koboretatte waraeru sa ima kanashimi ni todome o Let's sing a merry song. Let's dance together. Keep playing until your grief is gone. Kagiri naku nibiiro ni chikai sora no shita de akiru kurai kujike tsudzuketa keredo kawareru sa koko de tachidomari wa shinai kara ikura namida koboretatte waraeru sa ima kanashimi ni todome o hikari sasu ashita e
Lyrics (Translation)
“Do I have again a gloomy face or is only a thought?” Looking at myself, reflected in the mirror It is not good... Disposing words from yesterday Will it change tomorrow?
“Is everything alright? Not anymore.” “Is everything alright? More than now.” “You don’t have to worry.”
“You are unique in this world nobody can replace you.” (I)
Under the sky, closer to grey I am tired of this It doesn’t change, but it doesn’t stop It doesn’t matter how many tears will be shed, you can laugh Now stop the sadness. (II)
“Do you remember you still have a painful face?” A casual breath, becoming a sigh Why I can’t forget... Finally I understand that for people There’s a past which can’t be separated.
“Is everything alright? From now, yes.” “Is everything alright? It’s not late.” “I am reborn.”
“Throw away the kindness for a little if it breaks your heart.” (III)
A painful and vivid memory of the past Even now, sometimes I insert my heart Don’t lose yourself in memories It doesn’t matter how many tears will be shed, you can laugh Now stop the sadness. (IV)
Let's sing a merry song. Let's dance together. Keep playing until your grief is gone. 
Under the sky, closer to grey I am tired of this I can change because I won’t stop here It doesn’t matter how many tears will be shed, you can laugh Now stop the sadness The light shines on tomorrow. (V)
THE WORDS
Written by the singer Jui, the text appears quite simple and contained, fitting with the band’s musical style. The single where the song is features follows a sort of conceptual path about feelings, since the other two songs, ...Murideshita (...It was unreasonable) and She Luvs “Pop Star”, deal respectively with emotions seen by a female point of view and the fanatism in musical world. The lead-track is about an inner conflict between positive and negative thoughts (explaining the presence of lines written in quotes), where the protagonist jumps in and out, finding himself drawn into a maze of memories and pain, which he can’t get out from. So he realizes to have a new goal, which is to find the happiness and the positivity in an hard time, even if he has to leave his past and his feelings behind. And now... let’s analyze the song!
I) The text starts with the protagonist having one of his inner thoughts, about his face, become gloomy (”Mata kurai kao shichatte douse kangaegoto nan desho?”); he realizes that it is like that after looking to his self at the mirror, thinking that it is not a good thing for him (GARASU goshi ni utsutta jibun o mitsumete wa/umaku nante ikanai ne...) and he asks if his future will change, whether he uses the same words of the previous day (kinou to onaji SERIFU narabeta/ashita mo kitto kawaranai no desu ka?). He is aware that something is wrong on him and tries to motivate himself ("Ii desho? kore ijou"/"ii desho? ima ijou"/"nayami komanakute ii"), considering himself as unique and irreplaceable, probably as someone has said to him ("Kono sekai ni kimi wa tatta hitori sa/kimi no kawari o enjiru hito nado inai").
II) He finds himself under a sky which is almost grey (Kagiri naku nibiiro ni chikai sora no shita de, the grey is symbol of absence of feelings or, more specifically, of depression) and he is tired of living in pain (akiru kurai iya na koto ga aru noni), since it doesn’t change and doesn’t stop at all (kawaranai dakedo tachidomari wa shinai kara). Despite the tears shed, he says that his mate, the reader, can laugh, and asks him to free his mind from sadness (ikura namida koboretatte waraeru sa/ima kanashimi ni todome o).
III) The protagonist wonders if he ever remembered of having a painful face ("Mada NIGAi kao shichatte douse omoidashita n'desho?"), leading a casual breath to become a sigh (nanigenai hitoiki ga tameiki ni kawatta) and to questioning the reason behind his inability to forget the past (wasurerarenai doushite...), and slowly he realizes that each person has a past which he can’t be separated from (youyaku rikai shita yo hito ni wa/hanarerarenai kako ga arutte koto). Being aware of his condition, he realizes that he can be reborn (”Ii desho? ima kara de"/"ii desho? osoku wa nai"/"umarekawareru no sa") and that the kindness he used to feel is the cause of his pain ("Sukoshi kurai yasashisa nagesutete shimaeba ii/kokoro ga oreru kurai nara").
IV) In his mind one of the memories of his painful past comes out (Tsurakatta azayaka ni nokoru kako no kioku), stimulating in some way his own heart (ima mo kokoro tokiori sashikomu kedo) and he hopes to not being lost in memories anymore (mou nidoto omoide no maigo ni wa naranai). The sequence ends with the repetition of the final lines from the second part.
V) The final sequence starts with a whole strophe written in English and not by case, since it encloses the core message of the text, an invitation to sing, dance and play until the pain fades out (this part might be a sort of signature of the band’s concept), ending with a repetiton of the second sequence, where the protagonist knows that he can change his path (kawareru sa koko de tachidomari wa shinai kara) and that his future can shine (hikari sasu ashita e).
In troubled times of our life there’s always a ray of light and happiness awaiting for each one of us, which must be found in order to leave behind an hard and painful past. Gotcharocka goes beyond their cheerful style, building up a really mature song, without betraying the positive energy they usually bring on each their work.
That’s all folks! This is the final post of this 2020 and next year we will be back with new reviews and not only... but don’t forget to stay tuned for the “Album Selection of 2020″!
Thanks for the reading!
READ OUR RELATED POSTS
REVIEWS
Virginity (19.12.2012)
Crysis (17.07.2013)
Polychrome (14.10.2020)
SPECIALS
Gotcharocka - The Clattering Rock
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drkreviews · 6 months ago
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*REBLOG + UPDATE*
Following up the single Marry me, ‘cause I hate you, the band continued with the second mini-album Rainfall, the single Ash, the third album Screamy, the compilation Gotchabest, the mini-albums Baccarat and Guerilla, the single Chirality and the fourth album Polychrome (reviewed here).
Gotcharocka - The Clattering Rock
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Here I am with the week-end band review in “Focusing on”! Today’s subject is a noisy but colorful trio, whose unique duty is to rock wherever they are. I am talking about the visual kei band Gotcharocka, formed on 2011 and composed by Jui (vo.), famous singer of bands like Luinspear, Vidoll and Kisaki Project, Jun (gt.), the famous guitarist of Phantasmagoria, attic and Spiv States, and Toya (gt.), from the short-lived band Charlotte (they had also a bassist, Shingo from Sugar, but he departed on 2015). The band name is a portmanteau between the Japanese onomatopeic word “gaccha gaccha” (meaning the sound of clattering) and the word “rock”, as if the pronounciation is “got to rock”; in fact their concept can be summarized in “making rock anywhere at a maximum level”. Their genre is indeed a powerful rock, with all its possible shades, united to the fashion and the attraction of visual kei aesthetic (you can see a strong attention to the looks in each new release). Their debut occurred on July 2011 with the first single, Gotcha6ka.
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The title-track features an energetic and bizarre rock sound, with auto-tuned vocals and an engaging vibe; the song is literally the musical manifesto of the band, based on music and strong noises. It has been followed by the single Hydrag and by the first mini-album Virginity (reviewed here).
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The title-track, with a seducing atmosphere, has a beating and fascinating sound, with a passionate vibe; the song is about an invitation to love and the loss of innocence. It has been followed by the single Poisonous Berry, the first album Crisis (reviewed here) and the singles Shortcake and Gekiai (Conquering love).
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The title-track (the best one from them in my opinion), is decise, powerful and rebel, with strong folk presences and a wonderful attention to the outfits (a mix between traditional and dictator-esque look); the song is about a love which conquers whoever stays at its range. It has been followed by the singles Alarm, 8kaiki (Eight times per year), GPS and Emotion/Director’s Cut.
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The first title-track is a soft and nostalgical ballad, where the energy of their sound is still present and relevant; the song is about the emotions felt by who is in love. It has been followed by the second album Royale and the single Marry me, ‘cause I hate you.
In conclusion, Gotcharocka is one of the few modern visual acts that managed to remain unique and pretty unpredictable, alternating normal tracks to tunes which leave a deep sign to whoever listens to them. Their potency, greatly given by the good names which compose this band, is characterized by a harmony between colors and powerful sounds, which perfectly works, even in simpler themes (where we can see a great growth of Jui as vocalist, who was great with Vidoll and here even greater). So if you love the rebel and warm concept of this rock trio, you have to check out the second mini-album, Rainfall, released last Wednesday, whose lead track goes quickly in your minds.
Who might enjoy: who misses Vidoll’s music or, generally, who wants a colorful and unpredictable rock band.
Recommended songs: Gotcha6ka, Virginity, Gekiai, Alarm, Emotion, Director’s Cut and Kyousou Royale.
That’s all folks! See you tomorrow for the monthly chart in “Best of… May 2016″!
Thanks for the reading!
*Sorry for the delay*
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drkreviews · 6 months ago
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Imprisoned by Music
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Here I am with the second part of October’s themed week in “Throwback Thursday”! The subject is always related to the visual band Gotcharocka, but this time we go back to their first album, Crisis, released on 17th July 2013. The album represents the band’s musical manifesto, bringing out the image of crisis as a moment where there’s a conflict of ideas and melodies, translated throughout the whole tracklist. And now... let’s review!
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-Count down [lack of time]: the album starts with a short track, opened by strong guitar lines; Jui’s voice is soft, but it becomes more energetic, along with the theme, which sees a fast evolution; a good way for starting things. ---> 8/10
-Yuujo (Prostitute) [pleasure has a price]: bright guitar notes open up the song, leading up to an energetic and pretty paced theme, mainly driven by the guitar; the vocals are fast and piercing, with an hint of aggressivity which shouldn’t be neglected; a catchy and quite pleasant song. ---> 8.5/10
-C U [difficulty of leaving love behind]: the lead-track of the album sees Jui’s clear vocals introducing the theme, with a fast rhythm and a well fit guitar, building up a pretty romantic melody; a nice rock track, a mix of passion and energy, thanks to the distinctive guitar work. ---> 8.5/10
-Poisonous Berry [love which hides something else]: the lead-song of the third single with the same name is kicked off by an high-sounding guitar, leading up to a freaking and fast rhythm; the vocals are balanced and accompained by a dynamic guitar work, where the refrain is simple and well fit into the whole thing; a good song, with a really nice guitar solo. ---> 8.5/10
-Byousokuai (Love per second) [love lived second after second]: this song is opened by a decise guitar, leading up to a quite sustained rhythm; Jui’s vocals are soft, keeping up a pretty energetic and fascinating melody, bringing up a quite unusual vocal interpretation, compared to what heard previously; a quite good and bold song in its own. ---> 9/10
-99bangai no je t’aime (I love you at 99th avenue) [romantic bind with a place]: traffic noise open a song featuring a relevant retrò atmosphere, where it’s literally a lighter’s click to kick off the theme, where a dynamic guitar goes swiftly in a paced rhythm, with seducing and energetic notes; the vocals are fascinating, bringing up a nice performance, for a quite unusual and romantic track. ---> 9/10
-Virginity: *already reviewed by me* ---> 9/10
-Hydrag [freaking with the mind]: the lead-song of the second single is opened by a strong guitar and a quite fast rhythm, where the vocals are freaking and more rapid than usual, bringing also a bit of aggressivity into the song; a quite nice rock track, with a simple and flowing structure. ---> 8.5/10
-Many Merry Moments [joyful life]: this song is opened by a balanced guitar, following up a paced and dynamic rhythm; Jui’s voice is cheerful and bright, working quite well within a pleasant melody, empowered by Jun’s compelling guitar work. ---> 9/10
-Qtie [money win over the feelings]: strong electronic effects open the song, featuring a quite steady rhythm; the vocals are piercing, alternated with some choir part, building a song with a quite different style than the previous ones, with a relevant electronic component, but maintaining the band’s core style. ---> 8.5/10
-The Lyrical Jet Sky [absolute freedom]: this song sees a freaking rhythm, accompaining an energetic guitar, where Jui’s vocals appear more aggressive than usual, with a fast and dynamic touch making them more appealing; an interesting track, which mixes positivity and heavyness all in a single bit. ---> 8.5/10
-Gotcha6ka [ambiguity of human life]: their debut song starts with absurdly effected vocals, leading up to fast and quite paced song; Jui’s vocals are mixed and irregular, along with an unexpectedly mature vibe, making this song even better than expected. ---> 8.5/10
-Beautiful Life -Type A only- [beautiful but short life]: the bonus track of the album’s Type A starts with soft vocals, kicking off a theme made of light notes, with a simple and flowing rhythm; a pleasant song, driven mainly by Jui’s nice tones. ---> 8.5/10
-Lily187 -Type B only- [ideal world]: the bonus of Type B is opened by rain drops, followed up by thin guitar notes and a soft rhythm, where the guitar takes over the rest within the melody; the vocals are light, almost whispered, driving up a warm ballad, which gets some energy in the second part. ---> 8.5/10
Final Vote ---> 8.5/10
On 2012 Gotcharocka came out with good propositions and a line-up which gave them an huge advantage within the scene. Featuring members from notable projects, like Vidoll, Charlotte and Phantasmagoria, the band went quickly into the audience’s heart, thanks to a refreshing sound and coloured outfits. The first album Crisis marked their debut in the visual kei world, bringing out energetic and cheerful themes, driven by good guitar lines, but also softer ones, with some experimentation along the road. The album results being a compact and pretty nice musical experience, showing the talent of each member and bringing on the plate an interesting variety of melodies, easy and fit for each listener. It’s impossible to not being invested into Gotcharocka’s musical world, especially after listening to this album. An album for who needs to rediscover Gotcharocka’s energetic and colorful musical world, which shouldn’t be missed.
That’s all folks! See you with a new song analysis in “Lyrical Love”!
Thanks for the reading!
READ OUR RELATED POSTS
REVIEWS
Virginity (19.12.2012)
Polychrome (14.10.2020)
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drkreviews · 6 months ago
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Best Colors
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Here I am with a new review, and first part of October’s themed week in “Let’s Listen to”! Today’s subject is the latest work by the visual band Gotcharocka, the fourth album Polychrome, came out on 14th October 2020. This album, expected for the Summer but delayed because of the pandemic, is the first full release in three years and summarizes all the best “colors” of the band, musically speaking, showing off their best cards. And now... let’s review!
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-Hyper Next World: the album starts with its lead-track, kicking off a pretty energetic sound and a quite decise rhythm; Jui’s voice is bright, moving pretty well between all the notes and keeping up the energy of the song; a brilliant opening track, helped by a distinctive guitar work. ---> 9/10
-Asian Night: this song features folk notes, leading up to a relevant melody, driven by drums; the vocals are pretty seducing and a bit effected, keeping up in a pretty structured theme, especially in the catchy refrain; a “softer” track, but in line with the band’s style. ---> 8.5/10
-Human Board Game: an electronic guitar starts the song, leading up to a steady and quite fast rhythm; the vocals are cheerful, accompained by a paced guitar, which draws the melody with an unique touch of energy. ---> 8.5/10
-Creators: this song sees a stronger electronic component, with beats kicking off the whole thing, along with a funk-ish guitar, bringing the sound of the album in an upbeat direction; Jui’s voice is more electronic, but not so hard to follow, building up a clearer and nice track. ---> 8/10
-Baccarat: taken from the second mini-album with the same name, this song is opened by Jui’s retrò vocals, featuring clear and melodious tones, but also energetic and paced touches, provided by the guitar; a pretty good track, empowered by the awesome guitar solo. ---> 9/10
-Shiroi Dia (White Dia): seducing bass lines open this song, lighter than expected, but anyway featuring Jun’s energetic guitar; the vocals are soft, accompained by fresh guitar notes, keeping up the whole thing in a catchy approach; a good and enjoyable track. ---> 8.5/10
-Monochrome: electronic notes open the song, along with cheerful vocals, leading up to a paced and pretty electronic theme; a quite structured song, which sees a good use of English by Jui and a distinctive bass work. ---> 8.5/10
-Prayer: clearer notes kick off the song in a bright and paced rock theme; Jui’s vocals aim to a cheerful and vibrant interpretation, keeping up an upbeat and nice rock track, along with a good guitar work, making it even more flowing. ---> 8.5/10
-Guerilla: taken from the fourth album with the same name, this song sees a relevant use of electronic, mixed up with a good rhythm and Jun’s distinctive guitar work; the vocals are balanced and pretty various, according to the many shades seen in the melody; an interesting song, with a top-notch guitar, as expected. ---> 8.5/10
-Tenbin (Balance): this song is opened by a fast and energetic guitar, leading up to a steady rhythm; Jun’s voice is clear, accompained by electronic effects, bringing up a quite nice vocal interpretation, the best highlight of this good song. ---> 8.5/10
-Out of Service: slower guitar notes introduce the song, with Jun’s intense and clear vocals leading up to an energetic song, conceived for being performed at a live stage; the vocals are versatile, helped by a catchy atmosphere and a compelling guitar, in a song which summarizes at best Gotcharocka’s musical world. ---> 9/10
-Chirality: the lead-track of the ninth single is introduced by bright and paced notes, building up a quite flowing melody; Jun’s voice is soft and balanced, in a light song, without any big feat, but anyway characterized by the vocal interpretation and a quite good structure. ---> 8.5/10
-Suddenly: this song starts with slow and vibrant notes open a song which appears quite different by the previous ones, especially in the structure; Jun’s soft vocals in a fleble rhythm open the theme, which builds up more and more thanks to an astonishing vocal interpretation, a compelling guitar and a not negligible folk vibe; a really good ballad. ---> 9/10
-I ♡ JJTGR (Bonus track): the album ends with a song opened in a pretty peculiar way; before the proper song starts, there’s a sort of radio presentation of the band and the song, then it starts, featuring a catchy melody, which reprises such in a way the style offered in the album, offering a pretty simple but nice track. ---> 8/10
Final Vote ---> 8.5/10
Gotcharocka is a band which surely got a wide audience thanks to their line-up, made of musicians coming right from notable visual kei bands of the 00′s. During their career, the band became quite successful thanks to an addicting and refined rock sound, up to 2014, when their historical bassist Shingo left the band. Despite this key change in their formation, Gotcharocka never stopped delivering good works and Polychrome, first full work in three years, is a good summarization of their best styles. For sure there’s a major presence of electro-rock melodies, with some rhythms refined than the others, without forgetting the only ballad, probably the best song of the whole tracklist, and that’s a demonstration of how the band doesn’t want to get more complicated than usual, with the unique purpose of entertaining and making happy their audience at a maximum level. With this fourth album the band confirmed their own status in the scene, delivering a nice and addicting product, with melodies hard to forget. An album for who likes Gotcharocka’s catchy music and needs to get into it as soon as possible.
That’s all folks! See you with the second part of October’s themed week in “Throwback Thursday”!
Thanks for the reading!
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