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Not that I want to make a habit of stating the obvious, but ‘Resurrection’ was sort of a second coming for Japan’s Galneryus. It was the first album with their current singer Masatoshi Ono and also the first thing to be released after the heavier and more experimental ‘Reincarnation’, which was generally considered a tired-sounding album, despite the fact that the experiment was at least partially successful. ‘Resurrection’ just sounds a like a breath of fresh air. The band sounds unburdened and extremely positive and though the band would top it two years later with the nearly flawless ‘Angel Of Salvation’, it still stands as one of their best albums.
First things first: Ono is much more suited to this style than his predecessor Yama-B. The latter’s mighty, semi-operatic bellow is without equal, but Ono’s clearer, more soaring timbre fits the very European-tinged style of power metal heard on every album since ‘Resurrection’ to a T. Also, on earlier albums, guitarist (and bandleader) Syu and Yama-B seemed to get in each other’s way every once in a while. With Ono’s more transparent voice – and Syu’s improved guitar tone – every element on ‘Resurrection’ makes sense and is part of a coherent product.
But none of this would even be relevant if the songs weren’t good enough. And some of these songs are pure, uncut gold. Though I had heard the band before, ‘Carry On’ was the song that made me fall in love with Galneryus definitively. It’s got this blazing main riff, fantastic vocals by Ono and a triumphant chorus garnished with self-empowerment lyrics. Sounds like supreme power metal? That’s because it is! The same goes for opening track ‘Burn My Heart’, despite its slightly more melancholic vibe. The upbeat ‘Destiny’ quickly became a Galneryus classic and ‘Emotions’ is an interesting instrumental.
Keyboard player Yuhki has contributed to a surprising amount of songs on this album as well and especially ‘Save You!’ stands out. It’s somewhat more progressive than the average Galneryus song, despite it’s highly recognizable chorus, and features some fantastic riff work. ‘Destinations’ has a somewhat darker vibe and a middle section that never fails to give me goosebumps – it is somewhat reminiscent of the post-chorus part of Labÿrinth’s ‘Moonlight’. ‘Fall In The Dark’ is a strong power metal track with impressive lead guitar work and hell… Even ‘A Far-Off Distance’ is surprisingly tolerable for a ballad from a Japanese band. And drummer Junichi must have an enviable endurance.
Despite my long-lasting love for power metal, there aren’t many bands that set my heart on fire as strongly as Galneryus does. Part of that is the fact that Syu always makes sure their sound is as ballsy as possible, but their strong and varied songwriting is also indispensible. Whatever it is you like about power metal, Galneryus has it, right down to the sometimes awkward accent. And even though ‘Angel Of Salvation’ would serve as a better starting point, there’s no denying that ‘Resurrection’ is a fantastic record with one of the better tracks the genre has ever brought forth.
Recommended tracks: ‘Carry On’, ‘Burn My Heart’, ‘Destinations’
Originally written for my Kevy Metal weblog
Galneryus’s 6th album Resurrection has a symbolic meaning with its title. A meaning that inquires the resurrection of inspiration filled with flowing ideas. All because of a new line-up change in the vocal department, as well as a new bass player. Although long standing vocalist Masahiro Yamaguchi, left the band back in 2008, somehow or other, the remaining members of the band found an easy replacement for bass, and surprisingly enough, a vocalist with similarities of Masahiro. Even though Resurrection is just another typical Galneryus album of in-your-face neo-classical power metal with no exact innovation, the album still holds its ground and shows that the band will have to go through extreme changes to show any slip up in their style.
Even if there is a new man behind the microphone and singing his heart out, all Galneryus fans should be able to accept the new vocalist, because he has many similarities to Masahiro’s vocal range, but still distinguishable. Generally speaking, Galneryus is a hit or miss band, but I see a glimmer of light that has Resurrection able to reach out to different power metal fan bases with open-arms of acceptance. What I mean by that is, is that this album should be received with positive acclaim from various power metal fans. However, Galneryus has been compared to Dragonforce before, but there’s a difference that shouldn’t turn off any slight of desire to write off this band. That difference mainly can reside to the fact that Galneryus doesn’t speed up their music in the studio, nor do they play carbon copies of every song they make, instead they play a variety of different songs with different tempos, but their style of neo-classical shred can be a determining factor of whether the listener can bear with their music. Having that said, most people who aren’t power metal fans probably won’t enjoy this album, because it is extremely cheesy.
In the beginning of the album we see a typical neo-classical opener, though it’s not an intro that has mindless shredding, but it does have musical consistency that actually has a clear direction for its composition. And that clear composition in the intro leads straight into an album highlight, “Burn My Heart”. Even if the first proper song is guilty as sin for being sooo damn catchy, it really shows what the album will be showcasing throughout the entire duration of the album: soaring vocals, melodic guitar riffs, drum patterns that aren’t repetitive, filled with lots and lots of neo-classical shredding from both Syu (lead guitarists) and Yuhki (Keyboards). Even if every song runs in the same vein of each other, that doesn’t mean that, there aren’t a lot of songs worth checking out. Actually it’s quite the opposite. Songs like “Carry On”, “Destiny”, “Emotions”, “A Far Off-Distance”, and “Still Loving You” show different characteristics that separate each other from the rest of the album, and leave them being “entities” of their own.
Overall, Resurrection is a must have, or at least be tried by any power metal fan. Though it may be like any other Galneryus album – it still separates itself from the rest, somehow or the other. As for non-power metal fans, I would only recommend this album if you enjoy “Carry One” or “Destiny”.
(Originally written for http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/51623/Galneryus-Resurrection/ )
After the departure of Yamaguchi Masahiro, the groovy experimentation of Galneryus was brought to a complete dead stop, it seems. The man they eventually replaced him with, Ono Masatochi, is a kick-arse vocalist (as one absolutely notices on the ‘Rÿche, Scorpions and Dokken covers on Voices From the Past III EP, and here on this album from ‘A Far-Off Distance’), so I’m not complaining about him in the slightest, but it seems the band as a whole seems to have lost something with Yamaguchi. A certain vivacity, an eagerness to push the boundaries: Alsatia was not your average J-power album; it had grit, a keen tendency to subvert the obvious pop hook with a liberal sprinkling of brief ventures into discordance, and a sense of pacing which allowed the listener to be carried away by the groundswell (see ‘Wings’). Resurrection, on the other hand, sounds after Alsatia the way a TV dinner might taste after a fine three-course at an upscale New England club: everything is up-front, easily digestible and pre-packaged, with partially hydrogenated soybean oil and high-fructose corn syrup taking the place of fine seasoning; the juxtaposition merely makes the shift that much more painful, and the end result is a bad case of heartburn. (Yeah, sadly, that pun was intended.)
‘Burn My Heart’ is actually a good example of what I’m talking about. Galneryus just frontload the opening passages with as much shit as they can possibly squeeze in, as though they couldn’t decide whether to open up with a drum solo or a signature Syu shred – and it kills the potential for what might otherwise have been a pretty catchy song. Galneryus can do the neoclassical style incredibly well, but the song rather misses the point: classical art music is characterised by varying styles on a particular theme, and here we just get the theme shoved in our face repeatedly on a basic verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus structure, sadly scant variation to be had. It’s frustrating because the song was technically very amazing, and you know the band is capable of so much more.
To use another example, ‘Still Loving You’ uses an annoying, swingy tempo and some really hammed-up organ and brass work – the bass and drums are unexceptionable, and of course Syu’s guitar work is phenomenal, but they are wasted on the style (and the all-out hard-rock wankery of the last twenty seconds is pretty painful, too). Galneryus, rather than attempting to subvert themselves and offer up something interesting (which Alsatia was, no doubt about that), here just go straight for the obvious melodic progression. On the other hand, if you can wade through that, you will find some gems hidden in the rough: the first two minutes of ‘Emotions’ are very much worth waiting out for the sheer undisguised brilliance of the second two, before they go back to the rom-com anime opening theme stylings of the intro to close it off. ‘Save You!’ is actually fairly incandescent on this album, an example of the neoclassical style at its finest, starting out darkly, building up the tension, keeping the pacing lively until the inevitable Syu-driven crescendo (accompanied by a harpsichord, much to my pleasant surprise), and most importantly, mixing up the variations on the main theme (from all-out hard rock to serenade). ‘Fall in the Dark’ is a pleasant-if-brief return to a darker Alsatia-style sound which incorporates the more throwback pop-power elements subtly and artfully, and ‘Destiny’ varies between the insipid and the inspired. It would be fair to say that the album finishes off much stronger than it starts.
The lyrics are about equally divided between English and Japanese this time around, instead of being mostly English with a couple of songs in Japanese, which is a pleasant surprise. The themes bend more toward the personal this time around, with relationships and personal destiny and existential ponderings playing more of a role than – well, flags, blood, steel and glory.
It may sound at this point as though I’m being tough on Galneryus for being, well, Galneryus. I’m really not. This album is really not all that bad, but the fact that it is in many ways a throwback to a Flag of Punishment standard makes it all the more frustrating that they couldn’t get that kind of quality back. My problem is not with their style at all, but rather that here it comes wrapped in plastic instead of heavy fucking metal.
13 / 20
Japan may produce lot of power bands, but most of them tend to be rather unimpressive. Galneryus has been one of the notable exceptions throughout their career. Resurrection is a fitting name for their first album after the departure of vocalist Masahiro “Yama-B” Yamaguchi. He was awesome vocalist by any international power metal standards, making replacing him difficult. His versatile voice was one of the key ingredients of Galneryus´s sound. I´m happy to say they survived the vocalist change.
Masatoshi Ono, the new guy, doesn´t have the distinct personality and raspy sound in his voice as his predecessor had, but is very solid singer nevertheless. He makes reaching high notes sound very easy and shows some passion in his vocals. Galneryus didn´t try to replace Yama-B with a copy and getting used to the new bit more generic guy can be difficult for some older fans. Ono´s incredible range overshadows his weaknesses and I find him a very good choice.
The music keeps the high quality I have used to expect from Galneryus. With Yama-B gone, Galneryus centers even more around guitarist Syu. He is still remarkably good at combining his technical shredding with catchy melodies. Supported by prominent keyboards of Yuhki, Galneryus´s brand of power metal produces breathtaking melodies. Rhythm section of bassist Taka and drummer Junichi Sato takes the back seat, though you can´t deny their skill with their instruments.
With new high wailing vocalist, Galneryus has lost most of it´s darker edge and replaced it with more positive and fast-paced feel. They certainly sound more like majority of power metal bands, but there is still the unmistakably varied compositions and technical skill of Syu. That guy simply hasn´t lost his touch. As long as he is in the band, Galneryus will sound like Galneryus.
This is traditional power metal with slightly proggy touch, not much more. The important thing is that Resurrection is incredibly well composed and played power metal that is highly recommended to the fans of the genre.
It hasn't taken an enormous amount of time for Galneryus to rise to the top of the Japanese power/classical metal scene, as they've been highly productive and consistent in less than a decade of existence. Yes, by 2010 this band already has 6 full-length albums, a number of singles and EPs, and even some compilations of material, but they've yet to truly knock me out with any of their work. This latest effort, Resurrection falls to the same sort of margin level of entertainment. Galneryus are an entertaining group with all the explosive talent that any in this genre can muster. They can all perform their instruments very well, in particular guitarist Syu who has worked in Animetal and others. The guy is a pure neo-classical speed metal shredder ala Yngwie Malmsteen, and he shows it here, with his numerous solos counting among the album's finer moments.
You've also got a great keyboard player here, Yuhki of Ark Storm and other bands, who can also shred, but rarely goes beyond the call of duty, content with doing his actual job and providing a great backdrop for the rest of the band. Masatoshi Ono's vocals are the expected sort of choppy syllabic emotional outburst in higher range that you can expect from a lot of Japan's power or traditional metal acts (via Loudness, Anthem etc), and the rhythm section of bassist Taka and Junichi Sato's drumming brings this all together with a raging power similar to another band he's performed with, the consistent if often underwhelming Concerto Moon.
So with all this skill and architecture in place, where does Resurrection go wrong? It doesn't, ever go wrong, it simply lacks the added level of power and grace that results in a memorable collection of songs. From a technical or production standpoint, Galneryus can trade blows with almost any other act in the genre, internationally. It's just not all that captivating. Tracks like "Carry On" thrill with their vibrant, anthem riffing, licks of shred and predictable but polished vocal performance, with a nice breakdown that provides the scintillating atmosphere ripe and ready for shredding, tight drumming and a pretty swell of synthesizer packed in. There are a lot more of these: "Save You", "Fall in the Dark", and "Still Loving You" all mix their instruments and velocity well, and I love picking out all the little nuance in the guitar and keyboard interchange, in particular Yuhki uses a pretty broad range of sounds tastefully. The band can also manage a dynamic instrumental like "Emotions" quite well, from the organ tones a la At Vance to the fluid shredding that spins between mystery and enlightenment.
No real bones to pick here. Resurrection is surely one of the most well rounded and coherent of Galneryus' records to date, and in almost all aspects it's a very good outing that would very much appeal to fans of prog/power metal acts, whether they be the similar Concerto Moon or a range of European bands. Galneryus, in fact, keeps a lot busier in the compositions than their peers, and I doubt you'll grow tired or bored in listening through this. It's very accomplished and good, it just lacks that elusive something extra which would push it over the barrier of: Wow, that just happened. These guys can play!