【東方Review]】THOUSAND LEAVES – DEAD NIGHT BLIND

THOUSAND LEAVES consisted of two major persons first, Bach and then Kawase. Bach was the one focusing solely on the metal scene, while Kawase made some more mellow and soft instrumental, ranging all over from metal to rock, pop and progressive.

Kawase’s works is very overlooked, mostly staying in the grand shine of Bach’s metal albums. Despite of having released five albums of instrumental arranges, he never became very famous nor did his work satisfy people. When they heard the name THOUSAND LEAVES, people thought of melodic deathmetal despite of it being Kawase who began the circle with the instrumental albums. I do believe Bach did worked with Kawase in this stage but went his own way with arranges after awhile. Which is a shame though, Kawase did some pretty good arranges. But it feels like he kind of lost his motivation in the end, seeing how the album gradually becomes worse and worse as time passed.

Bach on the other hand had one of the best starts an artist could possibly have. His album Blind Night Sorrow took the Touhou scene with storm, being one of his very best album. A very fast paced, brutal but yet melodic album with a great vocalist, Abecky. Together, these two became the epitome of what we know as THOUSAND LEAVES, a melodeath circle. Not some instrumental progressive circle. Now, notice this. I do not in any way look down on Kawase’s work. He has quite a lot of golden track in the album he has released. Bach noticed the fame he was awarded with, and literally kicked Kawase out of the circle making THOUSAND LEAVES just known for their melodeath. No props was given to Kawase in any of the albums he and Bach produced together.

DEAD NIGHT BLIND was the second album Bach produced, and Kawase was still active by then. This album retains the original sound from the first album adding a slight mix of more melodic riffs but completely annihilating whatever form of keyboard there is. This was in fact my very first album I heard of THOUSAND LEAVES, and jolly I’m happy it is. The first album, Blind Night Sorrow is very manipulative, and the tracks are arranged in a very “off-beat” line. Introduced with the titled track, Blind Night Sorrow we are thrown into the chaotic melodeath that is Bach. Despite of it being THE best track on the album which after awhile gives us the moment actually enjoy the track in itself, it’s a track far too chaotic and kind of repetitive to be the introduction track. As one moves on to the second track, whatever power and atmosphere that was given from the first track is blown out through the window by this much softer track, Kissing the Tears (which is an arrange of Heartfelt Fancy). To top it off, the track adds keyboard which makes it a powermetal song and nothing like the previous tracks. And so we move on to the worst part of it, the entire track is instrumental. Now, this might not sound so bad at first glance but after the astonishing vocals (the mastering of the vocals can be argued about that though) one would want to hear more. However, first being thrown straight into the hellish vocals of Abecky we are now introduced with an extremely melodic instrumental song. Not only did this confuse me, it also made me doubt the album in general. This was so off the hook. This procedure is repeated for the entire album, though that after track #4 the instrumental track comes before the melodeath one. This style makes the album kind of chaotic in general, giving off too many different atmospheres in a very short span of time. The last track though is an amazing ender though.

Sorry, this was supposed to be a DEAD NIGHT BLIND review right… ? Well, let’s get it on with.

DEAD NIGHT BLIND is my favorite album released by THOUSAND LEAVES. I believe Bach learned about how confusing the arrange of all his tracks were in the first album, aswell as how off it seemed to put them in such a way. It also served as a major letdown in listening to the entire album straight, because it as I mentioned gives quite a lot of mixed atmosphere which ruins the buildup some of the tracks has. DEAD NIGHT BLIND however does the total opposite of this. Starting out once again with the album titled track (which by the way is my favorite song by far of all the songs THOUSAND LEAVES has made), this single song sets an amazing atmosphere for the entire album. It’s a powerful track with amazing guitars and to date the best vocal performance (and so on up to the last album with Abecky to date). This song is a masterpiece, not only because of the vocal performance. No, because its a track that simply has the entire sound of the album, an amazing structure which won’t leave you bored (unless you decide to listen to it for like an hour straight). It’s not a very fast paced track, despite of it having some major 2-beat breakdowns which are amazingly placed aswell and further enhances the tracks sheer power. So let me get all of the tracks out straight, and why this is my favorite album.

1: DEAD NIGHT BLIND – 【Song of the Night Sparrow ~ Night Bird】
As I previously mentioned in the text above, this alone makes the album shine. Don’t get me wrong, most of the other tracks are golden aswell, however this one is diamond compared to gold. It starts out with an amazing, yet simple riff which alone sets the tone of the track. Not very fast paced, however not slow enough to be Death Metal. One can clearly hear from the introriff that this is melodeath, and fine melodeath to top that. The composition of the track is just godly aswell. There’s a major turn in highlights, and small details everywhere. Despite of it just being two guitars, one bass, drums and a vocalist the entire track is so full of life because of all the details that is added. I have heard a lot of bad tracks which becomes boring, redundant and just plain bad with this setup. Even adding keyboard doesn’t matter if you don’t make the track interesting, so that the listener wants to keep listening to that track. DEAD NIGHT BLIND does not leave one bored, and it has to Abecky’s best vocal performance.

2: Master of Insanity – 【Love-Colored Master Spark】
Now this track is generic THOUSAND LEAVES. Speedy, melodic yet brutal to an extent. However, I must say this is a neglectable track, the only reason I do not neglect it is because of the kickass riff in the beginning of the verse. It’s a shame that this riff does not appear much, but I guess that would have made the track quite repetitive and redundant. I do not really like the vocals in this track aswell, it feels out of place. This track is a bit of a disappointment after hearing such a godly track as DEAD NIGHT BLIND, but it sets a great atmosphere to the listener. DEAD NIGHT BLIND is kinda slow despite of it having its speedy moment (which more or less is just highlights). The track is kind of chaotic aswell and many of the sections are repeated. The track itself is a major letdown as second track, but I can’t deny the fact that it enhances the albums mood.

3: Baptized in ice – 【Beloved Tomboyish Girl】
The first instrumental track of the album makes it appearance as the third track. This one is a pretty good breather, and quite catchy aswell. It’s one of the much more melodic songs and very upbeat compared to the other two tracks however not so much that it actually ruins the mood like in the previous album. This one has an amazing guitar work aswell but it is pretty long despite of it just being a four minute track (which is what the two other tracks were, however they went past much faster). Some of the segments are kind of redundant aswell and the solo is way too long.

4: Rusty Tale  – 【The Venerable Ancient Battlefield ~ Suwa Foughten Field】
Another generic THOUSAND LEAVES track, but this one is a bit more satisfying than Master of Insanity. Intro however is a bit too long, Bach could have cut down it by one or two segments seeing how it do gets a bit repetitive. It do builds up quite the tense for the track though which is great, seeing how the verse is just plain amazing. Vocals here are just top notch, pitch, style and timing however slightly off with mastering. Chorus is kind of a letdown though seeing how it slows down waaaayyyy too much, it’s just a simple 4/4 which halfway turns into a backbeat 4/4. Vocals drown a bit here aswell in the wailing guitars though I’m kind of happy for it, they’re mediocre here. The track itself is quite melodic, not as much as the previous one which is a good transition.

5: Bullet of Light – 【Maiden’s Capriccio ~ Capriccio】
This is probably the most melodic track on every single track with vocals released by THOUSAND LEAVES, but hell is it also one of their best. By removing the distortion on the guitars, the intro is very progressive/rock-ish but still retains that mood and sound of THOUSAND LEAVES. Followed by some segments of Abecky either whispering or talking very quietly (it is actually difference in those two) with muffled instruments, the track bursts into a cascade of melancholy as the distortion is put on once again. Still very melodic, and kind of nostalgic atmosphere aswell. However, with a godly and simple transition the song turns very catchy with a very metalcore-ish/heavymetal sound. The only thing that actually makes it stay melodeath is because of Abecky’s vocals. The track itself has a very simple sound to it, but composed in such a matter that it’s fucking smart.

6:Sea of Eyes -【Illusionary Night ~ Ghostly Eyes】
The second instrumental track on this album, yet again placed perfectly. This one shifts tempo quite often and retains the mood from Bullet of Light, despite of being slightly heavier though the difference is so vague one barely notices. However, it is a neglectable track and I am not too fond of it either. There’s a shining part with acoustic guitar at the start of the end which I guess is part of the solo. But overall, I find the song very meh. Forgetable yet filled with life.

7:Last Serenade(Part1+2) -【Last Remote + Hartmann’s Youkai Girl】
Yet another generic THOUSAND LEAVES track. Pretty damn good aswell but kind of repetitive at first as the first part i divided into segments which is repeated. At first they sound good but as one hears it for the third time you do get kind of bored. Vocals are damn good though, I’ll give Abecky that. Yet, it’s just another one of those tracks that you easily forget in the bright of the other tracks on the album. Part 2 of Last Serenade is completely instrumental and slow which is a great way to end the album on. Kind of boring in the end though listening to, but very original which actually shows off that Bach is a great musician.

TL;DR to not repeat what I’ve already written in a long ass post, generic THOUSAND LEAVES sound, excellent mastering except for Rusty Tale, great placement of tracks and a wonderful atmosphere in general. Great riffs, great vocals for the most part, kind of repetitive in the end if you don’t listen to it in the order they are meant to be listened to but some solos are very meh though. 7/10

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