【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.
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.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.

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