Tag Archives: Jrock

“Nancy” – SKULL

Welcome back to me, and welcome back to SKULL! This band was introduced to me by Toshi San and I definitely appreciate it. Gaining insight on new VK bands is what I’m all about.

I’m going to probably step on some toes and hurt some feelings when I say that I wasn’t very fond of Nancy. The guitar and the rest of the instruments were great, but I didn’t feel like the vocals matched the intensity of the song and for that I couldn’t really take it seriously. This is one of those songs I will probably have but rarely listen to.

I did, however, find JUMPIT to be really interesting. It’s a fine blend of all sorts of musical elements which come together to make some weird messy thing that works. I would recommend this song to anyone with a varied taste in music, such as myself.

In Conclusion: I didn’t like this single as much as SKULL’s last effort, but they are still a band I’m going to keep up with. I pretty much have to if I’m going to have Toshi San as a friend. 😉

~Alisa~

AAA’s new single will be reviewed next, hopefully in the next couple of days. Ven, you have my permission to begin your cartwheels now.

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“Naked Arms / SWORD SUMMIT” – T.M. Revolution

Takanori can see inside your soul.

T.M.R hasn’t been around for a little while. Takanori himself has been active with abindgon boys school and the field of being awesome, but he hasn’t “made revolution” since 2008’s Resonance, which was a fantastic song. I am still a relatively new T.M.R fan so I’ve had his entire discography to tide me over during the wait for this single. Seasoned fans probably found the wait to be tougher since they had heard it all before. Man, I have good timing.

Naked Arms picks up right where Resonance left off. It’s got attitude! Takanori’s vocals are out of this world. This man can seriously sing. I really liked the unpredictable melody that the songs boasts as well as the fact that the energy never dies out during the song. There isn’t a dull moment. Naturally, the PV for this song is delightfully camp (Takanori seems to really enjoy being on camera, okay?) with an interesting usage of color, or lack thereof. This song wasn’t as good for me as Resonance but it’s still a fresh track and a great reminder that even after two years T.M.R is still going strong.

I still don’t know exactly how I feel about SWORD SUMMIT yet. I like it, but there’s something too perky about it. I’m just waiting for this to turn up on Dance Dance Revolution (alongside GACKT’s Koakuma Heaven, hehe). I definitely dig how the flute was integrated into the song at the instrumental break. This song is DDR-meets-Pokemon-battle. Yep.

In Conclusion: I was blown away by this single. T.M.R is just brilliant, simply put. Naked Arms is an epic win for sure and SWORD SUMMIT grows on me with each listen. Highly recommended!

~Alisa~

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“Departure” – Deluhi

Understand this. My first Deluhi song was Hybrid Truth. That being said, the bar has been set pretty high and the band has yet to blow me away since. After “The Farthest” I was ready to call it quits but something in me never wants to give up faith in a band I at one time really liked. So here I am, giving it another go with Deluhi’s latest one-track single.

Departure begins with some chanting, electronic vocals, and those “machine gun drums” I’ve praised the band for. It starts out sounding like it’s going to be good. I was really thinking I could get into the song. That’s when things began to go downhill. The second I heard a party-over-here-style “whoooa-ooooh” I knew things were about to get very, very bad.

That’s when the chorus hit. The hard kind of electronic sound I was digging from the song’s opening had vanished and instead been replaced with a sort of happy-go-lucky-let’s-toss-beach balls-around-and-enjoy-being-young kind of song that you hear almost every throwaway Disney Channel star record at some point. I think I could headbang easier to the Degrassi theme song and feel less embarrassed. I’m going to be honest with you and say that I only made it about four minutes in to the song. It’s just not worth anyone’s time.

In Conclusion: I’m being so harsh because I know Deluhi has more in them than this. All I want to know is where that potential went. Don’t hand me a track as brutal as Hybrid Truth and then try to follow it up with something that I don’t even consider Visual Kei, alright? I am so disappointed, but I won’t give up. Deluhi has still got some fight in them and I’m sure it has to come out eventually.

~Alisa~

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“Akaki Hitsuji Ni Yoru Bansankai” – D

^ I know I messed that title up somewhere.

Hey look! I’m actually going to review something! Could I possibly get a handful of confetti or some balloons for this?

Welcome back, D! The band has returned after their (unfairly prejudged by myself) phenomenal album 7th Rose. Of course I had high hopes for this single because the band is one of my favorites, after all. I was a little fearful when I saw the cover art. The clothes are RIDICULOUS. Yet, I learned after 7th Rose to bide my time and wait.

赤き羊による晩餐会 begins with some whispering from Asagi which sounds really nice. The song initially has a very hard, very D sound to it before it makes a seamless move into a jazzy/swing style a la Mad Tea Party. The drums are wild and Asagi’s breathy cries are enthralling. I have to say, he is one of the best j-rock figures out there. Besides boasting one of the greatest voices imaginable, he has a charisma and uniqueness about him that not many other visual rockers have. He is incredibly recognizable which is great since I always complain that so many VK bands fall into the ordinary.

The PV, or at least the incarnation I saw has the band playing in a Victorian-style room. This was already a hit with me considering I’m a Titanic fanatic and I love Victorian/Edwardian style anything. While the band plays, a vampire who thankfully does not sparkle feasts on a couple of attractive women before going after Asagi who in turn hisses right back at him. We also see Asagi autograph a piece of paper for a steward, who awkwardly sniffs it for about the last fifteen seconds of the video. Very random.

I’ve always loved the PVs D puts out because they are always out-of-the-ordinary. This one, although dark and disturbing had a quirky nature to it as well. Something about seeing a bustier-clad Asagi bopping with silverware and a pepper grinder was rewarding to my tired visual soul.

ひび割れた柘榴石 is a fabulous follow up to the title track. With its operatic opening strains, I was expecting another Snow White but instead got a relaxing rock ballad.

黒竜 was altogether forgettable for me, because there was nothing catchy about the song or the band’s performance. Asagi sounded listless and the band seemed to say “we’re only playing this song to take up space on the CD.”

In Conclusion: Asagi and the boys have started their post-7th Rose era off on the right foot by delivering a solid, fresh single. I’m not disappointed in the least and the single left me wanting more from them. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see this band live…

~Alisa~

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“SHIVER” – The GazettE

Umm..

My second contribution to Visual Kei Heaven!

Hey everybody! I apologize for the inactivity and lack of drive lately. My fiancé has been working quite a bit in the last week, and while this shouldn’t affect me, I became a little catatonic from missing him so much. Seriously, I could write, direct, and produce an entire Lifetime movie from my sob stories. Anyway, in an attempt to shove some dedication down my throat, I turned off my modem to write this review. Don’t get me wrong, I love tweeting with everyone but it can seriously distract me. (BTW, Badymaru, when are we going to start our rush for new gacktpause fan club members?)

SHIVER is the latest single by The GazettE. First off, what is up with that cover? I feel ready for some sort of underground exploration by looking at it.

SHIVER wastes no time getting started. I don’t really like or dislike this song, truthfully. The melody is just average. I don’t know, I think for a song called SHIVER I expected it to be a little more chilling and harsh.

Next we have HESITATING MEANS DEATH. Yes, this title is also in all caps. I’m not just screaming at you via text for my own benefit. This song had that air of brutality that I was yearning for in the previous song. There is also a wicked instrumental break near the 2:30 mark. This song just made me want to kick something over. Not a tripod, though. D’espairs already did that. Maybe I could kick over a vacuum cleaner. Yes. Because that makes perfect sense. Let’s just hope I don’t hesitate before I do so because, you know, that means death.

When I saw the name of the final track was Naraku, I flinched just a little because of some painful memories. If anybody reading this is or was an InuYasha fan, Naraku was the name of the antagonist who JUST WOULDN’T DIE. I personally liked the arrangement of this song. It’s kind of spacey and elegant but still tense. The balance is pulled off really well and it’s an above average tune. That’s the most I can say about this track.

In Conclusion: This single didn’t necessarily blow me away, because I always think it’s unfortunate when the other songs outshine the titular track. I can still respect the single entirely because it was average. I like to always have my Visual Kei glass half full.

~Alisa~

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“The Farthest” – Deluhi

First off, let me thank Toshi San from Visual Kei Heaven for inviting me to do a guest post. It’s an honor, and I hope to do your brilliant site justice.

I’ve listened to Deluhi since Hybrid Truth, arguably their best song ever. Lately, I’ve felt their music has taken a turn towards the dissonant and downright nonsensical. I think they are trying to be a breakout VK act, which is great, but at what cost? I think this band is in a creative overload right now and their music isn’t making much sense because of it.

It’s difficult to gauge which direction The Farthest is trying to sway towards. Over the six minutes, eight seconds the song lasts, the song takes about a thousand different twists and turns. It starts as a rock-opera ballad sort of thing, flirts with the speed metal sound and machine gun-like drums that initially drew me to the band, and the chorus is like some kind of creepy waltz from heck. I’m sorry guys, but I have no clue what is going on here. The vocals are okay and the band itself sounds confused. Not a good thing, fellas.

In Conclusion: It’s great that Deluhi is trying to create a name and image for themselves, especially since so many VK acts fall into the mundane and predictable category. Still, this song is a crazy mess with no clear direction. Listen to Hybrid Truth instead. I can guarantee that you won’t walk away from that song with a migraine from trying to discern exactly what the song was about. I’m not trying to be harsh, but this single (if you’d call only one track that) fell beyond flat for me. It’s like this song fell off a hundred story building, then got steamrolled.

~Alisa~

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“Color” – Girugamesh

…but nothing will ever top my favorite Girugamesh song.

The cover is interesting because of its irony. There's not much color to be seen here. The band's pose is epic.

Finally, Girugamesh is back after their ingenious album NOW, released in December 2009. I thought the album was brilliant, at least. (Driving Time ❤ <3) COLOR is their latest single, which to me is a total step down from anything you could have found on NOW.

COLOR is an energetic track with some nice guitars chugging their way through the song. I’ll be honest. I tried and tried and tried again to like this song. I appreciate the energy and I think the emotion in performing the song is genuine, but the melody and instrumentation seem tired, like I’ve heard the same thing from other VK bands many times before. COLOR is a track I’ll keep in my iPod and listen to if it comes up on shuffle, but its not one that I would specifically seek out to listen to.

Sunrise starts with some tribal sounding drums and feels like its going to be a total mess before the guitars come in. Its a fascinating, summery track (because of those crazy drums!) and the call-and-response style yelling makes the track fun to listen to. Some might find the drums awkward, and I was skeptical of them during the first couple listens but somehow they work.

Rounding out the single is Flower which undoubtedly has the best melody of the bunch. The beat is really punk-ish but I liked it. Giru can always make interesting use of instruments which is one thing I’ve liked about them from day one. (I think this single is all about the drums) Flower is the most catchy song on the single and I swear I’ll be humming it later.

In Conclusion: Even though this single was a dud for me, I’m not holding anything against giru and you shouldn’t either. I can still feel they are making a conscious effort to please their fans and that’s good enough. They’ll never lose my support unless they just stop caring and it becomes evident in their music. But it hasn’t happened yet, so why worry about one single that missed the mark?

~Alisa~

P.S.- Happy Tanabata!

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