Though the digital files for the three tracks on this double-A side from tortured yami-kawaii nymphs Yukueshirezutsurezure found their way into my inbox, I ultimately didn’t have time to handle a review. Fortunately for us all, Tsurezure mega-fan Phillter, who is now living the dream in Japan, was more than happy to step to the plate.
That one band with a super long name, Yu-something-something. The little sisters of the Queens of Yami-Kawaii, Zenbu Kimi no Sei da.
If you frequent this site (or the Idol Metal communities in general), then you should be very familiar with this band of four. When they first marched on the scene back in late 2015, no one quite knew what to think of them, but the general consensus was that they were something to keep an eye on. The name alone was something to stick with you … if you could pronounce it!
The haunting, lilting melodies that suddenly threw the listener into a panic with growled vocals and screams of frustration and rage were a combination no other band in the genre had attempted to quite that extent before. It was that combination of lullaby and nightmare fuel that intrigued many a fan, including yours truly, to become an Aquamarine (the name of their fans). So it will be no big surprise when I say that I loved this record.
With the release of their first mini-album, Antino Ideology, earlier this year, they firmly planted their flag as a mainstay group and heavy-hitter, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
In a very intriguing interview that I translated with the members of the group, it was revealed (among many other, much darker revelations) that none of them were very confident about their harsher vocal abilities. This new single spits in the face of those insecurities, proving that this group, once again, is something to keep an eye on. This is also the first time that we have recorded vocals from the newest members to the group, Kokoko and Tsuyame. And whether it is the new members’ influences or some other force of the dark side of human psychology that lends its power to these songs, it works in their favor.
Overall, the musical direction still fits very closely with the meaning of their name: Wandering Aimlessly, Without Knowing Where You Are. This time around, however, the songs feel much tighter in musical direction than compared to previous songs. Antino Ideology had songs wandering around in large square rooms, eventually throwing a few tantrums and getting to the other side just as the song finished, while this record has the same wandering feeling but in a wide hallway rather than a full room. This slight tightening in musical direction really brings out the talent of the girls and the musicians, so I look to it as a beneficial change. “Six Fall Roar” / “A Drama With Nietzsche” marks a growth and maturity to the group’s sound.
On to the individual songs!
“Six Fall Roar” (六落叫) opens the game with the intensity expected from Tsuretzure by now, with the expected vocal pattern of melodic chorus broken by shouts. However, the music in this song is some of the more complex that we’ve seen thus far from them. There are layers of heavy guitars, electronic synths, piano lines and even a wub-tastic darkstep break in the later part of the song.
The shouts shown in this song are more mature than was shown in Antino Ideology, too. They show a little more depth and control than just someone yelling into a microphone, which speaks highly to where this song says the group is heading. The vocals are mixed a little too quiet during the verses, though, which takes the bright note of them away from the wall of sound being projected by the chugging guitar.
The lyrics of this song speak to a sense of being ignored but standing strong against it, especially with lines like, “I have to shout to make myself heard!” and, “Caressing a lukewarm existence with blood … cowardice isn’t needed.” The emotions evoked from the amazing music video also have the members freeing themselves from kidnappers. This song could be a great anthem for a youth culture trying to break free from an oppressively bland and monotonous world they were born into.
Note to self: Don’t capture nuns who can perform magical rituals.
“A Drama With Nietzsche” (ニーチエと戯曲) starts off with the best harsh vocals we’ve seen thus far from the girls. They are controlled and “clean”, with an obvious nod to a more death-metal-esque style than previous releases have shown. Overall, this song’s focus seems to be much more on vocals, as the tower of sound from guitars and other instruments is absent or much toned down in this song. They also seem to give a strong wink to the accepted style of “Yami-Kawaii” in that there is a spoken vocal section in the last third of the song, akin to that of other songs on Antino Ideology and Zenbu Kimi no Sei da songs.
As expected of a song with Nietzsche in the title, the lyrics pose some questions among the dark imagery of being shaken to the core of your existence by questioning reality. Are we trapped in a reality we make for ourselves? The music video has puppet imagery similar to the cover of the record, making it obvious why this song is one of the two title songs.
Are we all prisoners of our own existence?
“Promise, Lightly” (契りひらり) is the least heavy song on the album, being closer to “Shinjuku Cinema Connection” than the other two songs. Thick electronic sounds and an auto-drum beat dominate the musical side of things, and the lyrics involve none of the shouting or harshness exhibited earlier. It’s a good closer of a song though, as it leaves the listener feeling refreshed after being thrown into the cesspool of violence that the title songs created. The fluttering piano also makes sense with the title, adding a playful melody to accompany the vocals.
This honestly sounds like it would be great as the background song to a scene in a movie with the main character driving through downtown Shinjuku at night, electric signs flying by in a daze. The lyrics of the chorus are incredibly haunting, “Your blood, a dye of aquamarine/My blood…a perfect combination of good and evil/Your blood, [I’ll] drink it so that nothing remains/My consciousness. Now this is supremacy.” It’s like the theme song to a movie titled A Vampire in Tokyo!
With fantastic musical construction, displays of vocal skill and power that are leaps and bounds better than previous showings, and strong lyrical themes presented in the songs and visual themes via the accompanying music videos, this record should become a staple in Yukueshirezutsuretzure’s catalog, if not the catalog for the entire yami-kawaii subgenre. It was very difficult to find things that I didn’t like, and for that I feel like this review loses some credibility. The mixing issues were only present in one song, and there was no huge break in the overall style from what is expected based on previous showings from the group. Some might call that safe, which is appropriate. But with the increase in polish and tightening of focus that this album brings, I refuse to call that safety a detriment.
All said and done, this single gets a solid 4 / 5: Not a life-changing experience, but if you call yourself a fan of Idol Metal, and especially a fan of Yami-Kawaii, you need to own this album. Now that I live in Japan this group is damn close to the top of the list of Groups I Will See Within the Next Year.
Added to the Ultimate Homicidol Playlist: Both of those videos! And our percentage of yami-kawaii increases.