『東方Review』Sally – Sally

Circle: Sally
Album: Sally
Genre: Rock, progressive, influences of black and heavy metal

I’ve noticed that the (few ;_;) hits I get on this blog usually is referred to my  Sally – Syndrome review, which actually is pretty sloppy done, almost to the point of it being equal to how bad the album is (in comparison to how good they actually could be). So therefore, allow me to emphasize why Sally’s self-titled album was the best of Comic Market 80.

Sally consists of two persons, NSY and Wani who in the two latest album (which actually makes it half of their total work) have added an extra person to their lineup, Shrimp (these fucking names…). In addition to this, NSY and Wani both have as of C82 has a second circle named Tsugumi. They “debuted” with the album Major ignition which is very Sally-esque. It has the sound, style and complexity of the original Sally, but the magic from the first album just isn’t there. I have as of now given up on Sally, seeing how after five album (I include the Major Ignition one here) they seem to just cannot make another album like their first. However, the credit I give to the self-titled album will be due, and it’s deserved.

As far as I know, both NSY and Wani are new to the Touhou music scene, where there is little to no information about any (or if there even was) previous work. However, by releasing the self-titled album, Sally made an entrance to the doujinscene with the magnitude of a thunderstorm. A seven track album consisting of only arranges from Ten Desires, just that single fact was simple enough to blow the mind. Now, notice that at the time C80 was held the Ten Desires trial only had been out for a mere four months. It may sound a lot, but for Sally to use the tunes in the trial and make a full album of it is pretty astonishing. I also think that Sally was the only circle at that time to release a full Ten Desire arranged album aswell.

Calling in some of the best vocalists from the doujinscene, Meramipop, Chata, Ranko and IZNA one can tell that the vocals will be pretty damn great. Rarely is there that any of these brings a bad performance to the track, and so it is. Vocals are excellent and really has a lot of thought put into them (but personally, I think that someone else would have been better for the last track…). Meramipop is without doubt the ace in this album, as she provides the best vocals one could ever ask for in “Out Of Control”, an arrange of the title screen theme (which also is my favorite track on the album). Her voice is flexible and enchanting, and really helps to set the atmosphere of the track aswell as emphasize the lyrics (which I won’t start talking about). Ranko is doing an excellent job aswell, as per usual. I like Ranko’s voice a bit more than Meramipop, but I do think that Merami is bit more flexible when it comes to setting the tune.

The seven tracks on this album are made with outmost effort. and every single one shines in their own way whether it is a bright upbeat track (actually, most of the tracks has a slight haze of sorrow, which though is only noticeable in the vocals) or a darker theme (plaza desperado, MIRROR for example). As I’ve previously mentioned, this album has some kind of charm to it, something that makes it stick out. It could be the complexity, a typical Sally song has a lot of background enhancements in various form where guitar slicks and drum patterns are the main highlights or it could be that the overall sound is so fresh and new compared to what one typically is used to hear. It’s hard to put it in words, but a Sally song has a very soft touch to it while still being quite fast paced accompanied with a very rough touch of guitar, either riff or slicks. This could also serve to as a reason to why Sally received such a heavy critic from their first album aswell, but is not the major.

Though it’s a short album, most of the tracks are pretty exciting in their own way (save for Remind which is the worst song on the album for me, though I don’t dislike it). The overall sound is slightly fast paced, though with a lot of fresh touches of slicks every here and there (or riffs). The overall sound of the songs are changed in every track, leaving behind a pretty solid result of satisfactionary. There’s really not much room for repetition (except for Remind, which is probably also a reason to why I label it as the “worst track”). The album has a few softer pieces, such as 『min~眠~』and the abomination Remind, and then there are the heavier tracks such as plaza desperado and 童歌. Overall, it’s a very complete album when it comes to variety.

Though I do praise this album quite a lot, there are a few instances where I think the vocals are lacking. There is Remind where the vocals are just a big no at places, further increasing my dislike to it (still, remember that I don’t hate it). Personally, I don’t think that Chata is such a good vocalist for Sally’s music in general, seeing how the only track where I actually like her vocals on the track is the introductiontrack on this album. It’s kind of sad seeing how I am very conscious of the vocals whenever I listen to something. plaza desperado has some single places, such as right before the chorus. It’s nothing major though, Ranko is still doing a terrific job.

Overall, this album is a monstrosity of terrific instrumental work (for most part), which is further enhanced by great vocalists. It’s a very fresh, and very exciting album due to its sheer amount of highlights and new sound. Vocals are great (for the most part), especially Meramipop’s performance in Out of Control (which is my favorite on the album). It’s a great album overall, which makes up for the part it is also lacking. 8½/10

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『東方Review』From The Bottom Of Heart

Circle: CROW’SCLAW
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

【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

【Review]】Unlucky Morpheus – So That A Star Shines At Night Sky

Unlucky Morpheus is yet another doujin circle that creates arranges out of the Touhouscene. It’s another group that is widely known and consists of two major persons, yuki and fuki. Yukimura Hirano is a very talented guitarist and has been featured on a lot of magazines, aswell as on a large amount of album. He is currently member of four circles as far as I know. First, Unlucky Morpheus (even though Denshirenji Takeshi has more or less taken over), then Icarus’cry (where Denshirenji is the vocalist), UNDEAD CORPORATION and another one starring Setsuna from Black Night Funeral (forgive me, I forget the name). Fuyuki Tenge however is just a member of Unlucky Morpheus albeit she’s featured in some other albums of other circles.

Unlucky Morpheus dates back to 2008 and quickly grew to fame with their very cliche power/speedmetal sound and fuki’s powerful voice. However, I believe what really blew Unlucky Morpheus fame through the roof was their second album, REBIRTH. The album featured tracks like 木葉天狗, 奇子 ~ Unknown Child, 断罪は遍く人間の元に and Missing Girl and Unlucky Morpheus quickly grew from that. fuki at this stage did have a lot more power in her voice than she do has today though, and I really liked her more from the past. Especially without Denshirenji messing up the tracks. His voice cracks me up. Seriously. :l

Straight out from (compton) M3-23, together with their release of REBIRTH they released yet another album titled So That A Star Shines At Night Sky, an album featuring arranges not from the Touhou scene but from an anime called Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien (Rumbling Hearts). This show was a big hit within the animescene however this album is really overlooked for some reason and I do not understand why. This is Unlucky Morpheus and a great animes soundtrack combined, what could possibly go wrong? Well, I’m here to give you the answer.

So That A Star Shines At Night Sky (god, long name that is tedious to write) is yet another powermetal album from Unlucky Morpheus, however much more melodic and much easier to listen to than their previous work (and from REBIRTH aswell). And for some reason, the mastering aswell as the overall sound of the album differs extremely from their original sound, probably to give it a more “realistic” feel seeing how the show the tracks originates from is a very realistic one aswell. However, I do must say I feel that this album has been given a lot of care, thought and hard work on. Unlucky Morpheus tracks in general seems a little bit rushed, even though some of them are very original (yet very generic in sound) and are not being given the full potential they could have brought. This album though makes up for that, and I’d love to hear more of this kind of Unlucky Morpheus.

The first major flow would be the introduction track, titled “So That A Star Shines at Night Sky( Instrumental )”. This track has nothing to do with the Rumbling Hearts franchise, nor is it any good neither for the albums nor the ears. This is just a bad filler in the album which acts like an opening, but is not. It’s boring, fast and very short. However, as soon as this shit ends, we are introduced with the REAL opening of the album, and guess what? It’s an arrange of the opening for the show itself. Wouldn’t this be a bit more appropriate to put as an opener for the album? Oh well, whatever. From this track alone, the entire sound is displayed to you. The entire album sounds like this. It’s speedy, melodic and kind of catchy. However, the guitar work is not displayed very well in this track. In general, the riffs are a very solid addition to the overall sound of the track and sets a great atmosphere. However, I do must say that the first REAL track on the album (which is Rumbling Hearts) is kind of neglectable. It is however quite powerful and fuki is doing a fantastic job on the vocals using a higher pitch than usual (I guess she let her vibrato she’s so proud of aside to make this kind of vocals instead which I DON’T REALLY MIND!). This is a great voice, powerful and it sounds amazing. A fuki I definitely would like to hear more of. The overall sound of the album seems well thought out, sounds great to the ear, not too convoluted nor too little going on. However, in the end some of the tracks get too repetitive after awhile which is actually UM’s major flaw. Rumbling Hearts, Next Season and Blue Tears (which has an AMAZING intro though) all gets very repetitive and boring after awhile. However, the two golden tracks (which ironically is in hiragana/kanji, 風のゆくえ (Where the wind blows) and 星空のワルツ (Waltz under the starry sky) are without doubt the two best tracks on the album, aswell as the top tiers of UM’s songs in general. These two tracks shows without doubt what Fuyuki is capable of, and not that “low” pitch vibrato style she so much likes to use (and to be honest, it does even sound crappy at times). I do not however say that she’s a bad vocalist, no no. She’s very good, but to say talented is not what I was meaning, nor ever will say about Fuyuki.

So That A Star Shines At Night Sky is a good album. It can get repetitive if you listen to it with scramble on, however two tracks very well placed on the list makes up for this giving you room to “breathe” after the slightly generic sound of power/speedmetal and the repetitive beats/riffs (though 風のゆくえ is speedy aswell, Fuyuki’s voice is amazing and she’s doing a great job to the track. I’d say her voice makes at least half the song here). However, the album in general is slightly boring due to the fact that most of the tracks is fast-paced ones with some lesser breaks in the middle (or every here and there) and neglectable guitar for the most parts. Drums are extremely repetitive and there’s not many highlights in general. It’s like winegums. Tastes good for the first part but damn, it becomes boring and not so good after awhile. But hey, it’s well done despite of that. 6/10

【東方First Impressions]】UNDEAD CORPORATION teaser

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhtLvaA2dL8

iapprovelolis uploaded a video not too long ago today, and I thought it was just a new track from some new Circle I haven’t heard before. However, such was not the case. The video he uploaded is a teaser of two tracks, one from UNDEAD CORPORATION and the other from I believe Foreground Eclipse.

Now, most people know that I am a very big UNDEAD CORPORATION fan so this is relevant to my interests. But damn, the one minute preview of the track I heard is godly. And I will tell you why. This is a short post of why I’ve set my opinion on that without hearing the full track.

As most of you know, UNDEAD CORPORATION is pretty well known within the Touhou scene. This is because of one (or you could say two actually) major reason(s). Akemi and West Village (I do believe West Village has changed his scenename to AFTERZERO now though, Not sure.). UNDEAD CORPORATION creates Melodic Death Metal arranges of the Touhou music featuring yuki from Unlucky Morpheus on harsh vocals (which are mediocre, and at times kind of lacking). However, the tracks are very well made done and are all arranged by the founder of UNDEAD CORPORATION, pinetree. However, two of the albums (which are by far THE most famous ones) are metalcore featuring Akemi and AFTERZERO on vocals. The tracks on these two albums are in a totally different league than any of the other albums, being the most well made ones and taking the Touhou scene with storm. Colors, emotions and power are all there in every track, and everything just flows together (well, there are a few tracks within these two albums that are lacking a bit) but hey, that still doesn’t mean that the tracks are good. Now, think about it like this. UNDEAD CORPORATION is like Demetori, however they play two different genres. These two circles really deserves every single bit of fame they get.

Back to the track, I do not possess the knowledge of what this track is called. There is no information about it on their website, nor can I find anything about it either. However, all I can say is that the track has a godly composition to it. Starting out with a thundering and powerful verse featuring AFTERZERO on the vocals. Guitar riffs in the background are damn good aswell, catchy and fits in perfectly with excellent mastering, Drums are neglectable, but jolly that doesn’t mean that they are bad. As soon as the chorus kicks in they explode making more or less the main instrument. And Akemi does probably THE best job ever on the vocals during the chorus. That perfect pitch, those emotions and that power in her voice. Now this is why I prefer Akemi over Meramipop ANY day (well, probably because I like female vocalists who has power in their singing instead of “cute” singing. I however do not deny that Meramipop is very very talented. I just feel that Akemi will surpass her, seeing how she can fill in so many more roles in vocals than Meramipop will be able to.

inb4flamewarbecauseIambashingMeramipop

【Review]】Ahnenerbe – EINHERJAR

This will be a very short review, but I felt like I should throw it out here just because this album is fucking amazing. I won’t go into detail with each and every song, however I will try and make this review as detailed as possible.

Ahnenerbe is a side-circle of setsuna’s primary circle (which he has more or less left as of now) Black Night Funeral written as 黒夜葬 in kanji (Kokuyasou in romanji). I will refer to it as BNF for now, just for the sake of the pacing in this review and that I am a stubborn bitch and don’t really want to write the entire name all the time (even though it does look good on paper). BNF is pretty famous in the Touhou scene, with setsuna being the sole member of it. His arranges mixes the gothic element with speed and powermetal, making the lead sound very “chorus”-ish like. If you don’t understand, think about Lord of the Rings soundtrack with choir. The pitch and style is very similar to that, however change the sound of the choir to an electric guitar instead. There you got the lead, and the rest of the instruments follow this lead with precision making all the songs very generic towards goth and symphonic metal. Sometimes, even the vocals are a choir in the background.

Now then, as I previously mentioned Ahnenerbe is setsuna’s second side-circle. There is very little information about this perticular album though, so I am not very sure if it’s an album of arranged tracks, or if it’s an original album. However, all I know is that it’s bloody awesome. It’s a pure symphonic powermetal album consisting of nine delicious tracks, each heavily influenced by goth and powermetal (the album is more symphonic than any of the other). One could classify it as a vocal album seeing how many of the tracks has a background lead consisting of a choir, or a intro with a choir (actually, now when I think about it every track on this album’s intro has a choir in it). Then, if you don’t count a choir as vocals, so be it. But it’s still a vocal album. Hmpf!

Anyhow, this album is a pretty much give or take album. You either like it, or you don’t. Many of the songs has similar structure, or even the same even though the melody, choir and setup changes from track to track. The overall sound of the album is very bland and repeats into every track making it an extremely generic symphonic metal album. If one does not like metal with a keyboard, or choir in it (or just simply gothic/symphonic/powermetal in general) this album is nothing for you. The entire album reeks of it, but hell is it addictive and amazing. Even though many of the songs has the same structure, the album clearly has a lot of thought and devotion put into it. There’s a lot of highlights in every track, the guitars are always amazing and there to add something special whenever you don’t expect it. It’s very fast-paced and each track is a new composition of thundering instruments not giving you a chance to rest your ears. I think the only “breather” one is awarded with is in some of the intros, until setsuna decides to hit you with a wall of noise (now, when I say noise it’s nothing bad, it’s not a cascade of shit). Instead, it’s a wall of melodic noise put together into a composition so well done everything in the tracks just floats together, like water in a stream. There’s nothing in the tracks that actually stands out except when there’s a solo, introduction or ending. That is the epitome of almost perfect mastering.

I did mention it before, but BNF arranges is either a give or take. If you don’t like melodic metal in general (I do not mean thrash (which in my opinion actually is trash) or heavy-metal) do not bother with it. However, if you do like more melodic metal (and ALSO other genres!) I do recommend this album for you. Despite of it being so melodic, it’s extremely fast paced and won’t leave you bored. The tracks just seem to fly by thanks to advance composition, structure (which is repeated in some tracks) and a cascade of harmony in form of highlights and choir. This is by far setsuna’s most well made album he’s ever done. 8/10

【東方Review]】A-One – TOHO EUROBEAT VOL.5 IMPERISHABLE NIGHT 【Reitaisai 9】

I think the majority of the people who gets A-One’s albums is because of T.Stebbins, a great vocalist who’s really fit for the Eurobeat scene. I am not going to lie, I am like that aswell. However, as much as I like T.Stebbins and his voice, I do not neglect to give the rest of the singers the praise they need, aswell as the artists who makes the music. So here we go, this is the review of the fifth volume TOHO EUROBEAT.

1: BURNIN’ BLOOD – 【Extend Ash ~ Hourai Victim + Reach for the Moon, Immortal Smoke】
This track has a very elegant and powerful intro. It has a sense of a badass atmosphere, until the song actually kicks in. The track hooks you up from the very first moment, and it’s a great start for the album. The actual intro lead is really generic though, but very catchy which is good. It’s a track which does not leave you bored as soon as the vocals kicks in, which are pretty good. I do however feel that some of the lines are out of place, and some of the pitches aswell. Chorus is pretty meh and actually slightly boring, but it does the job. A solid track, kind of meh but a very good opening track.

2: No Routine – 【Voyage 1969 + Gensokyo Millennium ~ History of the Moon】
This is a filler track in my opinion. It’s neglectable, but it has some charm to it. However overall it’s too generic, there’s nothing really interesting in the track at all. But I do must say, the vocals are great. Rute is a great vocalist and has a powerful voice which transmit emotions very well. This is in my opinion the only interesting about the song in general. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t listen to it at all. It’s funny though, but his voice sets the tone for the entire track and enhance it with the dedication of how well the vocals actually are made.

3: Still in Love – 【Nostalgic Blood of the East ~ Old World + Plain Asia】
Another one of the boring tracks. Intro is very dull and does not hook one at all. Overall sound is flat and washed out, probably to match the vocals which is also kind of dull. They’re not very bright, which in my opinion Eurobeat should be. There’s also no power in them at all, except for the start of the chorus which later just falls flat again. There are a couple of highlights in the track which was pretty much the only thing that kept me continuing listening.

4: LUNATIC – 【Flight of the Bamboo Cutter ~ Lunatic Princess + Voyage 1970】
Oh boy, here we go. This is the track with T.Stebbins on vocals, the one I’ve waited for. And jolly, as usual it’s good. And no, I am not saying this because I am a T.Stebbins fan. It is good, and I will prove it. But it also flaws.

The intro is a bit tedious, and in my opinion a tad too long and uninteresting. However, this also works as a buildup for whatever to come next, and as soon as the keyboard comes in hell is unleashed. Or should I say heaven? Whatever. The transition to the keyboard is great, it’s powerful and melodic. That is however, the only major highlight of the track which is a shame. In general, the entire track is a bit repetitive and also flat. I can’t help but feel that the track is not extremely well thought out, and a bit generic aswell. There’s nothing “smart” about the track which also is a shame, it held good potential. T.Stebbins however provides us with vocals of a god, especially in the chorus where emotions are powerfully potrayed. The verse is a little meh, I am not a very big fan of that. The track overall is good, but it could have been improved. A shame.

5: God Bless You!! – 【Imperishable Night ~ Eastern Night + Retribution for the Eternal Night ~ Imperishable Night】
A very happy and upbeat song which is further enhanced by the childish vocals. They are not really my cup of tea, but damn they are good. Pitches and timing are amazing, and fluctuates between the verse and chorus without being changed in style or emotions. Chorus is the main highlight of the track, a very fine chorus at that. But overall, the song is just a bit too childish for my taste. I can’t make myself like it, but I can’t dislike it because of the amazing vocals. It’s a love and hate thing, forgive me.

6: Promise the Moonlight – 【Song of the Night Sparrow ~ Night Bird + Deaf to all but the song】
This is a very solid track. It holds itself true to the original songs atmosphere. However, it also adds another element to this. A very elegant emotion, thanks to the vocals. Compared to the first track, the power and confidence in aki’s voice really shines here. And the track is a bit better thought out aswell. This shows off her talent, which I believe aki has a lot of. She’s a great vocalist, as long as one does not hamper and let her sing out with all her might. Not only will she perform better, but the song in general will feel more alive. Just like this one. The track is good and catchy but generic. And has no highlights. awwdammit

7: 月の媚薬 –  【Illusionary Night ~ Ghostly Eyes + Stirring an Autumn Moon ~ Mooned Insect】
This track has a very gentle feeling to it. A dreamy atmosphere and a longing for letting emotions out. It’s a very brittle track, both in sound and how it’s built.  One can say, it’s not a solid track. It’s a hate or love track. As for me, I don’t like it… at all. The overall sound is pretty decent but the way its potrayed, I don’t like it at all. It tries too hard to be something it’s not, like a whisper in the wind. That gentle, but it’s far too heavy to be. It is a decent track but there’s only the intro that I like about it. The vocals feels lacking and are kind of uncomfortable to the ear. It’s not a very good track in my opinion, but that’s perhaps because I just don’t like it… at all.

8: Let It Be –  【Nostalgic Blood of the East ~ Old World + Plain Asia】
This is to be honest one of the most well made tracks on the album. It’s fresh, it’s has a great intro (which of course is generic) and it has a lot of highlights. The touches of keyboard is just phenomenal and it’s not very repetitive even though it’s repeating a lot of the strings. However, the keyboard is just such a match with the vocals, like resonating with the emotions. Vocals are great and just fits the overall sound of the song so well. However, it’s not my cup of tea, or beat. It’s slightly dense and not very bright however compared to most of the other tracks on the album I would lie to say that this is one of the songs that fits in the same category. Cause it’s not. It’s an amazingly well done track.

9: Cage to Heart – 【Cinderella Cage ~ Kagome-Kagome + Lunatic Eyes ~ Invisible Full Moon】
Another amazing track. A track that hooks you up directly with an extremely powerful intro. The song seems very powerful in general with a resonating vocalist with a powerful voice which matches the sound of the song. Just like the track before this one, it’s an almost perfect match. Verse is great, powerful and catchy which is enhanced with an actual electric guitar. The riffs could be improved though, they stay very far back in the beat and are very “muddy”. One has to listen for it to actually hear it properly, but perhaps that’s what they wanted. Chorus is decent, it’s a bit brighter and not as powerful as the rest of the song. It’s a solid track though, perfect length despite of its hasty nature. I give it a thumbs up, another great track on this album.

10: KAKEHIKI – 【Maiden’s Capriccio ~ Dream Battle + Love-Colored Master Spark】
It seems that all the good tracks comes at the end. This however is my favorite one on this album. Not only NAGISA on the vocals, but it’s a colloboration with AXEL.K aswell, both two high on my list of great vocalists. This track does not have any splashes of strings (except for the solo and a very minor part in the first verse), but hell it does not need it. This track has almost everything a good Eurobeat track needs to have. It’s powerful because of the change in vocalist through the verse aswell as the duo in the chorus. It has emotions thanks to the talent of the vocalists. It’s interesting because it’s versatile in sound, it fluctuates throughout the entire song and it’s damn catchy aswell. This my friends, is the best track on the album. It’s a great way to end the album on.

This album is nothing outstanding at all. It’s decent overall, it has some muddy and “meh” tracks, but some golden tracks aswell just like in every decent album there is. There’s nothing to be stoked about in this one, except for the last track. The album is however quite solid as a Eurobeat album, the artists clearly know what they are doing but some of the tracks seems a bit rushed, or lacks originality. Some of the vocals could improve aswell, I do not know why but Japaneses seems to like to hire vocalists that does not fit the sound at all. It’s not of my business, after all most of the Touhou music scene is just for fun and many of the artists collaborates for the fun of it, for playing music together aswell as creating it. However, I still think that the overall sound should change to fit the vocalist to that. It’s a better “tribute” to the vocalist, aswell as makes the track sound better in general. Overall, the albums would feel more worked on and get a better score by doing so. 6/10