『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]】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