Tag Archives: VK

“Crisis Moment” – Merry

Seems like it has to take something massive to get me to post. Well, here's your massive thing.

With school, work, and an obvious decline in musical releases, (or the quality of them, rather) I’ve really had no time or reason to blog. I am confused, though, as to what on Earth has happened with Japanese music. From the start of the year to the middle of the summer artists were constantly releasing strong singles. Now what? Has everyone fallen under some anesthesia and gone into hibernation? Where’s the good stuff, yo?

Thankfully, Merry came along to pull me out of my slump, as well as prevent me from questioning my faith in J-rock. (something I would hopefully never do) After the The Cry Against…/Monochrome My fiance and I had our interests piqued. His more so than mine, because I’m such a dang skeptic.

The first time I heard Crisis Moment I was ready to skip it after about ten seconds. Why? Because I’m a skeptic! The song starts out really slow and tender, then there’s a ton of screaming. Then it gets all touchy-feely again. THEN, the chorus!

What saves this jumbled mess of a song is its outstanding chorus. I’m really digging Gara’s voice because it’s so unorthodox for j-rock. Normally, you expect some deep, authoritarian, booming, Shao Kahn (sorry, I’ve been playing way too much Mortal Kombat) voice, but Gara’s got a much higher pitch and I can appreciate this diversity. The chorus of Crisis Moment is explosive, angry, and beautiful at the same time. It has a well developed melody as well, instead of just “hey guys, let’s play our instruments as loud as we can and see what happens.”

My only complaint with the song is its length. Merry seems to be terrified of stretching anything past four minutes. Crisis
Moment clocks in at three minutes and fifteen seconds. This is not enough time for the song to establish the links between the mellow and brutal parts so it seems a little forced. In j-pop songs, a 3:15 song is fine because not much change happens. In typical j-rock, you expect to be taken on a music journey of sorts. I would compare Crisis Moment to a roller coaster. You coast up a big hill, go down the hill at warp speed, some messed up crap happens that you barely remember, then its over and you have to go back again just to discern what just happened. Okay, convoluted analogy is over.

Don’t get me wrong, Crisis Moment is the best j-rock song I’ve heard for a while and I’m glad for that. I just would have wished for a little more organization. (as in, MAKE IT LONGER!)

Fleeting Prayer is an entire minute longer than Crisis Moment and a ghostly feel to it. It doesn’t have as sharp or extreme changes as Crisis Moment, but it’s worth listening to. I appreciate that obvious effort was taken with this song. You don’t see a lot of effort put into b-sides normally so this is a refreshing piece.

Finally, we get the unplugged version of Crisis Moment Eeeeeew. This song was not meant to be like this. It’s slow, boring, and should be skipped. Gara sounds terrible and the whole thing is just terrible. Sorry to be a total song-basher but this song made me want to bicycle kick a wall.

In Conclusion: Merry certainly delivered with Crisis Moment. To me, it’s their best single yet and builds off of the epic-ness that their last single had. It’s nice to see growth in a band I’ve overlooked for the longest time. Highly recommended!

~Alisa~

Leave a comment

Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

HIZUMI Screamed “Death Point” One Time Too Many

Click here for the source of my heartbreak.

D’espairsray will be going on an indefinite hiatus due to problems with vocalist HIZUMI’s vocal cords. They will finish their D’espairsRay World Tour 2010 Human-clad Monsters but after that, all activities are going to be suspended.

Though it’s sad, you have to support the band for acting in HIZUMI’s best interest. Hopefully he can get some treatment and we can get back to watching tripods get kicked over.

Best wishes!

~Alisa~

Leave a comment

Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

“Lunartail” – Luzmelt

Visual Kei band Luzmelt is back after a nerve-wracking loss of a few members. This single has been out since mid-July but since it was distributed only at lives, it took what felt like forever to become available to us gaijin losers who can’t go to lives. All I can say is that this was absolutely worth waiting for.

What I like specifically about Lunartail is that the song is broken up into two halves. (By the way, this song is over seven minutes long and I can actually make it through the whole thing! Crazy!) The first half is a gentle build up and the second half explodes like a supernova. The mood of the song is entirely celestial with distorted vocals and spacey sound effects. I adore this song and I can guarantee that the seven minutes flies by while listening to it.

In Conclusion: Luzmelt has fully recovered from taking some hard knocks courtesy of my Visual Kei voodoo. I’d like to think that my evil powers aren’t all that evil, considering that this is, in my opinion, their best song to date.

~Alisa~

Leave a comment

Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

“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.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

“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~

Leave a comment

Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

“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~

Leave a comment

Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

“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~

6 Comments

Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection