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extremesymphony, July 1st, 2011

X Japan has been a curious entity in metal world. While their work has been great, it just does not come anywhere in achieving perfection. In every album, some so shitty mistakes are found around so brilliantly constructed music that you begin to wonder if the band was in its senses while writing the faulty parts. Anyways Blue Blood, their second record, which was incidentally also their breakthrough album, is their most consistent and also their best. The songwriting is more developed as compared to their speed metal debut.

Individual performances of the guitarists and the drummer are just fantastic. The main highlight is the Tipton-Downing guitar work, which is totally amazing. The drum work of Yoshiki is also great and technical. He is also the pianist and the piano work is also quite good. The vocals are not that good especially due to the Japanese accent and also due to the fact that Toshi lacks range and so the vocals sound totally powerless like female pop vocalist. Anyway they are an acquired taste. Also the style of the vocals adds a romantic feel to the songs. The production is not bad, just average, a step up from their debut.

The sound of the album can be best described as Helloween Keeper of the Seven Keys in Japanese and a much more romantic edge. The highlights include the title track which is pure speed metal with amazing riffs and superb solos. The oddly titled X falls into similar category and is another enjoyable track. Endless Rain is a ballad and another amazing track. This is the track where the romantic feel comes out the most, practically oozes out. Overall this is one of the most emotional ballads. The final song, Unfinished is one more ballad though not as good as Endless Rain. The epic Rose of Pain is an amazing epic, much more in the vein of Dream Theater made simpler. It builds up with an acoustic intro, which is very amazing. Then around the 3rd minute the picks up with an amazing riff. I just can’t stop admiring the soloing and it is indeed close to flawless. The piano solo around the 5th minute is one more of the song’s high points. But the greatest song from the album has to be Kurenai. The song begins very emotionally with synths, but then after a minute develops into a crescendo of riffs and solos, all of the highest quality. Among the weaker songs, Easy Fight Rambling and celebration are the weakest. They sound like random 80s glam/hair metal songs which could be expected from bands like Poison, Guns ‘n Roses, but when we have songs like Kurenai in this album, the songs are a real problem.

Overall this is the most consistent X Japan album. Except a couple of weaker tracks, the rest of the album is high quality heavy/power metal. One more thing that makes this album great is that all the members put all their efforts, emotions, feelings in this album which makes it a great experience. The album is not quite comparable with any other albums, and so I recommend this album to everyone listening to heavy metal music, because it sure is an experience worth experiencing.