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I had sort of laughed this band off as sort of a Japanese rip-off version of Guns 'N' Roses. Jesus Christ, just look at the promo photos of this band. They look like Enuff Z'Nuff from some sort of weird-assed fourth dimension! It was not until years later that I actually gave this band half a chance.
In what I would call X Japan's moment of glory, we are treated to 51 minutes of diversity. This album is what I want to call perfection, but that would be accomplished with the stroke of a single song two years later. This album has everything - speed metal, progressive metal, power metal, symphonic metal, glam metal, pop, and even some classical elements garnished on for good measure. What we get is one diverse album.
After two short classical piano intros, we are treated to what was my first exposure of X, "Silent Jealousy", which is one hot slab of metal. Everything is sharp and clear, unlike some of the muddiness on their previous outing. Yoshiki's drums ring out like a shotgun blast and Hide and Pata both utilize Maiden-influenced harmonies that make up this very intricate piece of music. My only issue, and this occurs throughout the album, is that the only thing Toshi usually sings in English is the choruses. The rest is all in Japanese, which I do not understand too much of. I can always translate the lyrics, but they never fit quite right.
"Miscast" is another great piece of metal. The song has that intensity, it has that groove, but it also has a popper hook with the sing-along choruses. Another track that does this very well is "Desperate Angel", which has that massive hook in the chorus, but the rest of the song is in a heavier mold, albeit with a bluesier tinge in the case of this song.
There are some more experimental moments such as the acoustic ballad "Voiceless Screaming" and "Joker", the first of which was penned by Taiji Sawada. It is a stark difference compared to the heavy material exhibited previously. This is a soft, almost melancholic ballad put in an awkward place to serve as sort of a "cool down". "Joker" on the other hand has a couple of hints of industrial to it, but it is not very recognizable apart from the casual listen.
The final track and what ties this album together in one beautiful package is the power ballad "Say Anything", which is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. It is so beautiful that even a grown man such as myself will pull his lighter out and weep at its sheer power. To really get the full idea, I translated the lyrics to English and figured out what I think this song is about. It is about a relationship crumbling apart and one side or the other will say anything, lies or not, to save the dying relationship. Some lines when translated into English almost make it sound like a suicide note, with lines such as:
Run away from reality, I've been crying in a dream
Frozen time makes me shiver
Building up my tainted memories
Until my sadness vanishes
You say anything, whatever you like to say to me
Say anything, you leave me out of your eyes
You say anything, all I can hear is a voice from within my dream
Say anything, you can dry my every tear
It is a beautiful song with a certain classical feel to some parts. It really makes for a hard listen sometimes, especially if it may evoke certain emotions, as it does for myself.
Overall, this album is a work of brilliance. There is not a bad song on here, only lyrics that I have to translate. The instrumentation is very tightly woven together and other elements such as pianos and orchestras tie it all together to make one very beautiful sonic masterpiece.
X Japan's third full length album is probably their most diversified and yet most accessible record. The band has lost some identity on this record and tries to adapt to a slightly more European or American heavy metal and hard rock sound with tracks like the entertaining and dynamic "Desperate Angels" and the commercial hard rock anthem "Joker" that make me a little bit think of Twisted Sister. These songs would have been two excellent single choices for a market outside of Japan.
On the other side, X Japan deliver once again what they already did on their first two ouputs. We have a couple of solid speed metal tracks like the addicting "Stab Me In The Back" and some emotional but too stereotypical standard ballads such as the overlong filler "Voiceless Screaming". The closing piano and string ballad "Say Anything" adds a more epic and symphonic touch to the sound of the band and does a much better job. This is a very touching track if somewhat cheesy and the band convinces on its classic terrain. The problem is that they can't always keep up with the quality of the band's previous hits and feel a little worn out at some points. A true X Japan fan will still enjoy those songs, though.
There are not too many new things to doscover. The most stunning track is without a doubt the surprising and atmospheric gothic sound collage "Love Replica" that was largely influenced by the unforgettable late guitar player Hide. While the idea is intriguing, the song still feels like an alien filler on the record and sounds somewhat unfinished. It's the same thing for the opening instrumental interlude that finishes in a weird hurry. But X Japan always had strange ideas and it's not the first time that they put experimental and unfinished song excerpts on regular studio records. In comparison to previous experiments, the new ones are rather short and a little bit too tame to truly surprise in the end.
From that point of view, the band mixes new Western sound influences with their classic speed metal tracks and hard rock ballads plus a few weird experiments. This is quite diversified and presents us everything one could like about this band but there is a little glimpse of genius and innovation missing to really make this record shine after all. My final rating seems to be severe as this is without a doubt an enjoyable record but it doesn't have the same uniqueness of the two previous works and feels a little bit directionless.
Jealousy is a somewhat bewildering album. Like its predecessor, Blue Blood, it lies just below the next level of greatness. Being that so much of it is vintage X Japan, it should be a classic of the highest order. Unfortunately, even though it's still a really good release, that's just not the case. I think that has most to do with the intangibles and not the actual material. The album lacks (for the most part) the energy and intensity of its predecessors. I can take things a shade lighter, but that's not really the issue here; it's more of a feeling the band gives off. Every time you think Jealousy is getting on a hot streak, a sour part takes you right out of it. The song "Desperate Angel" certainly doesn't help, either. It's a pathetic glam song that reeks of American money-grubbing, and the only X Japan song I'd dare call bad. Just press skip.
Don't dwell on it, though; the rest of this release is crawling with great tracks. After a cool piano intro, "Silent Jealousy" rocks on with a trademark X opener: speed, a soaring vocal performance from Toshi, and a surgically striking rhythm. Next we get one of the best heavy songs the band has ever done: "Miscast." It's a simple stereo rocker set on destroying everything; and I know I always make a generic comment about how great their choruses are, but words truly can't describe them. What follows up these two brilliant tracks? That abysmal one we discussed earlier. Just take the advice I gave at the end of the previous paragraph. "White Wind from Mr. Martin" follows, which is basically a filler acoustic instrumental. At least it isn't too long.
Now we arrive at the heart of the matter. "Voiceless Screams" is the first of two masterful ballads included on this release. It's strange how all of X Japan's ballads share close similarities but each one ends up sounding so fresh and enjoyable. They don't get old, and I'd swear they have an endless supply of these things. All of a sudden, "Stab Me in the Back" takes a turn for the heavy. The thrashiest song X Japan has ever written, it's also just a fun romp. "Love Replica" is like "Give Me the Pleasure" from Vanishing Vision; a zany instrumental with some spoken word samples underneath. It's an aquired taste, that's for sure, but I like it nonetheless. "Joker" is sort of a lesser track, relying too much on its glam sensibilities. Some quality hooks make it decent overall, though, and it never approaches being bad. X Japan saved the best for last, however. "Say Anything" (great movie, by the way) is a ballad made beautiful by its moving orchestration. This could have been on Dahlia.
The production values have taken a drastic leap forward. There's nothing raw or dry about X Japan's sound here, improving Jealousy's ease of use. I've certainly heard far worse efforts from 80's bands moving into the bleak musical landscape of the nineties (Crimson Glory's Strange and Beautiful from the same year, for example). Jealousy never really disappoints; it just regresses on a very small scale. It's a testament to how stellar your band's discography must be when this is your worst album. My recommendation for Blue Blood still applies: fans of any style of 80's metal can find something to like here, even though it's their least consistent effort. Just chalk it up as a closer victory than we might have liked; it's no blowout, but a win is a win.
Following the success of the marvelous debut of X Japan, releasing very strong material and crafting great songs and showing a lot of unit between the band members, these guys unleashed their third studio album after almost 2 years from releasing its successor, entitled Jealousy. However, the production of the new album changed dramatically, it’s definitely much better than the first two. But you keep wondering if the music changed too, to a better scale? Well, that’s another story.
The production improved a lot than in the previous albums, but in the other hand, the music failed to do the same, unfortunately. If you listened to the first albums you will be definitely so disappointed by this one. In contrast, if this is your first experience with X Japan then you will probably like it. The deal is real simple, X Japan’s Vanishing Vision and Blue Blood are world class, but this one is simply just your average good metal album, no more nor less. The overall musicianship and style is not the same, here the sound is softer, less heavier and hard to get used to, it gets even cheesy and dull in some songs. The track Desperate Angel describes well everything about the new trend of X Japan. The main chorus is completely boring and the riffs are more akin to western rock. The album is full of fillers and unnecessary short instrumental tracks like White Wind From Mr. Martin ~Pata's Nap~. The album mainly features a lot of acoustic parts in most of the songs, and the music in general is less faster than the usual X Japan sound. The only exception here is the second track Silent Jealousy, the song that has one of the great solos and really strong riffs and awesome chorus.
Yoshiki’s role has shrinked drastically on the drums aspect. I can’t hear him blasting as in the first releases, neither performing fast patterns, although in both Silent Jealousy and relatively in Stab me in the back I can see the usual Yoshiki but that’s all about it. In the other hand, he shone playing nice piano solos and delivering nice symphonies in the track Say Anything the best song on this album along with Silent Jealousy. Say Anything is similar to Endless Rain from Blue Blood. Toshi did a great job on this track with beautiful emotional tone. This song was a nice closure to upsetting third album.
All in all, X Japan payed the price of releasing world class albums. It’s not easy to stay on the top, everyone knows that. However, this does not mean that this album is terrible, don’t mistake me. The music that you will listen to here is completely acceptable and you will enjoy some tracks definitely. Silent Jealousy and Say Anything for example retains a lot of the renowned sound of X Japan in the late 80’s.
Written for Encyclopaedia Metallum 31-03-2011
Since no one reviewed this album yet, I decided to review it. I'm very far from a professional reviewer, but I'll do my best.
X Japan's third studio album is very good like the previous two, but not as good for a few reasons.
This album is very different from Vanishing Vision and Blue Blood. The production is a lot better (which is good since the sound quality on Vanishing Vision and Blue Blood was pretty bad) and the music sounds more hard rockish and 90's (which isn't a bad thing at all since its good, but I preferred the more speed metalish sound). The songs on here are mostly very good, but there are some weird songs and that's why I gave the album 85/100. There are two very good ballads on here: Voiceless Screaming and Say Anything. Voiceless Screaming is really one of the best songs on the album because its very, very sad, the vocals sound really melancholic and the guitar riffs are very dark sounding. Say Anything sounds a lot like Endless Rain from the previous album (in sound I mean) and that's a good thing, its a very catchy ballad, its not metal at all, but who cares? Anyway, the best song on here is easily Silent Jealousy which is one of X Japan's best songs. Period. Its the only song on the album that sounds a lot in sound like the songs from the two previous album. Its is very fast, very melodic, very catchy and simply awesome. The other songs, except one weird track (Love Replica) and one useless track (White Wind From Mr. Martin), are also very good, but more hard rock than metal. They sound like a mix of Helloween, early Motley Crue and early Maiden (Iron Maiden and Killers). Desperate Angel, Miscast and Stab Me In The Back are very heavy, but have a few hard rockish parts while Joker is more funny/happy sounding like some of Helloween's songs (Dr. Stein and Rise And Fall) and some of Gamma Ray's songs (Hold Your Ground and Free Time). Overall, all of the songs are very good except the two useless songs that I've mentionned.
Anyway, Jealousy, just like X Japan's entire discography (studio and live albums), is worth checking out. I would recommend the two previous albums(Vanishing Vision and Blue Blood) at first, but any fan of those two should love this album.
Next 'real' studio album, Dahlia, is very good aswell and also very different.