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Original singer Yama-B’s final album with Japanese power metal masters Galneryus is one of their most controversial releases. The album is more experimental in nature than any of their previous records – which have all been more or less straight up power metal – and that may put off some of their older fans, but personally, I think the experiments are at the very least partially successful. And while the band’s first few albums have been decent with a few amazing standouts, ‘Reincarnation’, not unlike its predecessor ‘One For All – All For One’, is one of Galneryus’ most consistent records yet.
Its experimental nature doesn’t mean that ‘Reincarnation’ showcases a completely unrecognizable Galneryus; the basis of the album is still the band’s trademark power metal with highly catchy choruses and a lot of room for Syu’s neoclassically influenced, but still highly emotional lead guitar. It’s just that with this album, the band seemed to be looking for the extremes of what they could do within the – admittedly somewhat limiting – framework of power metal. Another thing that may contribute to the “different” sound of the record is the increased involvement of other members than main composer Syu in the songwriting process.
Most successful is the experiment with downtuned guitars in ‘Blast Of Hell’, which also features some awesome percussion in its amazing chorus. ‘Stardust’ is similarly heavy. Bassist Yo-To – later Deluhi guitarist Leda – contributed ‘Shining Moments’, a highly melodic hardrock tune somewhat close to Dio’s late eighties work which doesn’t really sound like anything the band has done before either. ‘Fairy Tale’ is one of the band’s best ballads – usually a weakness of Japanese bands – because it shifts moods so nicely. The middle section to closing track ‘The Flag Of Reincarnation’ feels fresh too, though the rest of the song is Galneryus’ trademark upbeat, big chorus sound.
However, the band does really well in more familiar territory as well. Yama-B’s solo compositions have proven to be amazing in the past (‘The Flame’, the mindblowing ‘Raid Again’) and ‘Against The Domination’ is no exception. It’s the song that fits his mighty semi-operatic bellow best and its positive energy is bound to leave a smile on your face. Keyboard player Yuhki’s ‘Face To The Real’ is a great work of more traditional power metal as well, while ‘Seasons Cry’ is a fine example of the band’s flair for the dramatics. One of the best even.
As understandable as the mixed reaction to ‘Reincarnation’ is, it’s a fact that it’s a consistently amazing power metal record which borrows a few elements from hardrock and a few more contemporary metal styles. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a Galneryus album. Syu’s guitar work and Yama-B’s vocal prowess just have a certain quality check to them and that is no different here. The latter would leave the band shortly after the release of this album, which lends something of a bitter aftertaste to it, but it can also be seen as a closing statement of amazing contemporary metal.
Recommended tracks: ‘Blast Of Hell’, ‘Against The Domination’, ‘Shining Moments’
Originally written for my Kevy Metal weblog
This album, after two very strong and hard-hitting predecessors, came as a disappointment to me. Galneryus seem to have floundered a bit musically on this album, and what I mean there is that while the music and the prowess with which it is delivered is about the same, that little extra something is missing to really kick it over the top like the last two albums.
Vocalist Yama-B left the band after this album, citing musical differences, and I can tell he's not as behind the music as he was before on this release; while he does sing well, the extra level of aggression and passion is lacking here and it's sad to say so. Syu plays his butt off as usual, Yuhki's keyboard prowess is stellar as always, the rhythm section lays it down good...but it's not the same as before. The strife in the band has resulted in them releasing a sub-par album, unfortunately. Some bands can live off of that kind of strife and make it work, but apparently this is not the case here.
While "Owari Naki, Konoshi" starts off well with keyboard swells and a passionately emotional guitar lead, and explodes into a good, thrashy riff, it slows down for the verses, and this is where it loses momentum in a big way. The rest of the album follows suit by capitalizing on this lack of momentum and bogging down terribly. The riffs just aren't there, the energy is missing, the passion is absent, and it loses me quickly. As mentioned, Yama-B's lack of commitment to the album is also very obvious, and it further hurts their cause. I hope they find a capable vocalist to fill his shoes and rejuvenate them musically, maybe that's what they need?
Really, I can't say more about this album other than Galneryus really need to get it back together and start hitting hard again like they did on the albums before this one. This album is an unfortunate footnote in their discography and I hope they can indeed get back on track with their powerfully melodic style soon.