Kurayami Monogatari

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the GazettE – VORTEX May 25, 2011

Filed under: the GazettE — solarblade @ 11:46 pm

Track Listing

  1. VORTEX
  2. UNCERTAIN SENSE
  3. BREAK ME (Auditory Impression only)

1. VORTEX

I must say as much as I like ballads from this band, their edgier songs also capture my interest and with VORTEX, they do a pretty epic job of fulfilling that need.  RUKI does a pretty epic job of singing in the song and keeping up with the rockin’ arrangement.  The thing that caught me was the fact that RUKI’s vocals were tampered with in different ways and that impressed a lot and showed vocal versatility IMO.  Powerful song and I actually liked it a whole lot ^_^

2. UNCERTAIN SENSE

Take out the synths from “VORTEX” and we get what UNCERTAIN SENSE is mostly about.  It’s quite calming as well, but still pretty hard from the band.  Other members do contribute in vocals as well and while I don’t know who’s singing along with RUKI, they sound pretty good too if I’m not mistaken.  Also going along, it’s weird to find out that this song is in English…I like it no doubt, but the A-side left a better mark.

3. BREAK ME

Only on the Auditory Impression edition of the single, the second B-side, BREAK ME opens up with a pretty kickass guitar riff from the two guitarists.  RUKI comes in, but he’s under filters for the verses while he comes into full force for the chorus.  I thought it was OK, but with the previous two songs, they were more impressive…they didn’t have a repetitive chorus either…

As the band’s fifth single in the era (album time yet guys???) VORTEX brought the badass back for sure.  I love VORTEX and the different feels it has but keeping it real to their sound.  However, I must say as a single, it’s not as colorful as “PLEDGE” was but it was streamlined rock goodness from them.

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m.o.v.e – oveRtaKerS SPIRIT

Filed under: m.o.v.e — solarblade @ 9:40 pm

Track Listing

  1. oveRtaKerS feat. RYUICHI KAWAMURA×SUGIZO
  2. SAKULA
  3. STRAYED
  4. BIRD
  5. EX B.F.
  6. FIRE feat. KLAYTON from Celledweller
  7. Super Precious Love
  8. melodies feat. Hiroaki Hayama on piano
  9. Viking Boat
  10. I’m alive
  11. Champagne Tower
  12. The Double Ace

1. oveRtaKerS feat. RYUICHI KAWAMURA×SUGIZO

It’s no surprise the album kicks off with the only A-side to represent the album and it’s also yuri’s return from baby leave so that’s pretty awesome.  Now, this song is interesting because of Ryuichi being the main male vocals here and he sounds good and all but a little bored as with yuri and motsu as well.  There’s just something missing in the song to make it strong and I seriously have a hard time remembering this song, but I guess it makes for a OK collaboration. SUGIZO was the only one that was memorable and he was playing guitar…

2. SAKULA

I guess by the way it’s looking to be, this album is going to sound like something in between “Deep Calm” and “GRID” but that’s ok because I miss the rockin’ side to the groups music and with SAKULA they’ve got it quite nicely.  yuri’s vocals sound quite vibrant and mixes in with the synths and guitars presented and of course motsu adding with his lines makes it a complete package.  It’s actually not that bad.

3. STRAYED

Unlike “SAKULA’s” focus on the guitars, STRAYED is definitely more for the synths and bleeps and I also found myself entranced by this song quite nicely.  It’s not as electronic like some of their stuff on the last few albums so this really does stand out.  Still it’s not as energetic as I would like it to be, but it’s definitely danceable and has a good rhythm and style to keep it afloat.

4. BIRD

Seeing as this was used in the Initial D series, once again I was having hopes to have it epic but it surprised me a bit.  I thought it was going to be a rock song giving the opening and such, but once yuri comes in it slows down to a more piano-based song that screams “Deep Calm” vibes.  Once motsu returns, the guitars also come back.  Sadly, this song didn’t really sound all that interesting and lacked energy….and this was for Initial D…which is even more saddening.

5. EX B.F.

At least things get a bit better with the next track.  I love the opening melody with the guitars and reminds me of stuff that was on some of their older stuff.  I love that it’s also lighter and in a more happier mood.  While the song does suffer a little on tempo, it makes up for a catchy arrangement and pretty good vocals from both members.

6. FIRE feat. KLAYTON from Celledweller

Our next collaborative effort is surprising since it does have a faster tempo going and I loved the darker side to their sound that reminds me more of their “BOULDER” days.  Now I never heard of Celledweller and so I’m not sure of KLAYTON’s role in the song…(guitarist perhaps?).  I do think the arrangement does manage to cover yuri in some places which is meh, but the song is pretty badass!

7. Super Precious Love

~what the hell is this~ is what motsu opens the song with and does a bit of rapping as well.  Being after “FIRE” this was a little weird to listen to, but it kind of fits since it cooled the jets after that song.  Just like “EX B.F.”, it’s quite nice to listen something a little more upbeat and in a happier vibe.  It’s pretty cool, but not as awesome as the last track.

8. melodies feat. Hiroaki Hayama on piano

Our next song definitely has “Deep Calm” written all over it for some reason and it’s probably from the gothic-like atmosphere here.  Of course being the third collaboration on the album Hiroaki Hayama sounds really nice on the piano and it’s played behind filtered guitars and strings.  Actually it reminds me of an old song of theirs “Nobody reason ~Noah no Hakobune~”.  Not as much dabbling in R&B, but this does have the same longing emotion…good song.

9. Viking Boat

The next song picks up from the slow-paced “melodies” in a nice way since the song has some interesting dark electro vibes going on.  However, unlike the other songs on the album, this one like “oveRtaKerS” feels like is missing something important but I’m not sure what that really is.  It just feels oddly empty for me.

10. I’m alive

Where I felt “Viking Boat” was empty, I’m alive fixes things up in a good way at least.  It’s not as explosive, but still feels like it’s complete and yuri gives a much better performance as well.  It’s not one of the best songs on the album but it’s pretty good for what it is I guess.

11. Champagne Tower

As the final new track on the album, Champagne Tower sounds quite interesting since it’s not really like any of the other tracks by sounding upbeat and the rhythm is pretty bouncy and fun to listen to.  It’s a little basic for them but both members pull it off a lot better than the last few songs. 

12. The Double Ace

Closing the album is the B-side from “oveRtaKerS” and like “BIRD” was used in the Initial D series.  Which is odd because I very much choose this over “BIRD” anyday because it has the right energy and it’s pretty much synth-based all the way as it should be really.  I’ve slightly gotten used to the song since the single’s release, but it still doesn’t rank up their with previous efforts from the group.

Tracks Recommended

  • FIRE feat. KLAYTON from Celledweller
  • EX B.F.
  • STRAYED
  • melodies feat. Hiroaki Hayama on piano
  • The Double Ace

Song of Avoidance

  • BIRD

So after about three albums returning to something more electro it seems that the duo opted for an electro/rock style ala “GRID”.  It’s pretty much a good move, but it seemed that with oveRtaKerS SPIRIT, it lacks something to keep it memorable.  I just can’t find myself fully enjoying this as much as I did with “Dream Again”.

 

Marina Kawano – Morning Arch

Filed under: Marina Kawano — solarblade @ 10:06 am

Track Listing

  1. Morning Arch
  2. I meet You◎
  3. FOCUS! FOCUS!
  4. Morning Arch (Instrumental)

1. Morning Arch

Pretty sweet that Marina’s first ever song is under a nice pop/rock kind of song.  It’s kind of a catchy song but it doesn’t have any real hooks to it and leaves the verses to be the most interesting thing since it’s pretty robotically sung….like herky jerky.  It’s a nice and light and does feel like a song that would work better heard in the morning. 

2. I meet You◎

The first B-side does excite me more because it’s a lot faster than the A-side and sounds more like a tune I’d hear as an opening to an anime.  It’s a lot more memorable and Marina gives a much better performance as well.  Oddly enough sometimes it could be a little sloppy, but it’s still a good enough track to get by. 

3. FOCUS! FOCUS!

The other B-side is the more cutesy song of the three, but it’s not that bad because Marina’s vocals are in their normal state and the music doesn’t go overboard.  That being said, it’s a nice song and the use of brass worked for me as well giving it a light, yet fun feel to it.  I was expecting a little more from this track, but what we have is nice enough.

As Marina Kawano is the newest winner of the Animax Anison Grand Prix (previous winners include Shuhei Kita, HIMEKA, and Sayaka Sasaki), her debut single is nice and all, but nothing to really go crazy over.  I do think that her pop/rock sound does make her slightly stand out but she needs better songs to have her vocals come through.

 

°C-ute – Momoiro Sparkling

Filed under: C-ute — solarblade @ 1:44 am

Track Listing

  1. Momoiro Sparkling
  2. FARAWAY
  3. Momoiro Sparkling (Instrumental)

1. Momoiro Sparkling

I know °C-ute has done tons of cute songs in the past, but in the direction they’ve been going for a while, it seemed they were going to a more mature side especially after “Kiss me Aishiteru”.  Momoiro Sparkling is pretty damn cute of a song and while it isn’t quite confortable to me…it’s not bad and since the normal singers are pushed forward again, it’s alright. 

2. FARAWAY

B-sides have really never been that amazing for °C-ute and this doesn’t really make it any better one bit.  I kind of liked that the song has the light reggae groove going on, but the girls vocals to not work in this setting….especially Mai and Chisato’s vocals…they seem to weird for a song like this.  Is it a ballad or is it something else?? 

Starting their 7th era, Momoiro Sparkling is sadly quite disappointing after such good A-sides preceding this single.  There’s nothing wrong with cute A-sides, but I’m still trying to get used to the main song since it’s been a while since we’ve had something like this.  FARAWAY though is just terrible…I mean awkward and poor vocals mixed with an icky arrangement does not work…ehhhh they’ll get better!

 

MISIA – Kioku May 24, 2011

Filed under: MISIA — solarblade @ 11:29 pm

Track Listing

  1. Kioku
  2. Kono Mama de Tonight (with JP)
  3. Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You
  4. Kioku (Instrumental)
  5. MAWARE MAWARE (Gomi’s Lair Club Remix) (Limited Edition only)

1. Kioku

Ahhhh, something that’s quite beautiful for MISIA of course you know it’s going to happen again.  I love the beautiful orchestral arrangement hear and it always suits MISIA’s vocals for sure.  It’s pretty quiet though, but I don’t mind it since it’s so grand and good for her.  I actually enjoy her vocals since their powerful and she hits notes like DAMN!  I love this as an A-side!

2. Kono Mama de Tonight (with JP)

As the main B-side of the single, Kono Mama de Tonight is a collaboration with JP, sadly I have no idea who he is beyond this but whatever that’s besides the point.  It’s funny that JP starts singing first and he’s got a nice voice on him to go along with MISIA’s vocals.  Of course MISIA does stand out a lot more because of her power vocals and she covers JP quite a bit.  It’s not bad, but it kind of seems like a typical R&B tune. 

3. Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You

Yep, you know this song, it’s a cover of Frankie Valli’s classic song and it’s been covered one too many times by different artists.  MISIA’s version is quite different since it starts with the chorus in a slow state before getting into its upbeat state.  MISIA really makes this cover her own because she sings it differently but keeps the melody close.  It’s an interesting cover for sure and shows her voice off quite awesomely.

4. MAWARE MAWARE (Gomi’s Lair Club Remix)

As a bonus track on the limited edition of the single we get a remix of MAWARE MAWARE (which was a track released on a compilation for FIFA).  I have not listened to the original, so I can’t say much on what’s new but guessing by the club remix, it’s longer and has more focus on the beats and synths used.  It’s interesting nonetheless and it’s nice to hear a MISIA song being remixed and this sounds fun to listen to over and over.

It has been quite a while since we’ve seen MISIA last (at least releasing physical music) so Kioku is a nice return to her music.  Even though I came in when “JUST BALLADE” was done being promoted she’s an impressive singer with an amazing voice to back it up.  Kioku is grand of a song and quite nice.  Her cover was also quite good since she spiced it up in her own way and the remix of MAWARE MAWARE is electro fun!  The only song that kind of didn’t stand out was Kono Mama de Tonight but it’s from the meh arrangement….Since there’s an album announced in July…I hope “EDGE OF THIS WORLD” makes the cut!

 

capsule – WORLD OF FANTASY

Filed under: capsule — solarblade @ 7:20 pm

Track Listing

  1. OPEN THE GATE
  2. WORLD OF FANTASY
  3. I JUST WANNA XXX YOU
  4. STRIKER
  5. KEEP HOPE ALIVE
  6. I WILL
  7. WHAT iS LOVE
  8. I CANT SAY I LIKE YOU
  9. PRIME TIME
  10. CLOSE THE GATE

CD2

  1. WORLD OF FANTASY (Extended-Mix)
  2. STRIKER (Extended-Mix)

1. OPEN THE GATE

Yay for intro track right?  OPEN THE GATE sounds kind of mysterious but cool at the same time with the amount of synths playing in the song.  Sounds like something from an RPG or something, it’s just that cool to listen to. 

2. WORLD OF FANTASY

As the album’s promotional track (odd the PV isn’t included to the album though).  Just like the opening, WORLD OF FANTASY has such a sweet vibe to it and it sounds like something I’d drive to at night since it has that kind of drive to it.  Toshiko also appears to sing the lyrics and they seem to be repetitive lyrics once again.  I definitely enjoyed this song and I’m pretty much in love with the PV.  Good choice to promote.

3. I JUST WANNA XXX YOU

You wanna do what with me?!!!!  I love the the kind of darker vibe of our next song because it’s so unusual and new from Nakata-san.  In a way it kind of sounds like Indian music, but pretty slight since the song is still more focused on the club beats.  The thing that makes me lulz is Toshiko saying the title and knowing she’s saying ~fuck~ but it’s censored out XDDDD.  Fun song here LOL

4. STRIKER

I’m not sure it’s Toshiko singing in STRIKER, but the fact there’s no auto-tune/vocoder stuck on her voice is pretty interesting and STRIKER is definitely reminding me of “e.d.i.t” from two album’s past with such an eargasm of an arrangement.  Unlike the past two tracks, this one is more focused on Nakata’s skills as a producer and he does a kickass job with this one.  It’s one of my favorites from the album to be honest.

5. KEEP HOPE ALIVE

LOL, are we really wanting to make this sound like some SNES adventure game?!?  I don’t know why, but the way KEEP HOPE ALIVE sounds reminds of those good ole days.  I am happy that the song isn’t lines repeated and an actual structured song for the duo and it’s kind of catchy for being one of the more lighter songs on the album. 

6. I WILL

If I thought “I JUST WANNA XXX YOU” had light Indian vibes, the opening for I WILL totally caught me with that freaky chant.  This track though really is something else.  What I mean is that it’s pretty dark and heavy and I like that quite a bit.  I like Toshiko here as well seeing as she isn’t in auto-tune again for the most part surprised me in such a song like this.  Loving this track!!!

7. WHAT iS LOVE

Why is the “i” in lower case here XD.  After the dark electro we got with “I WILL”, it’s a but of a weird change to get into something more lighter and happier with WHAT iS LOVE.  I will say that I love the fact Nakata introduced brass in the arrangement for sure.  Sadly, stock vocals finally make their appearance here and while I kind of go meh at them, Toshiko also coincides in the song so it’s not a big disappointment.  This song is nice though, but I don’t remember this as much the other songs on the album.

8. I CANT SAY I LIKE YOU

I don’t know why but this sounds like something Terukado would produce (at least in the opening before it cuts to the lone synth melody).  More stock vocals appear as well and once again, not bad because Toshiko’s there too, but this is kind of like a lighter version of “What do you want to do”.  It’s alright, but I kind of forget it after a while.

9. PRIME TIME

For the final main song, PRIME TIME also feels like “The Music” in the sound of synths, but this is a bit more interesting to listen to because Toshiko has a more active role going on here.  Funny that this song would be the one to capture my interest because of the fuller experience and Toshiko sounds great even though she’s definitely under some auto-tune.  Epic song to really end things up with!

10. CLOSE THE GATE

Finally, there’s the outro to the album which is also as mysterious as the intro.  It’s a tiny bit longer than the intro, but this kind of grows more as time goes by adding ad-libbing after a while but it kind of just ends after that.  Strange for an outro but I guess it does its job

CD2

1. WORLD OF FANTASY (Extended-Mix)

Adding almost 3 extra minutes to the song WORLD OF FANTASY begins the second disc on a long note.  Like previous extensions of Nakata’s capsule works, it starts with a pulsing beat and builds upon that before the main arrangement comes in.  Now the parts extended were mostly in the beginning and end but it’s usually that each time.  It’s really a nice extension of an already good song so it’s your choice for which to like.

2. STRIKER (Extended-Mix)

Unlike “WORLD OF FANTASY’s” extra three minutes, STRIKER only adds about a minute and that’s a little odd to me.  I mean it does have a different opening and I don’t really notice the changes made but it’s ok since the song is still quite awesome.  Definitely still an epic song.

Tracks Recommended

  • I WILL
  • STRIKER
  • PRIME TIME
  • WORLD OF FANTASY
  • I JUST WANNA XXX YOU

Song of Avoidance

  • I CANT SAY I LIKE YOU

Wow, I think this album is probably the hardest album capsule has done yet since there was no song that was slow and boring so this was easily meant to be album to dance to the ENTIRE time.  I wish this was out sooner under the “KILLER WAVE” title but y’know earthquake happens and sends it back a month.  Still, WORLD OF FANTASY is a pretty strong release from the duo and I seriously loved it!  Definitely an upgrade after “PLAYER”!

 

Yui Sakakibara (PHANTASM) – Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 11:13 am

Track Listing

  1. Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku
  2. Uruwashiki Seduce
  3. Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku (off vocal)
  4. Uruwashiki Seduce (off vocal)

1. Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku

Dang, the opening to the main track is creepy as hell.  It’s not like “BLOODY TUNE” creepy but it’s close.  Since we’re back in Yui’s PHANTASM moniker, I must say this is quite an epic song once again.  I love how the verses are very unsettling and then the chorus rushes in on full blast and turns into this powerful and dark track.  It’s pretty awesome and I think this is prolly the best of the PHANTASM A-sides yet.

2. Uruwashiki Seduce

Even the B-side of this single is as rockin’.  I love Yui’s deep vocals in settings like this because she can hit notes a whole lot better and she gives us a nice creepy vibe.  Even when the chorus calls for her being in a higher tone, she doesn’t overdo it and it sounds quite cool.  It’s also a little cleaner in execution when compared with “Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku” as well…so it’s pretty much the better track.

By the looks of it, we’ll have another PHANTASM album after the next single’s release and I’m happy because I haven’t been totally disappointed with the era.  Yui should definitely strive to make her music more along the lines of this.  Both songs are pretty awesome in their own rights and makes me wonder how “Pregheria no Tsukiyo/EUPHORIA ~Tsugunai no Requiem~” will turn out.