Yousei Teikoku – Metanoia - 4/5
There are some genres that many consider too conflicting and simply should not be mixed (Body Count's “Rap Metal,” can stand testament to that) but I've always thought that of the abominations to music that such 'experimentation' brings, no matter how awful, can only be a representation of themselves and not the combination; essentially simply because no good music has come from one combination of genres does not prevent anything that can be categorised by them both automatically bad. To place this all into better context, Yousei Teikoku are a band of two that have combined Electronica (something between Techno and Drum and Bass to be precise) with classical music – a combination of styles likely to offend fans on both sides – and despite all my doubts have succeeded in making it work by adding a third element compatible with both: Gothic Rock.
Surprisingly, it manages to combine the strengths of each genre into one coherent piece; the drums may all be programmed but their precise aggression deftly sets the pace for the rest of the music to layer on top of, and the hard hitting bass adds an upbeat antithesis to the more delicate choral chants, violins, and synthesizers that set the classical tone like some grandiose “Phantom of the Opera” epic; filled with darkness and yet still not somehow without warmth. Coupled with the piano lines and aggressive guitar lines it rarely feels as though there's not enough going on or that the sound they've created feels thin, and yet throughout it all the elegant female vocals manage to gracefully dance over the atmosphere behind her with a melancholy gothic sadness, a delicate delivery that varies in its pace yet never fails to show a seductive innocence to be tainted.
Their influences seem to sway with each track, despite the aggressive and metallic fury of the earlier tracks, towards the end it drifts into an almost ambient like tone resulting in a release that never seems to get stuck in a rut; it all flows from one end to the other as a single coherent entity. The influences are clearly discernible but never so obtuse as to stick out; it all blends into the overarching composition and whilst it comes with definite high points, it still manages to remain an excellent short (30min) release capable of withstanding multiple listens.
Highlights: Hades: the Rise, Haitako no Hana
Yousei Teikoku – Gothic Lolita Doctrine – 3.5/5
Up until the last minute I was intending to review this album, but decided upon 'metanoia' instead. As short as metanoia was, the extended run time here didn't feel as well utilised; the upbeat passages were less enthused, the slow passages less delicate and the whole release felt far more reluctant to step away from the middle-ground. Still, it's not bad and if you liked the above, this is a decent collection of some of their more upbeat works.