Kurayami Monogatari

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MELL – MIRAGE October 27, 2010

Filed under: MELL — solarblade @ 3:53 am

Track Listing

  1. mirage
  2. KILL
  3. Princess bloom
  4. Fascination
  5. FIXER
  6. Sabaku no Yuki
  7. Proof
  8. Teleportation guy
  9. Love illusion
  10. Infection
  11. RIDEBACK
  12. MY PRECIOUS
  13. Red fraction -IO drive mix-

1. mirage

Beginning the album with its title track, mirage kind of mixes the synth style with her rock style that MELL has been getting more used to doing here recently in this era.  While there’s some ties to Mami’s “linkage” somewhere in there, I ended up enjoying this a bit even though I do feel it becomes a little sloppy with the electric guitars.  Still, it’s a little bizarre for an album opener (and title song for that matter) but I guess we had to start somewhere.

2. KILL

Being the first (well argubly) A-side of the era, KILL is definitely what I wanted to hear from MELL after listening to “MELLSCOPE” and the dark vibes this song carries was so awesome to listen to.  While it isn’t as dance-based as “kicks!”, it has the same feel and I enjoyed both so this on the album was great and MELL’s vocals are of course epic to listen to.  FREAKY SONG!

3. Princess bloom

Oh the beginning of Princess bloom sounds like those Icy Caverns from the original Donkey Kong Country, I liked that so much hahah.  There’s just a rather flow-breaking status about it since it broke the rockish flow that “mirage” and “KILL” were going for.  It’s really smooth while keeping the synths going on and letting MELL be as legato as she wants.  I never expected MELL to have a song like this, but it’s different and I might grow to like it.

4. Fascination

Why does the synth at the beginning remind me of something else eh?  Either way, I love when MELL sings under the trance style of I’ve Sound and Fascination definitely fills that gap smoothly.  It’s like “no vain”, but a bit lighter in mood and flow.  So far, MELL has shown her various colors of singing as well, but this is where I like her the most.  So basically, this was a great tune for her!

5. FIXER

I guess we quickly switch back to rockin’ MELL with FIXER and once again found myself liking the edgy side to MELL’s music a bit more.  Once again, I love the fact that she sings really strong and utilizes a lot more vibrato in the chorus.  It might come off as a little blah in the verses, but this is good otherwise.

6. Sabaku no Yuki

Wow, talk about diving into the I’ve Sound encyclopedia to pull this song out.  Already, you can tell MELL sounds rather younger than in the other songs of the album and be as it may, it’s also one of MELL’s old songs like “Utsukushiku Ikitai”.  That being said, it’s different, but it doesn’t feel so out of place as you might think.  It’s pretty synthy, but a great addition, even if it’s ancient stuff.

7. Proof

While “Sabaku no Yuki” still remains the odd song addition to the album, Proof is right up there as well.  I mean for one thing, it was the primary A-side of her second single “Proof/no vain” so it’s inclusion makes a bit more sense since it wasn’t on “MELLSCOPE”, but I still think it has no place on the album. 

8. Teleportation guy

I find it amazing that MELL is embracing her synth side again and once again was surprised this song was as upbeat as it was and yet kept a great trance-ish melody going on (especially the musical interludes of the song).  I do think some of the singing is rather off, but the music is what drew me in moreso and I can’t help but fall in love with it.

9. Love illusion

I’m surprised that the album is actually much trance-ish that I thought it would’ve been and it’s great we have a synth/rock fusion track like Love illusion since it shows how fluid and sweet it could be.  MELL’s vocals aren’t as tightknit as she usually controls it so I liked the lessened control.  Though on this album it kind of parallels Mami Kawada’s “in answer”, but just a tad bit.

10. Infection

One of the new songs that were known prior to the album being announced, Infection was used as an opening to the anime “HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD”.  For being the opening theme, I was surprised this actually turned out worse than I remembered it.  It calls for a chaotic arrangement mixed in with MELL’s uneven vocal style and it might be on purpose to give the song more of a wild sound, but this is like “Virgin’s high!” in the way that it’s sloppy arrangement just is too much for me to listen to.

11. RIDEBACK

Ahhhh, I was so disappointed that they had to include the “English” version of RIDEBACK.  There’s just something about this cut is so sloppily done about this.  I barely understand what she says unlike in “Red fraction” where I could tell most of the time what she says, I much prefer the Japanese version of RIDEBACK off the single more than this.

12. MY PRECIOUS

MY PRECIOUS actually stands out for me on this album since it’s like a ballad, but not really because of the whole cold and weird ideas it got.  I do love that MELL sounds beautiful in the chorus where it opens up and sounds majestic.  It’s something you don’t expect from I’ve, but I approve and I loved it.  The only thing that really bothered me was the near 8 minute length of the song so it basically did drag the song all over…oh well, it’s still a good song.

13. Red fraction -IO drive mix-

Ending the album is of course a remix of MELL’s debut single and oddly enough it was used in the same anime the original was tied-in from.  For me, it’s like why change an already good thing AGAIN!?  This remix sounds like it moved the sound around and fidgeted with the beats to make it seem remix-ish, but it sounds like there wasn’t anything really new given.  The vocals from MELL are a bit clearer though I’ll admit to that.  Different, but passable.

Tracks Recommended

  • Teleportation guy
  • Fascination
  • Sabaku no Yuki
  • KILL
  • MY PRECIOUS

Song of Avoidance

  • Infection

In some ways, MELL’s sophomore effort is towards a direction that the other members (minus Eiko) have seemingly turned into towards a more trance-ish style ala the early I’ve days.  MIRAGE does feel like the other recent albums of the other 2 girls (KOTOKO & Mami Kawada), but MELL has kept her rockish side as well and I feel like this was a good album, but there were some meh stuff and Infection was just yikes on a stick.  I still think “Kara no Tsubomi” would’ve been nice, but w/e

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MELL – Kara no Tsubomi June 28, 2009

Filed under: MELL — solarblade @ 12:56 am

karanotsubomi

Track Listing

  1. Kara no Tsubomi
  2. Utsukushiku Ikitai -I’VE in BUDOKAN 2009 Live ver.-
  3. Kara no Tsubomi -instrumental-

1. Kara no Tsubomi

Oh crap….6 minutes long?  I’m surprised by how long the song is, but honestly this song is pretty sweet musically…I wish I could say the same for MELL’s vocals as they begin pretty strange and seiyuuish and stays like that for a most of the song.  At least the chorus fixes it up quite a bit and then I’m falling in love with it again.  It isn’t as mysterious as like “no vain” but the synth+guitar is sweet enough for me.  Could be my favorite between the 3 I’VE artists.

2. Utsukushiku Ikitai -I’VE in BUDOKAN 2009 Live ver.-

Hey, I KNOW THIS SONG XD.  Anyways, I love MELL’s enthusiasm in the song and between the three artists, the audience was so much more alive and with the song which is awesome because this is like MELL’s most well-known and IMO coolest song besides “Red fraction”.  This was better than the rearrangement back on “MELLSCOPE”.  Sweet.  By the way, this is the only song not from “OUT FLOW”, rather it came from an earlier release “regret” which came out in 1999….wow!

 

 

Of the three single: this, “L’Oiseau bleu” and “snIpe”, this was easily the best.  Both tracks were great, Kara no Tsubomi’s slight electro sound mixed with MELL’s vocals always works and the fun-sounding live version worked as well. 

 

MELL – RIDEBACK March 1, 2009

Filed under: MELL — solarblade @ 6:17 am
Tags: , ,

rideback

Track Listing

  1. RIDEBACK
  2. RIDEBACK -Japanese ver.-
  3. RIDEBACK -Re-mix ver.-
  4. RIDEBACK -instrumental-

1. RIDEBACK

I think MELL finally got it right this time around.  Definitly one of her most tranceish songs (not including the various I’ve Sound releases).  It’s kind of funny that the RIDEBACK’s chorus is very lively and not dark.  Her English is a bit difficult to understand here…more harder than “Red fraction”.  Maybe it isn’t that fantastic, but it’s got some golden moments. 

2. RIDEBACK -Japenese ver.-

So it’s basically the same track, but with a language twist of all things.  I’m actually considering to take this one rather than the English cut.  It doesn’t seem more convoluted and hard to point what she’s saying, but there’s moments still of uncertainty.  Other than that, nothing new to really report.

3. RIDEBACK -Re-mix ver.-

I honestly don’t think RIDEBACK needed a remix version because it just seems like a lost cause on the single.  There’s a lot more synths present and MELL’s vocals are messed with a bit, giving an echo effect like her remix of “repeat” on her debut album.  It’s a pretty wacky remix, but it’s pretty cool.

 

 

MELL is doing a lot better on these singles than through her first era.  RIDEBACK seems to be one of those WTF because the song isn’t dark and in your face as much as “KILL” was.  It’s nice to see an English/Japanese version of each which gives the listener a good preference.  The remix was a little useless, but was a nice treat.

 

MELL – KILL November 21, 2008

Filed under: MELL — solarblade @ 2:44 pm
Tags: , ,

300px-mell_-_kill

Track Listing

  1. KILL
  2. On my own
  3. KILL -instrumental-
  4. On my own -instrumental-

1. KILL

KILL finally brings back the evil side of MELL for sure.  As it is still combining dark guitar riffs and synths, this song is like a Japanese “Red fraction”.  MELL also uses a more deeper sound to get through the verses.  The chorus doesn’t really change tempos and you have to get used to where it is in the song.  It is so much better than the last two A-sides for sure.

2. On my own

On my own is one strong B-Side that’s for sure.  It starts immediatly with MELL singing in a woman-like sound and then she brings out the deep vocals and how she transitions through it and gets louder is so bone-chilling.  Given the fact that the song is a ballad somewhat, I was definitly liking this song a lot.  This should’ve been the A-side IMO

 

 

MELL’s first single for the new era was definitly a step up than the last single.  KILL was definitly going to remind us that MELL loves evil songs and sound cool doing it.  On my own however won me over with great vocals and soothing music.  Very strong single for her

 

MELL – MELLSCOPE November 10, 2008

Filed under: MELL — solarblade @ 9:31 am
Tags: , ,

mellscope

Track Listing

  1. SCOPE
  2. Red fraction
  3. Way Beyond There
  4. repeat
  5. Virgin’s high!
  6. no vain
  7. Permit
  8. Under Superstition
  9. kicks!
  10. The First Finale in me
  11. Utsukushiku Ikitai -10 years anniversary mix-
  12. repeat -Deep Forest remix-

1. SCOPE

~In the future~ opens the title track and I’m kinda confused why there’s like guitars that sound like southern sounds.  Maybe it’s just me but who knows.  I love her power going through the chorus and she sounds great even though she twists her notes between her voice.  Even though she’s yelling, it’s not too bad and I love her control here.  Musically it does sound different from anything I’ve heard before the album so that’s good.

2. Red fraction

Red fraction is still the angriest track on the album and is still one of my favorites.  Noting already that it’s all entirely in English.  Even the lyrics are some of the most angsty lyrics I’ve seen a J-pop artist use in a long while and I love it.  MELL’s English BTW is passable, but there’s some accenting issues that needs to be worked on.

3. Way Beyond There

Taking on a more punk rock phase, Way Beyond There is definitly an interesting song.  The verses are dark and the synths are foreboding as well creating this almost uncomfortable setting.  Sadly, the chorus wasn’t anything surprising, but you do hear piano.  Her vibrato does kind of bother me in the chorus as well, but I guess it’s a good track.

4. repeat

Our next track opens with a strange synth opening and leads into a string entrance.  It’s a pretty long entrance too.  MELL is kind of singing without really noticing the music that’s playing.  It isn’t until the bridge that she gains control and being a mid-tempo track, it’s nothing really to be happy about.  I guess it’s a moving track, but MELL is a little lost in the song.

5. Virgin’s high!

Like I said in the review this song is so strange and not to my liking.  It’s back to the rock stuff, but with MELL’s voice being filtered like crazy and all of the mishaps, this song just came out bad.  The chorus is probably the only good thing because it’s quite catchy. 

6. no vain

Now, I’m happy that no vain appeared on the album instead of “Proof” because it just sounded so much better IMO.  Now, I can compare the guitar and synth usage to “Red fraction”.  Luckily MELL is singing in Japanese and her voice is lovely to hear.  It’s like singing/opera-like.  The chorus of the song has to be the coolest thing about it.  Definitly a great track.

7. Permit

Permit, is another English-only track and it’s more heart-felt because most of it is musically the acoustic guitar and piano.  As it is the first ballad, I actually like it.  MELL sounds fairly nice doing the ballad-style and as time goes by her voice gets stronger and louder making a better impression on me.

8. Under Superstition

Love the static opening of this track.  There’s something evil looming in the song and I love MELL’s voice sounding like she’s longing for something.  Her deep vocals are definitly are great thing here and with the dark atmosphere, it’s one of the better new tracks, if not best on the album. 

9. kicks!

kicks! is still a weird song with me.  Being so upbeat and yet destroying it pretty quickly.  MELL through the chorus is so bad because she’s depending too much on the vibratos and it doesn’t sound right with the music.  I think this and its sister A-side was the worst coupling in her career.

10. The First Finale in me

The last new track is a ballad and is a beautiful one as well.  It’s pretty sad and with just the piano backing up for the first half and then some other sounds coming later, it’s a nice track.  MELL through the verses sounded different like her pitch was higher and yet when the chorus she becomes fuller in sound and deeper again.  Definitly a high point for the album.

11. Utsukushiku Ikitai -10 years anniversary mix-

Surprised huh?  I was when I learned that she was in fact singing for 10 years (even though this is her debut album that came out this year).  The original was full of trance and you know me, I love it to death.  Main difference between the original and now is that this one seems a lot more happy.  MELL also sounds a lot more mature now as well.  Definitly a nice touch-up for the ole’ track.

12. repeat -Deep Forest remix-

Our last track is a remix of said track.  Now this remix makes the song sound more depressing and foreboding with the piano and eerie sounds.  I actually really loved this more than this original because it doesn’t have any truly awkward moments.  MELL’s vocals are also more twisted and have an echo effect which added more to its elusiveness.  I think her yell/ad-libbing was intoxicating and showed the most emotion of the album.  It’s also fully in English as well, which does shock me.

Tracks Recommended

  •  Red fraction
  • repeat -Deep Forest remix-
  • no vain
  • The First Finale in me
  • Under Superstition

Song of Avoidance

  • Virgin’s high!

Even though MELL’s been in the music industry for 10 years, this is actually her debut album, so there was a lot of speculation at how good she’ll be doing the J-pop stuff, cause most of the stuff she’s done is trance and dance stuff.  My thoughts are is that this album is a good album.  There were some tracks that were pretty bad (kicks! and Virgin’s high!).  The new tracks were pretty cool though.  It’s not the best album of the year, but it stands in its own way.

 

MELL – Virgin’s high!/kicks! November 5, 2008

Filed under: MELL — solarblade @ 10:08 pm
Tags: ,

Virgin's high! kicks!

Track Listing

  1. Virgin’s high!
  2. kicks!
  3. Virgin’s high! (instrumental)
  4. kicks! (instrumental)

1. Virgin’s high!

I’m pretty sure to say that this was trying to be more like “Red fraction” but this is just isn’t that good.  The chaotic music really doesn’t fit, but at least the chorus is really good.  Though she says ~Sky Girls~ a lot, which is because the song is a tie-in for the anime of the same name.  Sadly, the song just sounded really messy and didn’t make an impact.

2. kicks!

kicks! is a little more to my liking with all of the synths.  Sadly, I didn’t like MELL’s vocal through it until she comes in.  Sadly the vocals are everywhere this time and it just wanted me to shut the song off about half-way through. 

 

 

Why is she losing steam here?  I mean last single had one song that I didn’t really like and this one was just bad IMO.  Even though the music was cool only in kicks! everything else faulted on MELL’s singing.  Hope her album is good at least.

 

MELL – Proof/no vain October 6, 2008

Filed under: MELL — solarblade @ 5:21 am
Tags: ,

proofnovain

Track Listing

  1. Proof
  2. no vain
  3. Proof (instrumental)
  4. no vain (instrumental)

1. Proof

Uhm, this is definitly a drop-off from last single “Red fraction”.  It’s very pop and less aggressive than that track.  I think it’s a pretty obvious pop track, and MELL sounds pretty different as well.  Proof to me was her odd track because it just didn’t carry the anger and power, but left us with the odd pop track that didn’t do anything for me.  Though it is a Japanese track and not in English. 

2. no vain

That’s where no vain comes in.  It’s a kind of middle track between “Proof” and “Red fraction”.  There’s a lot of synth here, but it’s also has the same dark vein that made the latter track really good.  MELL’s vocals are pretty smooth and very nice to listen to.  I actually enjoyed her a lot in this song and shows a more versitile side to her music. 

 

 

MELL’s 2nd single was odd since I’m new with her music.  I was expecting something terribly dark and powerful like her debut was.  Then when I started the single up I was surprised that Proof was actually a very pop-like tune that was bordering a ballad.  no vain though was more close to what I expected but she added some graceful vocals to a pretty synthy beat.  Funny that Proof doesn’t appear on the album while no vain does which means that the album is gonna be a dark one.