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4 top knotch songs Japan's finest - 90%

Lvondas, January 19th, 2010

Apparently tracks 1 and 4 here were the opening and closing theme for some Anime but whatever, I haven't seen it.

Well if you are reading this you have probably heard a Galneryus album before but this release is strangely a fantastic starting point for someone just getting into this extremely technical but melodic power metal band. There's a bit of Angra, Dream Theater, and Stratovarius here combined with J-Pop but overall this band is far more original sounding than you would guess. The production is squeaky clean and shiny (better than Galneryus' first two albums easily), everyone in the band is in top form. Yama-B in particular is in his prime here. I always thought his vocals used to sound a bit strained on the early albums but his charming, strangely posh sounding; melodic voice wields much more authority now! Just check out that insane note on “The Awakening” he hits.

“Alsatia” (apparently Alsatia is some place in London?) starts with an uncharacteristic (for Power Metal) bass heavy unmelodic riff and then some distorted (again unmelodic) vocals from Yama-B for the first verses. But this swiftly makes way for one of Galneryus’ trademark penetrating melodic choruses. Beware being caught suddenly singing the lyrics “cloud in the mist of time” in public places, it happened to me... Syu’s solo is very epic (as usual mind you) but for once he does not use sweep picking or the wah-wah pedal (as is becoming the standard in new albums). This song sets the tone for the rest of the release as while the other 3 tracks are more melodic, they all have similar moments that sound uncharacteristic of Galneryus to begin with. The high points of the album for me are the carefree sounding keyboard solo on Wings, the weird jazzy deliberately off key bit with the changing time signatures in “the Awakening” and the strangely relaxing outro of “Cause Disarray” that closes the release

I’ll tell you I didn’t completely take to the style of this release immediately. We still have the ridiculously emotional and melodramatic soloing of Syu, the romantic keyboard playing of Yuhki, the energetic rhythm section and a very strong emphasis on melody but Galneryus have pulled a pseudo-Progressive Metal on us again. Some of the Proggier bits may not appeal to you straight away but in the end the variety in these 4 songs may surprise you.

This release is valuable because it doesn’t just give us songs that are merely shadows of songs on their full length albums. I was expecting stuff more in the vein of the band’s latest singles which would have been great anyway but the end result here is something that is worth hearing even if you aren’t one of these fanatical “must hear it all” types.

END NOTE: These are actually all new songs unlike most singles/eps where you get one or two songs from one of the band's full length albums along with the new stuff.

First two songs are in English, second two are in Japanese.

Also no “steel” or “flags” in the lyrics this time.