Kurayami Monogatari

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FLOW – INNOSENSE February 10, 2017

Filed under: FLOW — solarblade @ 6:06 am

innosense

Track Listing

  1. INNOSENSE
  2. Amida (Live ver.) <FLOW LIMITED CIRCUIT 2016 Kaze no Jin / Osaka BIG CAT 2016.9.20>
  3. EGO (Live ver.) <FLOW LIMITED CIRCUIT 2016 Honoo no Jin / Takamatsu DIME 2016.11.22>
  4. KA-ZA-A-NA (Live ver.) <FLOW LIMITED CIRCUIT 2016 Kaze no Jin / Osaka BIG CAT 2016.9.20>
  5. Kaze no Uta (Live ver.) <FLOW LIMITED CIRCUIT 2016 Kaze no Jin / Osaka BIG CAT 2016.9.20> (Anime edition only)
  6. BURN (Live ver.) <FLOW LIMITED CIRCUIT 2016 Honoo no Jin / Takamatsu DIME 2016.11.22> (Anime edition only)
  7. INNOSENSE -Instrumental-
  8. INNOSENSE -TV Size-
  9. INNOSENSE -TV Size -Inst.-

1. INNOSENSE

What a way to kick off the A-side, it’s probably one of the more intriguing introductions to an A-side I’ve heard from FLOW since…well I started to listen to them!  Being tied to the Tales of Berseria X anime, INNOSENSE is a lot more cool and true to the group’s sound as an intro song.  While I hear a lot more of KOHSHI in this track than I was expecting, the small amount of KEIGO isn’t too bad as the song is really more focused on the band and the powerful arrangement.  It also shows the band with a much harder and yet softer side to their growing sound.  Definitely an impressive song and sticks out a lot more than “Kaze no Uta” and “BURN” did!

2. Amida (Live ver.) <FLOW LIMITED CIRCUIT 2016 Kaze no Jin / Osaka BIG CAT 2016.9.20>

The rest of the single is filled with live versions of different songs, to be honest, I didn’t recognize any of the 3 tracks ahead, which is not surprising.  Now with Amida & “EGO”, I don’t think they were found anywhere else in their discography.  Amida does sound like something the band would’ve done in their more crazier days.  I’m a little surprised by the muffled chanting/yelling at the beginning, but once that clears away, the song ends up being catchy as hell and it just is FLOW at their best.  I wonder if this’ll be on an upcoming album (here’s hoping so!).

3. EGO (Live ver.) <FLOW LIMITED CIRCUIT 2016 Honoo no Jin / Takamatsu DIME 2016.11.22>

Like I said above, not sure if this was an already established song for the band, but EGO feels like it’s taking its sound from “BLACK&WHITE” as its rockin’ sound mixed with synths just seem to come from that era.  I do think it’s a bit more chant heavy and for pumping up the crowds more than “Amida” does.  It’s also quite catchy too and makes me wonder why live versions before studio versions.

4. KA-ZA-A-NA (Live ver.) <FLOW LIMITED CIRCUIT 2016 Kaze no Jin / Osaka BIG CAT 2016.9.20>

At least this track (through some searching) actually has a studio cut, surprisingly enough the original was on their 2002 indies mini, “Like a Rolling Snow”.  I wasn’t expecting them to reach that far back to perform this song and as its my first listen, I’m wondering how they sounded in their early indies days because it’s a lot more heavy and rockin’ than FLOW’s current style.  Add there’s some more rapping going on which is neat too!  Very cool track overall and probably my favorite of the 3.

5. Kaze no Uta (Live ver.) <FLOW LIMITED CIRCUIT 2016 Kaze no Jin / Osaka BIG CAT 2016.9.20>

The anime edition instead have live cuts of their last single (makes a LOT of sense considering the whole tie-in this single has.  Granted after coming off of 3 impressive lives, hearing Kaze no Uta is a different experience as the arrangement is a bit more live and the band is taking more charge.  While I still feel it’s a smidge bit uncharacteristic until the chorus, the band handled nicely and KOHSHI/KEIGO sound great together!

6. BURN (Live ver.) <FLOW LIMITED CIRCUIT 2016 Honoo no Jin / Takamatsu DIME 2016.11.22>

Likewise, BURN is pretty amazing to hear live as well.  I actually think the song was more comfortable for the band to throw out there live as it brings a nice force to the place they performed at and the band just sounds perfect and in synch with one another.  Great live version!

 

 

As the band’s 2nd single for the era, INNOSENSE might be a strange one for the group, but I quite liked it altogether.  The leading track is definitely amongst the best they released and I love FLOW’s tie-in songs most of the time as it is (which is most of their A-sides anyway XD).  While there was no B-side to be found, the live cuts are quite interesting.  With Amida & EGO, it feels like the band is starting to build an album (there’s 2 more unreleased songs they performed in those tours) and I’m already loving the idea as both tracks are pretty badass for the group.  Seeing KA-ZA-A-NA being brought back was great and shows a more intriguing FLOW of back yonder and then there’s Kaze no Uta and BURN which had to be here due to the tie-in.  Looking forward to their next release!

 

FLOW – Kaze no Uta/BURN September 10, 2016

Filed under: FLOW — solarblade @ 4:33 am

kazenouta

Track Listing

  1. Kaze no Uta
  2. BURN
  3. Kaze no Uta -Instrumental-
  4. BURN -Instrumental-
  5. Kaze no Uta -TV Size-
  6. BURN -Game Size-
  7. Kaze no Uta -TV Size Inst.-
  8. BURN -Game Size Inst.-

1. Kaze no Uta

As a song titled as Song of the Wind, Kaze no Uta definitely feels like a breezier entry for the band including more acoustic guitar and just a lighter arrangement overall.  I do have to say that the singers do a great job as per usual.  While I do love their edgier songs, Kaze no Uta isn’t a bad song and does a nice job for its anime tie-in!

2. BURN

As the theme for Tales of Berseria, the intro for me sounded familiar for some reason but I couldn’t really place it.  After the piano/strings intro, the actual song kicks off and it’s a lot more of what I was expecting from FLOW with such an honorable tie-in!  It’s catering to the fans that like more of their rockin’ tracks and I’m loving the mix of jazzy bits in the pre-chorus to the open chorus.  Great track overall!

 

 

FLOW returns after their 10th album with a pretty big single in Kaze no Uta/BURN being tie-ins for the Tales of… series.  While I do think BURN is the better song with its stronger arrangement and powerful punch (and surprises), Kaze no Uta is no slouch either, giving us a lighter and airy song.  Great way to kick off a new album era.

 

 

FLOW – #10 March 4, 2016

Filed under: FLOW — solarblade @ 7:07 am

10

Track Listing

  1. Niji no Sora -Album Ver-
  2. Oblivion feat. HISASHI (GLAY)
  3. DARK SHADOW feat. TeddyLoid
  4. Steppin’ out
  5. Hikari Oikakete -Crystal Lake mix-
  6. Chimimouryou feat. Hayate
  7. DECATHLON feat. AFRA
  8. JOY TO THE WORLD feat. Kiba of Akiba
  9. World Symphony
  10. Good Days ~Kimi wo Wasurenai~

1. Niji no Sora -Album Ver-

So opening the album we get a new version of the first single they released this era and really there’s not a total reason for it because it’s just a new intro to the song (which could’ve easily been an introduction track).  Beyond that, it’s the same song which is pretty great as I liked it originally as well!  I do think it’s a safe song for them because it’s a lot like their other Naruto themes and some other anime-tie-in songs out there, but it’s pretty good!

2. Oblivion feat. HISASHI (GLAY)

Moving into new songs, Oblivion is a different change of pace getting the help of the legendary guitarist, HISASHI and he makes his appearance WELL KNOWN by his heavy sound.  Both vocalists give a strong performance, even though the song panders between a hard rock sound to a more poppier side in the pre-chorus.   I wasn’t sure about the bridge with KEIGO though being a totally odd section to the furious song though…It’s a cool song and a nice hard-hitting track to really push the album up!

3. DARK SHADOW feat. TeddyLoid

Now, I know TeddyLoid from his stuff and remixes so I wasn’t sure how his sound would fuse with FLOW’s sound and it’s an odd mixture to say the least.  I like that the band stills gives off a heavy vibe, but I’m not totally on board with hearing KEIGO/KOHSHI being under auto-tune…it just never fully appealed to me I guess.  I think without that, it would’ve been an amazing song, but the auto-tune kills my interest a bit.

4. Steppin’ out

Which is funny that Steppin’ out comes next as it fixes the problems I had with the previous track!  Being the 2nd A-side from the album (and the only old track that was left untouched), Steppin’ out was a pretty interesting song for the band as it has an interesting rhythm going for it and a mix of their rock style and a bit of a more dance vibe.  Then there’s the whole carousel-like section in the second verse with KEIGO.  A bit better of an A-side than “Niji no Sora” but there’s better ones out there.

5. Hikari Oikakete -Crystal Lake mix-

I actually was surprised to make the cut because Hikari Oikakete originally was so bland and forgetful (even if it was a B-side to begin with).  Though we get a new version of it on the album and it was a BIG change.  Instead of being the typical FLOW song, this new version makes it a ballad with flowing strings and KOHSHI/KEIGO resinging the tune to fit this new arrangement.  While I do appreciate trying to make it stand out more, it unfortunately became more boring as a ballad.  There was just nothing to really keep me interested and it’s a minute longer than the original >.<  Just wasn’t feeling it…

6. Chimimouryou feat. Hayate

As the rest of the album is new songs, we start with Chimimouryou which opens up with an interesting shimasen melody that keeps up with the song.  I’m kind of liking this riff that’s going on and the band are being harder-hitting, but not like they were in “Oblivion”.  I like the hard sound and FLOW sounds pretty good, but I wonder where Hayate is in the song unless he’s one of the guitarists (wouldn’t be surprised).  I quite like this one a lot!

7. DECATHLON feat. AFRA

I think the weirdest song on the album is definitely DECATHLON which features AFRA and already from his beatboxing and rapping, simply annoys me.  Even the band tries to keep up with some rapping and light vocals and then all of a sudden they’re spelling the title of the song and that ends up being the chorus.  It does come off a bit too messy and nothing really correlates to a normal track, so it’s a tough one to listen to to be quite honest…

8. JOY TO THE WORLD feat. Kiba of Akiba

I definitely recognize this featured band as they’ve released a single with BABYMETAL.  With FLOW this time, JOY TO THE WORLD initially made me chuckle because the title reminds me of that Christmas song xD.  However, it’s anything but that because it’s the hardest song of the album with power drumming and an overall metal (which included some growling from one of the vocalists of Kiba of Akiba) and KOHSHI and later on KEIGO join in the wild adventure.  While I do feel the title being sung in the song makes things awkward like crazy, arrangement-wise it’s pretty decent and FLOW suited the overall tone.

9. World Symphony

I actually did know of this song from last year due to it being involved with J-MELO and due to that, I was so happy to see it made the cut!  I know, it’s a bit lighter than most of the songs of the album, but I feel like it represents FLOW’s sound the best alongside “Niji no Sora” but this is definitely nice to include synths and a positive tone throughout!  Though I have to admit their English is pretty odd during the bridge and it’s the album’s shortest track at that…I still felt this song was a more memorable track here.

10. Good Days ~Kimi wo Wasurenai~

Funny how we move from the shortest to the longest on the album being over 7 minutes!!!  The final track on the album, Good Days is the band’s mid-tempo rock ballad and it’s a pretty hard listen to stay in for the full time.  I will say the major parts of it are nice and the band sounds sentimental almost which is nice but dedicating almost three minutes to na-na-na-ings and dissonant chords just doesn’t justify its need (at least to me it doesn’t).  If they took it out, I think it would be a nice song to close things out with…just too long!

Tracks Recommended

  • Chimimouryou feat. Hayate
  • Steppin’ out
  • World Symphony
  • Niji no Sora -Album Ver.-

Song of Avoidance

  • DECATHLON feat. AFRA

For being the band’s 10th album, I would thin they would’ve done more with it than what we ended up getting.  #10 isn’t a poor album to say the least as they’ve had worse ones out there, but this definitely isn’t going to rank in the top 5 unfortunately.  To me this album feels really short and a lot of the songs were kind of messy or bland except for the couple on the recommends.  I think the idea of featuring many artists was a compelling idea, but I don’t think it worked well for a lot…oh wells!

 

FLOW – Steppin’ out February 3, 2016

Filed under: FLOW — solarblade @ 4:17 am

steppinout

Track Listing

  1. Steppin’ out
  2. Aoki Hoshi
  3. Niji no Sora -Beautiful Sky mix-
  4. Steppin’ out -TV size-
  5. Steppin’ out -Instrumental-

1. Steppin’ out

I feel like when FLOW steps into the use of synths in their music, it’s a mix of what could come out of it.  I wasn’t expecting the song to be a lot more lighter than I expected but as an anime theme, it suits the Durarara!! series and is it strange that it reminds me of “Tokonatsu Endless” in some ways?  I like the feel of the song and well the section with KEIGO and the arrangement shifting to a more waltz-like section was just so out of nowhere but funny!  It’s definitely something different for the band and quite unique amongst their A-sides so it definitely left its mark on me in a great way!

2. Aoki Hoshi

The B-side Aoki Hoshi is a little more of the synth style, but it’s a lot more relaxed of a song that I was expecting from FLOW (again).  It’s got a lot more of a soothing and smooth arrangement with both singers slightly laid upon some auto-tune and filters.  The chorus sounds good as it includes some ~whoaaas~ from the band.  This actually isn’t a bad song and one of their better light songs out there.  Personally, it would sound great as a closing to a live performance.

3. Niji no Sora -Beautiful Sky mix-

It’s been a while, but we’ve got a remix, this time of their previous A-side, Niji no Sora.  Unlike the bright nature of the original, this remix actually changes the tune to a ballad with a piano leading the brigade.  I do fully appreciate the fact that KOHSHI and KEIGO resung the track to suit the slower tempo and general emotional pace it has.  I still do LOVE the original, but this alternate take is quite decent and it’s pretty rare to see FLOW do a full-on ballad like this!

 

 

As the 2nd and last single before their next album, “#10” releases, Steppin’ out is a pretty bizarre single for the band.  I was expecting the normal to come out of this due to the anime tie-in, but Steppin’ out is quite different and original for the band to tackle as well as Aoki Hoshi and I thought the ballad remix of Niji no Sora was quite decent as well.  I’m curious to see what the album will bring us though.

 

FLOW – Niji no Sora August 18, 2015

Filed under: FLOW — solarblade @ 3:45 am

nijinosora

Track Listing

  1. Niji no Sora
  2. Hikari Oikakete
  3. connection
  4. Hikari Oikakete feat. Koudai Matsuoka (Reg & Lim only)
  5. FLOW NARUTO OP・ED SIZE Special Collection (Anime edition only)
  6. Niji no Sora -Instrumental-
  7. Niji no Sora -TV SIZE-

1. Niji no Sora

Hm?  A piano that opens with KOHSHI…couldn’t have expected that at all.  As another song that’s tied to the NARUTO series, Niji no Sora actually is another knock out of the park with it’s solid sound and both members really brought their A-game with this one.  For some reason, it does remind me of other songs they’ve done, but that’s always a good thing and the addition of synths really packed nice punch to an already cool track!  Great A-side!

2. Hikari Oikakete

As the first B-side (and the one that has the most attention on the single for some reason), Hikari Oikakete might not be as memorable to me as “Niji no Sora” was, it definitely is a good B-side for the band as it’s a little more like an anime theme (strange :0).  Not bad, but fulfilling as a track.

3. connection

Are we going back to something from “MICROCOSM” because the intro really had me getting strong vibes of that album here and to be honest, I’m ALL FOR IT!  Of the three songs, connection is the hardest hitting track of the single, but looking at how long it is and listening to it…it’s an instrumental track from them and that slightly disappoints me because this would’ve been an EPIC song had it had KOHSHI and KEIGO involved here.

4. Hikari Oikakete feat. Koudai Matsuoka

So the voice of Naruto Uzumaki makes his appearance in the B-side of the single?  OK.  I was surprised though the track itself is actually a minute shorter than the main version.  The tune is still mostly the same thing at least so it’s passable.  To be honest I have no idea where Koudai is in the song (maybe in the final run of the chorus) but this was seriously unneeded…

5. FLOW NARUTO OP・EP SIZE Special Collection

Basically it’s a medley of the short versions of all the songs tied to NARUTO, which would’ve been nice if we hadn’t gotten a thing like this already a couple other times “Sign” and “FLOW ANIME BEST” being that however it does include Niji no Sora so I suppose it’s up to current times at least…strange though

As the first single of a new era, Niji no Sora is OK.  I mean the leading song is pretty awesome for sure and ranks up there with their other epic songs.  It’s just that the rest of the single came slightly short to its A-side.  Hikari Oikakete is pretty OK of a song, but definitely nothing that FLOW hasn’t done already, but the featuring was so unneeded.  connection would’ve been great if it had vocals in it and I can’t say much for a medley of FLOW’s songs for the NARUTO franchise.  It’s nice overall, but could’ve been better.

 

FLOW – 26 a Go Go!!! September 6, 2014

Filed under: FLOW — solarblade @ 10:47 pm

26agogo

Track Listing

  1. Introduction -collage-
  2. Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye -Album Mix-
  3. Senkou no Uta
  4. Marionette
  5. Love☆Sera
  6. Smile Smile Smile
  7. Tokonatsu Endless -Album ver.-
  8. GLORY DAYS
  9. Someday
  10. Interlude -departure-
  11. Wanderlust
  12. Mata Au Hi Made
  13. PRIDE
  14. Conclusion -pride-

1. Introduction -collage-

So the album begins with an introductory track.  For a near 2 minute intro, collage opens with the band and some synths playing a cool melody and some other surprises as well.  It makes for an interesting intro and has some cool moments throughout. I would hope that that some of the songs take off from some of these ideas.

2. Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye -Album Mix-

So the first vocal track was the A-side the preceded the album, and interestingly has an album mix to shake things up as well!  To be honest, I couldn’t really tell the difference between the original and this one besides that it sounds a little more cleaner.  I still love the high energy the bands throws at the listener with this song and just kicks the album off with a pretty badass song!  Loving it still!

3. Senkou no Uta

Following it up, Senkou no Uta comes next and it begins with a quick passage from KEIGO before going in.  I really do like that the song sounds a lot like what we’ve been getting from FLOW so it’s a pretty standard track from them, but it sounds pretty cool as well.  Nothing much else to say about this song however, it’s just the norm for the band.

4. Marionette

Man, they’re just coming hard on this album so far. Marionette is a pretty driving track that kind of reminds me of stuff from their “MICROCOSM” album which is nifty because they showed that they can really do some awesome rock songs and Marionette has a lot of oomph to it that I really enjoyed.  Almost UVERworld levels to be honest.  KEIGO and KOHSHI sound great and just impressed me a lot overall.  Wow, another gem to the album!

5. Love☆Sera

Then the mood shifts quite fully into our next track Love☆Sera by having a more poppier tone.  The duo once again show a great connection and sound really cool and like they’re having a great time to sing.  Honestly, the best thing about this song is its chorus being so progressive and powerful but the rest of the song kind of blows by me (though SO MUCH COWBELL~).  What a weird song to come after “Marionette” though.

6. Smile Smile Smile

With a title like that, I was expecting the worst and it’s definitely the most anison sounding track from the album!  From the chords and the musical bridges with the synth/flute thing…it just SCREAMS anison, but I don’t think it even has a tie-in (to my knowledge).  I hate to say it, but it felt somewhat generic and kind of meh of a song to me.  Weird…

7. Tokonatsu Endless -Album ver.-

Huh?  Why does the album version tag differs from “Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye”?  Well, it’s apparant right from the start because it begins with a new short piano-only passage before going into the original.  To be honest, I don’t get why Tokonatsu Endless needed it but whatever.  This song does sound like a tune from their earlier days for sure, but I can’t deny that it’s a really cool song from them and the duo sounds really good (well except KOHSHI’s high note line).  Still a great inclusion for sure!

8. GLORY DAYS

Moving on, GLORY DAYS sound like something that should’ve been on their previous album for sure because there’s some synths that eerilly remind me of “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA”.  Of course minus the strong anison sound.  The tune is pretty energetic and everything seems right.  Like “Senkou no Uta” is is pretty much their standard rock song so it doesn’t sway me one way or another, it’s just a solid tune.

9. Someday

Weird that we finally come to a stop with Someday, which begins with a beautiful orchestral passage before the band steps in with a kind of alternative sound.  Being the tamer rock song, Someday really builds itself up quite nicely up to its chorus which is powerful and features a lot of guitars.  Honestly, I kind of wonder why it’s found before the interlude because it seriously sounds like a song that would end the album (ala “Butterfly” from “#5”).  It’s a pretty rad song for sure and stuck in my mind a lot!

10. Interlude -departure-

So comes our 45 second interlude and it starts in a public setting with some chanting and some latin guitar and piccolo.  I really don’t understand the meaning behind this interlude but I hope so it’s answered with our next track…

11. Wanderlust

I suppose it somewhat answered because it has some of the latin guitar, piccolo, and included some castanets to FLOW’s rockin’ atmosphere.  I actually think without, it would’ve been a plain FLOW song but the fusion is rather cool sounding and the group gave it their all for this one and I quite liked it!  Still a little standard for them, but the interesting instrumentation helped keep this song going really good!

12. Mata Au Hi Made

I feel like this song also doesn’t totally belong on this album with it’s rather poppier vibes, but it’s at least it’s a bit more energetic than “Love☆Sera”.  I’m definitely loving the horns that were included (even though they are a bit synth sounding).  It’s a pretty fun-sounding track at least.

13. PRIDE

So the album’s final vocal song is PRIDE and I was wondering if it would topple over “Someday” since that was a pretty fantastic track.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting dialogue throughout the verses from KEIGO first before KOHSHI comes in and actually sings a bit.  Then the chorus where it feels like there’s a lot chanting going on from the band.  I don’t think it came close to being as good as the aforementioned track and kind of left the album with a weird taste IMO.

14. Conclusion -pride-

So the album concludes with an outro piece which is kind of more of the random arrangements set to the melody of “PRIDE” which is nice and all, but I really don’t see the reason to include such a thing.  Being said, I suppose it did something, but I don’t see the appeal for it tbh.

Tracks Recommended

  • Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye -Album Mix-
  • Marionette
  • Someday
  • Wanderlust
  • Tokonatsu Endless -Album ver.-

Song of Avoidance

  • Smile Smile Smile

How to think about 26 a Go Go!!!…Well, it definitely wasn’t as good of an album that “FLOW THE MAX!!!” was that’s for sure.  I mean they had some pretty strong songs, but majority felt like they were going through the waves on this one.  Granted they aren’t bad songs, it just felt like they stuck to what was safe to them here.  I’m pretty sure the fact that it was released one day short of a whole year after their previous album might make it feel somewhat rushed, but I think it was an OK album, not my favorite of theirs but a nice listen.

 

FLOW – #5

Filed under: FLOW — solarblade @ 2:34 am

5

Track Listing

  1. WORLD END
  2. HEAVENLY STAR
  3. PULSE
  4. SNOW FLAKE ~Kioku no Koshitsu~ (ALBUM VERSION)
  5. ANTHEM
  6. BRAND-NEW DAY
  7. Akai Siren
  8. Antares
  9. MUSIC
  10. WORD OF THE VOICE
  11. Butterfly
  12. Gakuen Tengoku (bonus track)

1. WORLD END

Fitting that FLOW would kick things off with the biggest song of the era (which is also the 2nd A-side released.  I remember this as the Code: Geass theme and I’ve continued to pretty much enjoy the band’s performance here.  Plus, the addition of strings to go alongside their J-rock sound is very much appreciated, plus KOHSHI and KEIGO sounds really nice…great way to kick things off!

2. HEAVENLY STAR

Moving onto our first new track, HEAVENLY STAR is a lot stronger of a sound than “WORLD END” and it features both vocalists kind of singing in a more rougher tone which is a nice touch.  Definitely a song that’s for the fans who enjoy their heavier songs.  A little on the short side of things, but it’s definitely a powerful song.

3. PULSE

Seeing as I had just reviewed it a couple days ago, PULSE comes next and continues on with the band’s harder approach.  It isn’t as destructive as “HEAVENLY STAR” since KOHSHI and KEIGO are singing a little more smoother here.  It’s still a pretty awesome track, regardless and shows quite a lot of energy from the band, so I really enjoyed this.

4. SNOW FLAKE ~Kioku no Koshitsu~ (ALBUM VERSION)

Interesting that SNOW FLAKE actually was the only track to be edited for the album.  Right from the start, I can tell that about a minute was added from the original.  From the beginning, SNOW FLAKE remains the same as the original mid-tempo winter ballad.  I still find this song to be quite unique in their discography and sounds REALLY pleasant to my ears.  Now the thing that was added was a longer outro (an instrumental one at that that fades out too).  Weird way to close this song out, but I still love the song!

5. ANTHEM

At least we’re back to some new songs starting with ANTHEM.  This song feels like it shows off more of the group’s more quick-thrown lyrics and I quite enjoyed that.  Especially since KEIGO sung first here.  For what it’ worh, the tune is pretty catchy and the arrangement is pretty cool for them.  Definitely another promising track from this album!

6. BRAND-NEW DAY

KOHSHI opens up BRAND-NEW DAY to a more pop/punk style which is something I was expecting from the band on this album (since this is an earlier album of theirs).  Something about this song though kind of just passes by me.  I do like the guitarwork and the chorus is rather catchy, but it doesn’t seem to stick on me as much as other songs have.

7. Akai Siren

Then we get back into our more edgy and heavy FLOW songs with Akai Siren which is a nice twist after the last few songs.  KOHSHI does a great job keeping up with the arrangement and sounds great singing super loud.  Like “BRAND-NEW DAY” though, the song doesn’t really do much for me besides being a cooler song from the band.  Though the mid8 section was a little off in the feel of the tune, but it’s an OK song.

8. Antares

Whoa there, what’s with the intro and the chanting?  What I was expecting was a heavy song, but it’s the total opposite here!  To me, it feels like FLOW is trying to kind of go in that same genre that The Police had been famously known for.  Mixing in a little reggae and some brass instruments giving it a rather unique sound.  I didn’t expect FLOW to pull something like this off, but I really enjoyed the change of pace and it sounds really good too!

9. MUSIC

More chanting?  Yeah, but with MUSIC, it’s a totally different track by having a heavier arrangement and a lot of slap bass from their well…bassist. Also, the singers both are doing their rapping in the verses which always means the tune is quite chaotic and full of energy.  It’s a really exciting song and I love the synergy between both KOHSHI and KEIGO…they really do feed off of each other!

10. WORD OF THE VOICE

Feels like it has been forever since I’ve heard WORD OF THE VOICE last.  Coming back to it, I am enjoying that KEIGO got the verses for the most part while KOHSHI kind of stood back which is pretty nice.  I really like KEIGO’s deeper voice as it really does have a more serious tone than whenever KOHSHI leads.  The song might not have stood high amongst the other A-sides that were released after it, but it’s a solid track overall.

11. Butterfly

The album closes off with Butterly which unsurprisingly is one of their slower songs on the album.  Appropriately, the tune really does feel like it’s closing #5 out with a solid rock tune that doesn’t try to slam itself into your ears.  Though I LOVE the chorus of the song, it’s way powerful and just sounds wonderful to me…definitely a great way to end the album.

12. Gakuen Tengoku

However, the album came with a bonus track which is itself a cover of Finger 5 song (to me that’s rather familiar because misono has covered this too).  I wasn’t sure what to expect since FLOW seems to go all out on covers.  I do love the band’s enthusiasm in this track and sounds like a fun song to perform live.  On this album, it does seem weird because it is a happier song performed by the band.  Still the sound like they had a ton of fun with this cover and it makes me smile!

Tracks Recommended

  • PULSE
  • SNOW FLAKE ~Kioku no Koshitsu~ (ALBUM VERSION)
  • Butterfly
  • ANTHEM
  • Antares

Song of Avoidance

  • BRAND-NEW DAY

Yeah, I had jumped back to review this before their newest album since I did owe it to at least get to it.  Sad that it took me this long because #5 is a pretty damn good album if I say so myself.  I pretty much enjoyed all of the songs here and definitely shows what FLOW was like before I started down and reviewing them (right at “NUTS BANG!!”).  Be interesting to see how their newest will sound with the time stretched between this album til now (and of course the albums in between!).