Alieson – Black Ribbon - 4/5
Alieson - World’s End – 3.5/5
One would almost think Syu (Galneryus) was ashamed of this work as there is almost nothing linking him to it, and so I can’t be sure it truly is him (and so will make no official claim). I will, however, make known the odd coincidence that someone called Syu is responsible for writing and performing everything – the drumming, guitars, bass, violins and keyboards – except for the vocals, and at some point in his life the Galneryus musician has taken to learning each of these instruments. This could even be understandable as, whilst described as ‘melodic power metal,’ that doesn’t really cover it; power metal should have a sense of power in there somewhere, but between the fragile vocal lines and delicately performed violins and keyboards, they perhaps feel more suited to be referred to as a symphonic, neo-classical rock, atmospherically baring a tender soul.
Despite being concept albums, each one telling a ‘chapter’ of a story (I’m diving in here at chapter 7 and 9 apparently), they both felt indistinguishably similar, the format remaining largely the same (though I felt one had the slight edge, there is very little quality wise distinguishing them), leading me to conclude that the main difference must lie in the lyrics, which are naturally sung in Japanese. But this doesn’t really matter so much, as it is the music that is truly on display, and despite its unashamedly simplistic nature, retains a light-hearted and slightly boisterous tone to the proceedings, a matter which the vocals are pivotal in creating. Taking a no frills approach, whilst she fails to use a lot of tremolo or fancily glide between pitches, she does manage to strike each note wonderfully, with a careful variation of pitch to form melodies; an unconventional attraction emerge, an aura of warmth through the – at times – slightly dark and depressing backing instrumentation like shimmer of hopeful light in the darkness.
The instrumentation forms the other aspect; with each aspect performed by the same musician they have been produced in such a way as to merge together seamlessly, creating a piece that sounds rich, atmospheric, and yet never detracting from the vocal focus, instead choosing to accent it marvelously. Almost unnoticeable without listening for it are the often multiple instruments layered on top of one another – violins, keyboards, piano, electric, bass and acoustic guitars as well as drums – utilised only where needed. A simple keyboard melody taking precedence weaving with a simple drum beat and bass line, a chord structure coming in when required and violins adding further depth to the deceptively simple structure; whilst capable of virtuoso performances, it is in fact where it is at its most basic (the final track in ‘Worlds End’ being a prime example of this) that the music truly shines; the coherency of the end result, dynamically shifting in unison as a result of the very singular vision used to great effect to produce a majestic piece almost more akin to the composer of an orchestra than a band. You won’t find much fancy playing, or complexity here; this is simply atmospheric and beautifully orchestrated music.
Highlights: Ghost (BR), Vanitos (BR), 星空 (WE – Track 5), きみのしらない (WE – Track 8)
Author's Note: I have since gone on to discover this belongs to a genre called 'Doujin,' which often features a large number of members. As result I believe this to be the work of a different Syu to that of Galneryus
Alieson - Border Line