Genre: Rock, some influences of thrash and neometal
Another short but detailed review featuring my favorite album from the circle CROW’SCLAW.
CROW’SCLAW is one of the major circles, starring the artist Taka. With 13 albums of arranges featuring games such as Touhou, Fate/Stay Night and Final Fantasy aswell as 5 albums of original tracks and a lone multi-circle album, CROW’SCLAW has a huge arsenal of material to receive fame for. Not just because of the amount of albums, but also how well they are made.
Taka is well known for his exceptional instrumental work. The tracks are very often with heavy guitar consisting of chunky and catchy riffs, sometimes “brutal” aswell but made in a lighter way. It’s easier to listen to, and often has a very exceptional structure aswell. To put it short, it’s simplicity made with technical effort.
Comiket 79 brought us From The Bottom Of Heart, another album released by Taka and his circle CROW’SCLAW. However, there was something much bigger behind this album than what people thought. The cover alone tells us that this is different from his usual work. His covers often features characters in a slightly “badass” position, often accompied by a guitar. Actually, now that I think about it all his Touhou albums are like that. Most of the album covers incorporate a guitar in some way, with the exception of the originals and a few of the Fate/Stay Night albums. On this album, we have a very melancholy and relaxed Yuka, which alone sticks out from the rest of the albums. And so does the sound in this aswell.
From The Bottom Of Heart is said to be Taka’s less favored album, and for the reason that it’s not instrumental. I don’t get that. Surely, Taka makes exceptional instrumental arranges, but that alone does not tell us that he cannot make vocal arranges aswell. There’s no law for that, and besides, every artist needs variety. Surely, to stick with the sound that many likes will more likely net you the continuing interest of the fanbase but keep it up, and eventually people will start growing tired of hearing the same old thing. There’s a reason why circles such as Demetori, Iron-Attack!, UNDEAD CORPORATION and Foreground Eclipse keeps their fame. They change their sound and complexity (with Demetori being the most obvious one) yet their style remains the same. Now this is the same for Taka. This album, is a great one yet it’s the most hated one. Despite of that, it’s my favorite one released by CROW’SCLAW.
From The Bottom Of Heart brings out two of the most famous artists within the Touhou scene, the arranger Taka and the vocalist Meramipop both with exceptional talent in their roles aswell as the not so famous Show Ikea (who also is pretty good). The sound on this album is pretty much a shock for anyone who’s a hardcore fan of CROW’SCLAW, since it eliminates any kind of heavy metal from the other albums. Instead, we are dealing with a much softer sound, with some addition of the old fancy heavy riffs like the intro of Heartcage and Silent Neighbor. The album is toned down to fit Meramipop and Ikeda’s vocals to rock, though some influences of thrash-metal is added. Despite of me labeling the album as rock, it has a very deep haunting sound to it because of the overlapping bass which more or less leads the entire album towards what it is, a symphony of brutal, or catchy riffs (depending on the track). The sound is lit up with the without doubt excellent vocals, aswell as the somewhat deep lyrics.
The highlight of the album is without doubt number two, Silent Neighbor which is an arrange of Broken Moon. This track is simply a masterpiece and is one of the most favored tracks by Taka, despite of this being the least liked album (which is kind of ironic). It’s probably because it adds so many of the elements the “old” CROW’SCLAW has. Deep and haunting bass, great “brutal” riffs and a second guitar that adds so many highlights. The entire composition of this track is just splendid, not too long nor too short. It never leaves any holes, such as in redundant segments nor does it fail to keep your interest at its peak. And to top it off, Meramipop and Ikeda on the vocals does an extremely, fucking EXTREMELY good job. The emotion in their voices, aswell the pitch are just phenomenal. IT’S FUCKING GREAT!
Let me wrap this up. In my opinion, this album is extremely underrated. Not criminally underrated, but to the least very underrated. Now, I am not going to say that my opinion is better than yours because, an opinion is an opinion. However, there are too many hardcore CROW’SCLAW fans out there who has not given this album a fair chance. Despite of it being very different, not only in sound but also somewhat in style it still retains quite a lot of the “old” CROW’SCLAW in it. I am sure that if people just decides to let their mind be at ease and actually listen to this album instead of bitching about that “this is not CROW’SCLAW”, I am sure that quite a lot of them would change their mind and change their opinion. Because this album, is just splendid. It’s almost a masterpiece despite of what haters says. 8½/10