Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

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

Privacy Policy

Another round with Rami - 77%

Liquid_Braino, March 6th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Across Music

I suppose you could call this a mild case of "be careful of what you wish for" because after the success entitled Aspiration, I was genuinely excited for another Rami solo release. Well, she delivered on that promise with Reloaded, but this time she seems to be playing it safe. There's a mix of fast power metal numbers, mid-tempo offerings and a couple of ballads, but nothing that I would consider adventurous or unique. Aspiration was full of surprises; Reloaded is just full of "songs."

There's a bit of a twang to the guitars at times, most notably apparent during "Moonlight", but the riff-work and bulky production values aren't going to make anyone question this album's rightful place in the metal spectrum. Reloaded also has a cohesive flow to it, in that it wasn't brought to fruition with a revolving door of session players from song to song. But listening to this release, I'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing since some of these songs come across like stock J-metal anthems. It's a pretty common occurrence regarding solo “songstress” albums, particularly when it's only the vocals and lyrics the titular artist is contributing. It's Rami's album, so yeah, the emphasis on her voice is the driving force, and the music provides the backdrop for her to take command. I can't say that this is her best showcase though, even if she still nails those high notes when necessary. Maybe it's me, but I feel that her tone is getting softer too, to such an extent that during "Riding the World" it sounds like she's dueting with Re:NO during the verses.

The title track, "Moonlight" and especially "Realize" are the propulsive speedsters, and without any musically ambitious statements like Aspiration's "Pray to the Sky" to blow my mind, these three numbers are the make-or-break tracks concerning my enjoyment. "Realize" flirts with thrash metal and possesses an added bonus of some weird rhythms that squirm all over the fretboard. It's borderline goofy at times, but also refreshingly creative. The other two tracks are fine as well, going for the more familiar double bass onslaught, but neither of them tore at my shirt like "In My Eyes" did off her previous album. Oddly enough, besides "Realize", my other favorite number is actually the mid-paced silly anthem "Get Freedom". With a chorus that repeatedly shouts out that song title, I can't help but get swept up in that rousing, hilarious phrase, singing along with my fist in the air. Get freedom motherfuckers! I'm keeping that one for my next barroom drunken outburst.

Then we have the two ballads. While "Reloaded ~Crystal Memory~" works as a tidy little closing lullaby, "Never Say Never" is just a saccharine marshmallow more suitable as an OST number for some weepy melodrama than something that belongs on a metal album. Again, I get it, it's the solo diva thing, but it accentuates the fact that Reloaded was the kind of album I was expecting Aspiration to be, a competent vehicle for Rami's pipes and prose. That isn't to say that Reloaded is an overall nosedive into banality. In fact, it's generally decent and occasionally a swingin' good time. Yet despite the numerous good qualities, the guitar-work, the fast numbers, the catchy stuff, and Rami herself, I get a "J-metal-by-numbers" vibe from this compared to her prior album.

I'll always love Rami. Yeah, she's a talented singer even if her voice is not as distinct as it once was, and anyone who reminds me of a Japanese equivalent of a young Kristen Johnston (of 3rd Rock from the Sun fame) will always grab my utmost attention. Thus I'll be following her to see what road takes from here, but in this case, I'm hoping she treks down a slightly new avenue.