Kurayami Monogatari

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Yui Sakakibara (PHANTASM) – Hagane no Yoroi Matou, Sanbyaku no Daishisai February 2, 2013

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 2:35 am

haganenoyoroimatou

Track Listing

  1. Hagane no Yoroi Matou, Sanbyaku no Daishisai
  2. Gunjou Valencia
  3. Hagane no Yoroi Matou, Sanbyaku no Daishisai (off Vocal)
  4. Gunjou Valencia (off Vocal)

1. Hagane no Yoroi Matou, Sanbyaku no Daishisai

What a pretty cool opening we have for the A-side here with all that piano and then leading to this very heavy and energetic rock track!  I thought it was going to last through the song but it calms itself down once Yui enters the song who sounds pretty damn good in the track.  I don’t think it’s as memorable as something like “Preghiera no Tsukiyo ni”, but this is eventful and flows so fiercely.  It just rocked my socks off!

2. Gunjou Valencia

The B-side of the single is once again a ballad from Yui and once again I’m slightly tricked to think the song was going to be a gothic-y ballad as with that intro, but the track kind of seems to go in a different direction.  It still is a darker ballad, but not as creepy as I thought it would be  I felt that Yui actually performed this a lot smoother than in the leading track which is pretty good!  Even the guitar solo wasa nice touch lol.

So another PHANTASM era from Yui?  I approve of that lol.  Hagane no Yoroi Matou… is a pretty solid single for the most part.  Nothing really bad about the single, but neither songs reach the level of previous PHANTASM songs.  So I can only hope things get better as she continues on!

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Yui Sakakibara – Judge of a Life October 18, 2012

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 8:11 am

Track Listing

  1. Judge of a Life
  2. Heart of Mind
  3. Judge of a Life (off vocal)
  4. Heart of Mind (off vocal)

1. Judge of a Life

I was curious to what we were gettong mext from Yui (since she’s gotten better singles in recent times).  Judge of a Life has your typical anison style going on with the guitar riffs and synth lines plus all them strings!  Her vocals are pretty steady for the most part but they don’t go too deep nor do they get too squeaky.  The song doesn’t seem like it’d be much to enjoy and well it’s true, it’s kind of bland in almost every area. 

2. Heart of Mind

As for the B-side of the single, Heart of Mind takes things slower, but sadly Yui’s vocals go up in pitch as well which tore me away from the song in a negative fashion.  Yeah, suffice to say that I wasn’t a big fan of this song and just kind of gave up.

 

 

Yui really needs to have an album with the singles she’s released under the label because it’s stacking up!  Judge of a Life overall is just bland all over.  The leading track is no real treat or very unique in Yui’s discography and Heart of Mind is just poor vocally.  Pass on the single!

 

Yui Sakakibara – Fractal September 6, 2012

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 9:37 am

Track Listing

  1. Fractal
  2. Scarlet
  3. Ren’ai 0 Kilometer
  4. Let’s Go! Modulation
  5. pi pi pi☆STRIKE!
  6. Oedo Komachi
  7. Manatsu no Cielo
  8. Himitsu Jikake no apple
  9. Sun shower
  10. Kuroi Hana
  11. Jubilus
  12. Kirameki Issen
  13. LOVE☆FIRE!
  14. Love Comp!
  15. evolution

1. Fractal

What? Is Yui wanting to start the album off with something that screams Japanese?  The title track has a pretty cool sound as it has a lot of electric guitars and some traditional Japanese strings which give it some power and finesse.  Yui’s vocals are actually pretty good since she’s trying to pull off some enka-ish notes.  It’s a solid track and all and is pretty good as the first song as well.

2. Scarlet

Moving on, Scarlet is the first of many of the cutesy songs on the album and I have to keep myself grounded without passing out from the sugar rush.  While it does retain the electric guitars from “Fractal”, the song adds synth horns and Yui’s vocals go into seiyuu mode which is a bit too much for me.  It’s a terrible song at least and it is catchy sometimes, but it just isn’t my kind of track.

3. Ren’ai 0 Kilometer

Sadly, it just goes downhill from there because Ren’ai 0 Kilometer packs on the cute even more by adding bells and synths to the electric guitars which are a bit all over the place for me.  This is just definitely a bad song for the album since it’s a little TOO busy and kind of gets increasingly annoying at the chorus.  I just can’t listen to this one.

4. Let’s Go! Modulation

Is there a limit to how high Yui’s vocals can go?  Let’s Go! Modulation hits an increasingly cute point in the opening of this anison song.  I do like the arrangement a lot more than the previous song but it still is buried in cute goo as to where it makes me curious to why she’s stuck to this voice for her music.  However the verses are the only places where her voice sounds rather normal, but that chorus is a no no…DAMNIT YUI!

5. pi pi pi☆STRIKE!

Lord, every song has gradually gotten more sickengly cute and absurd for me to listen to.  HER VOICE IS GETTING EVEN HIGHER AND SQUEAKIER!  What is she trying to pull…a Yui Ogura?  pi pi pi☆STRIKE! is the epitome of super cute and it’s just so distracting and the music is even at a poor state with just synths and twinkly bleeps and all.  I despise this song!

6. Oedo Komachi

Wait! Is this a break from the sugaryness?  Well, not quite but this song relieves us from the UBER CUTE songs by being somewhat going back to the front of the album.  Like the title implies, it’s styled like an Ondo song so it’s very Japanese-festival friendly.  Yui is of course doing the vocal vibratos which is pretty cool and she does well.  This isn’t a bad song and definitely breaks the mold from the album.

7. Manatsu no Cielo

Funny that this is the song that I ended up reviewing before the album (and yet she has a butt ton of singles that aren’t on albums).  On the single I said it was alright, but the vocals are a bit iffy.  On here, Manatsu no Cielo is one of the better songs on the album despite me still feeling the vocals aren’t good.  The arrangement is a bit lighter and more poppy and less cutesy/anison so that’s good…but I’m not sure where this song lies.

8. Himitsu Jikake no apple

*sigh* I wonder where did good Yui go…we dive back down into sugar land with Himitsu Jikake no apple and while it’s not the most offensive song the album has to offered, it’s far from being the best as well.  I will say that the arrangement is kind of nice and refreshing to my ears with its breezy atmosphere.  Her vocals still remain as the negative point about the song but it’s not cringeworthy.

9. Sun shower

Natrual instruments?  I know we get a little bit of that back in “Manatsu no Cielo” but it’s nice that one of the song is a ballad.  Actually this is probably the deepest her vocals have been so far all album.  Sadly, the song isn’t very intriguing and it just kind of lacks a life for the most part…very simple and kind of bland.

10. Kuroi Hana

Wow, the arrangement actually has some potential here since it’s synth-heavy and piano is playing the melody.  Then I hear Yui sing and I’M LOVING THIS because she’s singing in her deeper tones and she sound PERFECT with the arrangement, almost badass for some reason.  It makes me wish there were more songs like this on the album because this is hands down the best of the album. 

11. Jubilus

Which follows into the next track, Jubilus.  It’s a bit more heavier and darker with the drums and pipe organ that’s present.  Something about Yui’s vocals are a little strange to me.  They sound very awkward and it’s like she’s trying to be a dude but can’t really pull it off very well.  Yrah, I could’ve liked it, but that voice issue is odd to say the least.

12. Kirameki Issen

That Japanese setting finds itself once again on the album in Kirameki Issen which kind of sounds like “Fractal” funny enough.  That’s OK because I really liked this song a lot more because it has a bit more push and Yui gave a strong performance.  I’m surprised she’s put most of the good songs towards the end.

13. LOVE☆FIRE!

I kind of was surprised this didn’t turn out to be like a super cute song.  Actually, it kind of sounds like it could’ve easily been a PHANTASM single because of the aggressive arrangement and goth sound with the strings.  I do sense a little bit of brightness in Yui’s vocals which might not sound like it adds up well together but it does!  Another impressive song overall.

14. Love Comp!

Another title with ~Love~ in it?  Unlike the previous track, Love Comp! is back to the grossly cute vocals from Yui but the arrangement isn’t very cutesy but has a little bit of bright playfulness with the piano.  Yeah, otherwise I just am not into this track either but is that any surprise?

15. evolution

Finally, we get to the final track of the album and why she chose this as the final beats me but this deserves to up at the front with the sugary cute pop songs of the album.  I don’t think it’s a terrible song but it’s kind of the top of the poor songs on the album which isn’t totally saying much.  The arrangement is what got me and I liked that but…that’s roughly about it.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kuroi Hana
  • Kirameki Issen
  • LOVE☆FIRE!
  • Fractal

Song of Avoidance

  • pi pi pi☆STRIKE!

Jeeze, after “BLOODY TUNE”, it seems like Yui has been consistently getting worse with each album.  Fractal really started out with a little hope with the title track but quickly turns into CRAAAAAP once it gets in Scarlet and really never lets up fully until Kuroi Hana and it gets good until the final two tracks which are back to crap.  I wish she wouldn’t clutter all of these tie-ins on one album and just release one straightforward album where she doesn’t need her seiyuu voice…it’s soooo bothersome.  Like I said, Kuroi Hana is probably the biggest winner here…ugh this album why Yui…WHYYYY??????

 

Yui Sakakibara (PHANTASM) – ~PHANTASM~ Revival Prophecy March 29, 2012

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 8:12 pm

Track Listing

  1. Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku
  2. Sora to Chijou no Creation
  3. Preghiera no Tsukiyo ni
  4. Masquerade ~Noah Daisanshou Retsu-ou Shinseiki-hen Yori~
  5. Innocence  ~Satsuriku no Souseikishi-hen Saishuushou Yori~
  6. Inori no Violet
  7. EUPHORIA ~Tsugunai no Requiem~
  8. Uruwashiki Seduce
  9. Shinen no Lumière
  10. Hisui no Cavalier
  11. Zaika ni Keiyaku no Chi wo (Album Limited Version)
  12. Prophecy ~Gate of Steiner~
  13. Unmei no Farfalla

1. Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku

Starting off the second PHANTASM album, Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku (third A-side of the era), I like the rather creepy atmosphere we got from this song.  I love the power of Yui’s voice in the chorus too even when she does start to somewhat squeak but it goew hand in hand with the verses which are so unsettling and cool to listen to ^^.  Like I said, best A-side of the era hahaha.

2. Sora to Chijou no Creation

Only four new songs?  Talk about depressing…then again “End Prophecy” had like what two new songs amongst the amount it had (though it was a smaller album too).  Back to the song at hand, Sora to Chijou no Creation is pretty hard hitting with an amazing guitar solo opening the song before becoming this heavy goth-rock track with chanting in the background…so cool!  Yui is singing deeper but the arrangement does manage to overcome here because I can’t really hear her in the verses but everywhere else it’s good!  Not bad though but I could use less of the pounding drums tbh.

3. Preghiera no Tsukiyo ni

The fourth and final A-side representing the era, Preghiera no Tsukiyo ni still somehow impresses me as well and sounds a lot more powerful than a lot of the PHANTASM songs I know.  Yui’s vocals are amazing in the song for me and while I keep tossing between best A-side between this and “Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku” I have to say it was great competition but I like the latter just a smidge more.  Still epic song here!

4. Masquerade ~Noah Daisanshou Retsu-ou Shinseiki-hen Yori~

I will admit that I didn’t like how the tracklist squished ALL of the old songs together but it’s whatever…what else could you really do with just only four new songs.  Masquerade (B-side from “Unmei no Farfalla”) is kind of the oddball song for me because unlike most of the other tracks on the album, it’s more poppy and less dreary and hard like the others.  Sadly, I felt this was a weak song after listening to it more.  I will say that Yui’s vocals are alright but nothing amazing.

5. Innocence  ~Satsuriku no Souseikishi-hen Saishuushou Yori~

Innocence on the other hand is a little more fitting towards the album.  Beginning with a metronome clicking it really instills that creepy vibe quite nicely.  Coming from “Inori no Violet”, Innocence was nice and I definitely preferred it to its A-side which is a suprise for me.  While it’s a little more darker than “Masquerade” it’s still considered light when compared but that’s alright since it’s an anime theme (well all of them are but still).

6. Inori no Violet

Talking about Inori no Violet, the second A-side appears and remains my least favorite of the four.  I will say though that it’s not even bad so it’s a song to keep tabs on too.  The reason why I wasn’t too big of a fan were once again too much percussion involved.  Lighten that shit up please!  Beyond that, Inori no Violet was mysterious and kind of foreboding which is good to have that feeling.  Not bad.

7. EUPHORIA ~Tsugunai no Requiem~

Moving to the B-side from “Preghiera no Tsukiyo ni”, EUPHORIA is pretty much considered the ballad of the album and is also the longest song of the bunch passing over 6 minutes (only a couple seconds longer than “Inori no Violet” though).  I like the gloomy and melancholic feel of the song but it doesn’t go anywhere until the end where other instruments get added.  It’s just kind of boring to me unfortuantely.

8. Uruwashiki Seduce

If there was one song that was better than “Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku” I’d easily pick this song (and it was the B-side of that single, mind you).  I mean it was fierce and just full of personality and energy which made me all giddy on the inside!  Plus the additional synths added along the rock style pulled me in further.  Definitely my favorite song on the album! (well out of the old songs)

9. Shinen no Lumière

After trudging along the amount of old songs on the album, we finally get to the area with new stuff starting with Shinen no Lumière!  I felt like this was “EUPHORIA” done right because it’s a ballad but has orchestration and the rockin’ atmosphere boosting it which left a better and powerful song behind.  I actually really enjoyed this tune as well!

10. Hisui no Cavalier

Ooo I like the string intro to Hisui no Cavelier.  It does give this rather adventurous medieval feel to it which is a little different against other songs.  However, I feel for this the same way I do with “Sora to Chijou no Creation” in where if not for the meh drums, this would’ve been a better experience.  Luckily, I could forgive this one because it’s pretty good as well!  Dramatic but awesome!

11. Zaika ni Keiyaku no Chi wo (Album Limited Version)

Of course this would be the third version of this song!  First one was the original of course and that was Yui’s debut under the PHANTASM moniker and the second was found on the “Inori no Violet” single.  The difference between the Album Limited and the Single Limited (not the original) is that the arrangement was cleared up a little more and some of the singular guitar lines are more pronounced and I’m pretty sure Yui did resing this so it’s a little more cleaner as well and maybe slightly deeper?  I don’t know but otherwise the song remained the same and my feelings towards it hasn’t changed a lot since I last reviewed it.  Great verses but a little much with the chorus…Not terrible in the least but not one of the best either.

12. Prophecy ~Gate of Steiner~

OIC, the last new track is merely an interlude before “Unmei no Farfalla” it seems.  Under 2 minutes, Prophecy doesn’t seem like it suits this whole PHANTASM thing (you know since “End Prophecy” didn’t have one).  However, it does suit it because it’s heavy, dark and VERY furious (which could also say it doesn’t fit).  You hear some ad-libbing but that’s about it…weird…

13. Unmei no Farfalla

I can see why Unmei no Farfalla would be at the end because it has a slight Arabian intro which hasn’t been the sound of the album.  The A-side that kicked off the era, I feel it still does leave a good mark even though it’s a lot lighter than most of the songs.  Makes for a good song to wrap up the album with though but meh

Tracks Recommended

  • Uruwashiki Seduce
  • Hisui no Cavalier
  • Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku
  • Preghiera no Tsukiyo ni
  • Shinen no Lumière

Song of Avoidance

  • EUPHORIA ~Tsugunai no Requiem~

PHANTASM’s 2nd album, a bit more fleshed out than “End Prophecy” was for sure is still quite good.  While I’m currently unsure if it ranks better than the first one, Revival Prophecy is a great collection of goth-rock and slower stuff.  Though there were some misses (in which I don’t think the first album did) but it doesn’t deter away from what’s good.  Still a pretty great album nonetheless.

 

Yui Sakakibara – Mujuuryoku Aria March 2, 2012

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 11:30 pm

Track Listing

  1. Mujuuryoku Aria
  2. Hane Saita Aozora
  3. Mujuuryoku Aria (off vocal)
  4. Hane Saita Aozora (off vocal)

1. Mujuuryoku Aria

I was surprised hearing the A-side because it’s not like anything I’ve heard from Yui before which is a good thing.  I really like the arrangement since it sounds a lot like something from a video game with a mix of Elements Garden as well which might be who produced this actually.  Yui’s vocals are still a bit pitchy but she has a lot control in the song which helps this rather DDR-like song works its wonders.  I’m pretty impressed with this and loving it more for the music!

2. Hane Saita Aozora

As the B-side of the single, Hane Saita Aozora is totally the opposite to “Mujuuroyku Aria” since it has more of strings/pop/rock kind of style to counter the A-side’s love of synths.  I’m not too much of a fan for her vocals here since they’re more apparant to be cuter than it should be and it’s not a good thing.  Luckily this isn’t as tragic as “Manatsu no Cielo”. 

 

 

As usual it just seems that I only like half of Yui’s singles as in the case for Mujuuryoku Aria.  The leading song was quite different and the way it flowed felt refreshing and worked with Yui’s vocals very well.  Hane Saita Aozora though sounds like it could be from an album since it’s a song that has an ok arrangement but is kind of messed up by Yui’s pitchy vocals.  I wonder when she’ll have another single were both songs are great!

 

Yui Sakakibara / Yui Ogura – Manatsu no Cielo/Samurai Girl February 19, 2012

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 3:12 am

Track Listing

  1. Manatsu no Cielo
  2. Samurai Girl
  3. Manatsu no Cielo (instrumental version)
  4. Samurai Girl (instrumental version)

1. Manatsu no Cielo

As it is a split single, I was curious to what we got since both vocalists are really pitchy singers.  However it seems it’s true for this single because Yui S. is singing in a very squeaky tone (which is something I’m not too big of a fan of).  It’s got an all right arrangement being cutesy pop/rock and all but I just couldn’t really take Yui’s vocals here.  Pass…

2. Samurai Girl

On the flip side we get Yui Ogura who’s also well-known for her squeaky vocals.  Now for a title as Samurai Girl I was expecting a bit more punch but it felt weak and kind of held back when compared to “Manatsu no Cielo”.  I’m still quite sure that I don’t like Yui Ogura very well unlike Sakakibara because she does have the ability to sing lower…I just didn’t enjoy this song.

 

 

As a split single and idea I thought it was nice to get Sakakibara and Ogura together since they both have that squeaky cute voice going.  However, neither song did much for either singer moreso for Ogura because the arrangement was rather super weak for her!  Not very good of a release IMO.

 

Yui Sakakibara – Change for you!! January 1, 2012

Filed under: Yui Sakakibara — solarblade @ 7:43 pm

Track Listing

  1. Change for you!!
  2. Change for you!! (off vocal)

1. Change for you!!

I kind of thought by looking at the single’s cover that this would be a rather cute and I was right when it comes to Change for you!!.  What I didn’t expect it was that the song was a bit catchy despite Yui’s rather pitchy cute tone we have.  Also the nice arrangement was an interesting change of pace (anime-ish but using a lot of natural instruments, but with little speckles of synths).  Not bad, but still not the best she’s done!

 

 

It is a little disappointing to see that there’s no B-side to the single but I thought Change for you!! wasn’t all that bad but it kind of ranks at the top of the low tier of her cute seiyuu-y songs.  Then again I wonder why it took so long for this single to leak >.<