【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

【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]】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