【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

【東方Review]】Sally – Syndrome 【Reitaisai 9】

Sally – シンドローム
Rock, Progressive pop

Sally brings out their third album which in my opinion is their worst. And I am very disappointed. Sally made a huge debut with their first self-titled album, being one of Comiket 80’s best and most well made album with great success and critic. At C81, Sally released another album, Sadomasochism which had greatly fallen in quality. Sally had a great chance of becoming another of the Touhou scenes greatest arranger within rock, but it appeares that they by now have lost that chance. Okay well, back to the album. It’s a seven track album and all of the tracks origin is from the sixth game of Touhou, the famous Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and also my second favorite game of all time from Touhou. So let’s start this.
1: taste ~紅く染めたkissの後味~
Original would be the famous Septette of the Dead Princess which is one of the best themes out there in my opinion. It’s a great theme, very gothic, mysterious and noble. Sally arranges the theme into… not so very different from the original. They use the original tempo, structure and even the drums are extremely similar. I cannot help but to feel that this track is not very well thought out, a bit rushed and lacks colors, feelings and atmosphere. For it being a track so similar to its original it has completely removed all of the colors which the original has. It’s a very mediocre song, and even the vocals are lacking a bit. I’m not quite sure why, but I get the feeling that Chata’s voice here is lacking emotion and power aswell, which is Chata’s major handicap. However, don’t get me wrong. I still think she’s very talented.
2: Plaze On-Impulse
Original is The Maid and the Pocket Watch of Blood. This track is a bit better than the previous one, having a distinct source of color and emotions. With Ranko on the vocals, the track feels like it has a bit more soul and passion not to mention that the song feels much more “worked on”. But still, it’s a very “vanilla” song, or in my opinion… boring. I don’t like it at all. All the instruments are vivid and active, the bass is great and drums sets a great atmosphere but I can’t help it. The overall sound is so boring.
3: カーニヴァル
Original is Voile, the Magic Library. This track is a bit more lively, a bit funky and a bit jazzy aswell. It’s very pop and truly sticks out from the album. I kind of like this track because of the funky sound it has. This song has more character than the last previous two ones, and it’s a pretty decent track aswell. The guitar wailing in the background sets its tone amazingly but the bass is very sluggish and forgettable. It’s a simple melody but it works. Vocals are amazing and fits almost perfectly with the overall sound of the track. IZNA is really fit for this.
4: 虹色キャンバス
Original is Shanghai Teahouse ~ Chinese Tea. WITH MERAMI ON VOCALS! BUT!
Damn, this song is terrible. Even Merami sounds like dying on the song. This song my friend, is the epitome of a horribly done arrange. It’s too similar to the original, but way too boring to be interested. The mastering is very meh, bass is overwhelming so many of the instruments with a really boring lead. And repetitive to add on that. The same can, and will be said about the guitar. The entire song is repetitive. And boring. Just no…
5: ナイフ
Original is Lunar Clock ~ Luna Dial. Now this is the best song on the album by far. If one can pass by the very generic intro, the person is rewarded with a cascade of harmanous intro lead. The sound in that lead pretty much explain the entire tone of the song in general, it’s very chaotic but at the same time gentle. It has a great amount of power thanks to the drums which is just enhanced together with the chords of the guitar which by this time is great. Bass however can be neglected, but it has its moments to shine and however sets a pretty solid addon to the song. Vocals are lacking a bit but are pretty good aswell. In chorus, the vocals are excellent but the instrumental part is slightly off to this. But, it is a solid song in overall. I repeat, it’s the best track on the album.
6: HANAVI
Original is Locked Girl ~ the Girl’s Secret Room. A decent track, but unfortunately not very interesting. It’s very similar to the second track in color, but has derailed from the originals sound by a mile. I can’t say much about this track, just read track #2’s review and you got almost everything I wanted to say. However, a difference would be that the vocals seems much more thought out, and fits better. It also has more soul to it. And the bass is very boring.
7: con~痕~
Original is U.N. Owen was her?. This is a very happy and cute song, a bit too cute for my taste. Once again, Chata on the vocals and this time she does a better job. The song feels more alive now. However, the track has completely removed the “insane” part from the original and just replaced it with cuteness overload. Even some keyboard has been added to enhance that. Bass is excellent and interesting, but drums feels out of it at some places. Overall, the song is just too cute for me however, the song is fairly well done and quite interesting.

Overall, the album feels a bit rushed. Some of the songs has not been given enough time, and feels just like fillers in a show. They’re just there to make the album look complete which is a major turndown, especially for a circle like Sally who holds great potential. There is a gem in the album, but it’s flawed and could be polished a bit however, compared to the rest of the songs its the gold amongst the fake gold. Ranko makes an excellent addition to the vocals, and is in my opinion the heart of Sally’s success. And will keep holding it. 5/10

Reitaisai 9 – Reviews Part.2

Yuuhi Satellite – 華鳥風月
Trance, House, J-Core

Another very short album. Yuuhei Satellite brings a small, but very delicious album consisting of two tracks (aswell as the instrumental versions) with astonishing result. First track could be neglected, it’s the second track that shines.  However, it is a good track despite of what I say. It just don’t fit my style, or my tastes. The second track however is an arrange of the godly Suwa Foughten Field, and it’s an amazing version of it. It does resemble Jericho’s version, however with vocals. This track is a must for those who likes trance and house. The only thing that could be improved is the vocals in the opening, I feel that it’s lacking a bit. Overall however are they very solid. 7/10 because of the song.

Liz Triangle – YURI-IRO ZUKAN
A one track album (and the instrumental version here again). An arrange of Byakuren’s theme now, Emotional Skyscraper which by the way is a great theme. I love it, despite of it being LONG AS FUCK! The song is arranged into Liz’s usual style, groovy and very upbeat together with lily-an on vocals. However, there’s a major difference now and that would be that the song is very childish and light. It has a soothing atmosphere around it. Almost like elevator music here, but a bit more groovy and lighthearted (is that even a word?). It’s good though, but nothing I am very fond of however it will go into my Liz Triangle playlist. It’s very relaxing. 6/10.

O-LIFE.JP – 東方妖々夢でメタルっぽい何か
Metal, Rock, Progressive

O-LIFE.JP brings out another speedmetal album, heavily influenced by the arranger S.S.H. from the style the songs are arranged. The sound is a fusion of IRON-ATTACK and SOUTH OF HEAVEN, very chunky and fast paced guitars with a very melodic lead aswell as keyboard. I don’t have very much to say about this album, however I do think that quite a lot of these songs were hastily made. There’s not much originality to the tracks, and some get quite repetitive after awhile. It’s not an album I would listen to a lot, even the solo’s sounds rushed at some points. Very generic speed/powermetal-ish. However, some of the tracks has golden riffs which definately is worth listening to. Apart from that, meh. 4½/10.

FELT – Stand Up
Rock, Pop

I’ve never been a too big fan of FELT, but I’ll review it anyway. I don’t find many of their tracks very attractive to my ears although I can tell that they are very well made ones. However, I just can’t simply seem to like the overall sound and mastering they have. BUT, there’s one thing that makes me listen to them. Vocals. Oh lord, the vocals they provide. I’ll masturbate to that shit, son. The vocals are top notch, and I hope they will always stay so. Cause that’s the only reason I listen to FELT every now and then. I’m sorry every FELT-fan, but it’s the truth. This album is just like any other FELT album I’ve listened to. I can’t seem to like any of their songs, except the very last track. Vocals on the other hand is top notch as usual. But overall, meh. Very well made songs but I can’t bring myself to like it. Forgive me, 5/10.

Reitaisai 9 – Reviews Part.1

Reitaisai 9 was being held two days ago, 29/5 2012. Last year, the Reitaisai had to be cancelled due to a very certain natural accident. Because of that, all the artists that were supposed to be attending at Reitaisai decided to give out their albums for free and instead said “donate the money you were going to buy our album with to help the people”. Faith in humanity, restored.

Anyway, Reitaisai 9. Judging from the list I saw, there would be a lot of delicious and amazing new albums from very promising circles, aswell as a couple of new circles that seemed very astonishing. So, I will start with the few albums I have listened to so far, which is not too many though. But remember, all I write here will be my own opinion and I will stay true to it. However, I will not review every album I listened to either. There’s just too many of them.

ALiCES EMOTiON -FORLANE REI/FORLANE SANA
Techno, House, J-Core

A very generic album. Very “vanilla” so to say. I can’t seem to find anything I either like, nor dislike about the tracks in these albums. I find them very boring though, and I can’t seem to pick one to favorise. They’re all well made, a fine beat and good structure but that’s pretty much it. Vocals are decent at its best, though I will not make a statement about the lyrics until I’ve fully understood them. I did get a bit of what they were about though. 4/10

DDBY – Kirisame Drive
Blues, Fusion, Funk

Second album I’ve listened to. This is where things started to get really interesting. One can tell DDBY has a knack for this genre, seeing how they’ve been in the Touhou business for quite awhile. However, this album is just amazing. Overall, it has a very sweet and soothing aurora hovering above every track. Starting out with a very crispy song, catching ones attention from the very start and with astonishing quality. Every instrument is mastered just perfectly. This is an album which is a must to hear. 8/10.

Sound Online – Divine
Techno, Rock, J-Pop, Progressive

Sound Online brings out a very short album, consisting of three tracks. Six tracks in total, due to half of them being the instrumental versions aswell. Now then, what about the songs? All of them are mid-length ones, about 4:20 each except for the first track and I must say, I am extremely content with this album. It’s a very catchy and upbeat album. One can really tell Tsukasa is a very talented musician, not because of the amount of albums he alone has made (well, the majority at least. In some albums, there are a few songs that are arranged by others). Certainly, this must be one of the more well made albums Tsukasa has made so far, and I am confident to say this one will be very popular. The last track, 望の月、宵の宴 is amazing by the way. Despite of it being such a childish song, I can’t help it. It’s just so damn catchy. 7/10