Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Perfect Prelude - 96%

Funeral Frog, November 21st, 2014

Kamijo's first major release within his solo career, Symphony of the Vampire is a great success. Regardless of it's preface status to Kamijo's first solo full album, Heart, this EP seems to not share many similarities with it. Really, only the first, fifth, and seventh songs sound like the ones on Heart do... At first, these differences seemed unfavourable, but upon further listening, Symphony of the Vampire grew into a large part of my musical landscape. Kamijo tried out some more risky songs on the EP, and saved a couple sure-fire ones for his first full-length album. This is a shame, because they could've used some of that riskiness/heaviness/symphonic on Heart. Either way, the songs exist here, and the risks definitely paid off -- all at once! Also, It might also be useful to know that I've listened to the EP about sixty times in the last two months. Whether that says more about me or the album, though, I'm not sure.

Within Symphony of the Vampire, Kamijo and his hired guns manage to consistently shove new, catchy melodies into the listener's face on a plethora of bases; the piano, synth, guitar, vocals, drums, and strings all get their time to shine. Worth mentioning is that both the pinch harmonics on Sacrifice of Allegro, and the unexpected acoustic guitar section of Sonata help to keep things fresh-sounding. There also isn't much random acceleration as with much of power metal (i.e. sudden blastbeats in the middle of a riff), which is really nice to hear; it prevents a lot of distractions from the rhythm section during times that it would be unnecessary.

Also (definitely because of Kamijo's influence), Tetsushi Hasegawa's guitar solos sound very much akin to Hizaki's (of Versailles). In fact, the very first one on the EP copies the same structure as a normal Versailles solo. That is: play an "advanced melody", then shred it out. All-in-all, the guitar parts were well-recorded, but they sometimes become buried behind the strings... Only to suddenly reappear with a blistering solo. Perhaps the biggest highlights for the guitarist are the two solos in the final song, Throne, which are executed with great skill (fast, but nice to listen to).

Although it's not "shout it from the rooftops news-worthy", Kamijo's vocals are still very good. In fact I'd say they're the best they've ever been, which is interesting considering his age (he's older than he looks!). He's even consistent when he experiments with his voice a little bit. One of the most memorable parts of the album, in fact, is the chorus of Dying Table. The low growls in "Let me bite your neck" wouldn't be special in death metal, yet the not-so-gloomy atmosphere that it's found in is refreshing.

Within Symphony of the Vampire, there is really only one flaw holding the rhythm section back. While I'm certain it was done on-purpose, the snare drum sounds are quite "tinny" during the entire EP. It isn't so bad as to *constantly* distract from the songs (and actually sounds okay for most the most part), but it is noticeable. Perhaps it should have been restricted to the heaviest song: Dying Table. As for the bassist, "JU-KEN", he and his parts are relatively invisible. If you listen really well, you can indeed hear him, but there isn't much to listen for, anyway.

Symphony of the Vampire was a great way to start the year, not to mention a solo career! Although the vampire theme of the songs was done quite well, that was about the only cohesion between them all. But that's okay; this is Kamijo's first show-of-force, and it still flows nicely. Before, around my first listenings, I wouldn't have recommended it to be the first thing a newcomer to Kamijo (and his circle of bands) hears. But now, I feel it is his best work to date, so that's the dilemma. I'm not sure if it would appeal to someone who isn't already a fan of Kamijo or not!

Buy this album if you're a visual kei or Kamijo/Versailles/Jupiter/Hizaki Grace Project fan. Don't buy it if you're generally against the idea of Japanese men acting like vampires with bad (but adorable) Engrish. But at least take a listen!