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in 1280 x 960 resolution
Galneryus, in keeping with the last album's progression, are reaching even further into their more streamlined sound and coming up with a more successful cross-pollination of their past sound and this new direction. And this is so far their most effective album to date. It combines the classical trappings of their past albums with the heavier riffing found on "Beyond the End of the Despair" to a nice end product.
At the outset, their usual cinematic intro sets an appropriately epic tone and is a little atypical in that it prominently features cascading clean guitar arpeggios and acoustic strumming over wordless vocals. It evolves into the band coming in and leading into the first song proper, "New Legend", which is a powerful opener. Yama-B even sounds as though he is pushing himself vocally into a higher register, lending further urgency to this song, and the hearty "YEAAAHH!!" he lets out at the end of the second verse really has impact. Of course, his lyrics are still Engrish, but they seem slightly better this time around--maybe he took an English class or something? The syntax still comes off like a Japanese person expressiing himself in English, which means it's awkward going at times. This is a minor issue, though.
This is also a first for Galneryus in that on this album they feature two songs--"The Night Craver" and "Everlasting"--in their native language. The Japanese lyrics sound perfectly OK to me, but then again I do listen to a lot of J-pop. "The Night Craver" in particular is a crunchy effort and features a downtuned stop/start verse riff that doesn't come off as nu-metal, thankfully. Even though they are separated by a song, the two sound similar enough so that I can't help but wonder if they are thematically related?
The production is even better than last time around, too, just right and just enough polish and heaviness balanced to make it sound great. Syu's guitar sound isn't quite as thin as the last album and you can hear the bass just fine. In fact, new bassist Yu-Toh really makes his presence known on "New Legend" with a fleet-fingered solo spot that shows he's listened to his share of Billy Sheehan. His more active style suits Galneryus nicely, but a touch more definition in his tone would've made a world of difference. Yuhki still gets his requisite amount of keyboard solo time in, but he tones down the wankery factor noticeably. The overall result is that Galneryus are balancing the shred with taste and it works very well.
My favorite songs on here are "New Legend", "The Night Craver", and "Don't Touch" with its early 80s feel--a nice heavy riff on this one makes it a winner as well as its false ending and rideout jam.
Galneryus deserve to be known over here! Their relentless progression and obvious work they are putting into their music is showing, and I am very pleased with it. It may be subtle on some fronts, but it's there and I am happy to see that they are taking their music more seriously than some bands *coughcoughArch Enemycoughcough* are these days and are pushing themselves to improve every time. I hope someday I can see a US tour for these guys...