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After the wide success of their first releases, notably Vanishing Vision and Blue Blood, X Japan inaugurated their 90’s spell with a new third full album entitled Jealousy. The production quality of this new album saw a drastic change, as we got this time a well refined clear sound that sounds much better than what we had in their older albums, those that were recorded in the 80’s. Apart from this side, the music itself had also changed, but did it improve in the guise of production? This is something that we will discuss in the following section.
So, the production notched up a level, but the music itself did not! Surprise surprise!! Yes, this time the musicianship failed to improve, but worse, it relatively deteriorated I'm afraid to say. But let’s put you in the broader picture, so I remain fair and square with the band. If you listened to the first albums, you will definitely be disappointed by Jealousy, as simple as that. In the other hand, 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 above average heavy metal album.
The sound of music here is relatively softer, less heavy and not particularly attractive. It might even get cheesy and dull at times. The track Desperate Angel describes well the new trend of X Japan. The main chorus in this track is completely boring and the riffs are not something that will hook you up. The album is full of fillers and unnecessary instrumental tracks, like White Wind From Mr. Martin ~Pata's Nap~. There are some acoustic based songs here, notably Voiceless Screaming. The pace of the music is generally, slower than what we had in the previous albums. One of the exceptions is the second track Silent Jealousy, the song that has one great solo, solid riffs and awesome chorus.
Yoshiki’s role has shrunk down drastically on the drums role. I can no longer hear him blasting and performing fast patterns like in the previous albums. Although in Silent Jealousy and relatively in Stab me in the back it sounds like he regained his authority on doing his role. By contrast, he brightly shone playing beautiful piano melodies in the track Say Anything, the best song on this album along with Silent Jealousy. Say Anything is an epic ballad and is quite similar to Endless Rain from Blue Blood. Toshi embellished this great instrumental work with beautiful emotional tone. This song was a nice closure to a relatively upsetting third album.
All in all, X Japan paid the price for releasing world class albums. It’s not easy to stay on top, everyone knows that. This does not mean that this album is terrible, don’t be deceived. The music remains completely acceptable, you will enjoy some tracks definitely. Silent Jealousy and Say Anything for example retain much of the energy blown in the antecedent albums.
Standouts for your pleasure: Silent Jealousy, Say Anything.
Written for Encyclopaedia Metallum 31-03-2011