Kalafina – Seventh Heaven

June 3, 2012 at 12:54 PM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Kalafina – Seventh Heaven

1. overture
2. oblivious
3. love come down
4. 夏の林檎
5. fairytale
6. ARIA
7. また風が強くなった
8. 傷跡
9. serenato
10. 音楽
11. 明日の景色
12. sprinter
13. 君が光に変えて行く
14. seventh heaven

♦ ♦ ♦

Seventh Heaven is the debut album by Japanese group Kalafina, released on March 4, 2009. The album debuted at #8 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and has sold 38,087 copies to date.

overture has a really mysterious and ethereal sound to it with the plucked strings and the echoed effects, with the girls singing in the background. It’s a beautiful introduction very much in the style of their harmonizations.

It flows right into oblivious, their first single and I always thought it was one of their most epic and wonderful songs. The fact that it also has so much more to it than just some operatic chanting gives me goosebumps. I love WAKANA’s vocals in this track, and the way KEIKO’s work around it. Yuki did an amazing job on the electric guitar, that solo totally rocked.

love come down is the first album track to appear and it has an amazing tension to it already from the build up with electric guitar riffs. This track is a bit heavier and more energetic than the previous one with some louder percussion and electric guitars, but the strings accents are pretty and I really liked the violin that added a little mysterious ambience to the track. The song is a bit HIKARU heavy, her vocals are all over, but KEIKO and WAKANA layered theirs over it beautifully.

I got a ‘Scarorough Fair’ vibe from 夏の林檎, mostly because of the flute introduction (which was really cool, I like flute music for some kind of reason, it’s so epic) and the acoustic guitar. It’s a song in triple time so that’s a welcome variation as well, it reminds me so much of folk music and I like Kalafina’s twist on it. HIKARU emphasizes too much (yes, you can emphasize too much), so I’m more into the harmonizations WAKANA and KEIKO did.

fairytale is like the lullaby/storybook-ish song on the album, and it’s such a relaxing song. It has a very magical feel to it, the arrangement has been kept very simple with a music box and strings, which work very well together. KEIKO get’s her own verse, and her low alto voice is perfect for this song. The vocals carried the song, very smooth and soothing. I love the last part of the song, focusing on the soft arrangement and with the girls singing softly in the background.

Right about now I needed another uptempo track, but we’ve got ARIA instead. Which is not much of a problem for there’s some great epic harmonization all the way through in this song. The vocals in the chorus, probably WAKANA and MAYA working together, are beautiful. At first I though this song was anotherfairytale, but eventually the instruments work their way around the base and the song becomes somewhat more energetic. Very nice track, love it.

Wait, I asked for energetic and oh my gosh I got it: また風が強くなった. This is such a loud and energetic track, it just bursts with it. It already opens with some really loud electric guitar riffs, and basically the entire song builds around that. The cello adds a little mystery to it in the more quiet parts, but the rest of the track is pretty much all spiced up. Even the vocals are very energetic, while the background vocals are epic operatic harmonizations. Such a surprise track, but positive!

I love love LOVE 傷跡 for everything it has to offer: WAKANA’s beautiful high vocals combined with KEIKO’s low vocals that gives an amazing harmonization (HIKARU wasn’t part of the group when this song was released on the oblivious single), the triple time structure with great percussion and I adore the violins in the chorus (I have an obsession for beautiful strings). The piano in the bridge is another great addition. There’s a sense of energy to the song, but it’s not like the previous track. It’s the epic way, je l’aime ❤

And HIKARU goes nasal in serenato, cracks me up every single time xD
This song has more of a tribal sound to it thanks to the percussion, it’s like fairytale 2.0 because it’s still as peaceful as that track, but with just a little more dynamics to it. WAKANA delivers the main vocals for this track and her performance is flawless. The sitar adds a mystical quality to the song, and I like it because it turns out to be quite unique on the album.

音楽 doesn’t have the traditional percussion sound but more of a beat machine, and this has to be the most unique song on the album for here Kalafina steps away from their traditional music completely. This is a dance track with rock elements, and very KEIKO heavy (finally). Her vocals sound great when altered with a vocoder. This song comes very close to the energy and dynamics また風が強くなった provided, so thanks to these tracks I have come to love Kalafina’s less epic but louder songs some more.

Back to the less energetic and more soothing stuff with 明日の景色, in which WAKANA enchants me with her lovely and solid vocals. It’s a relaxing song: an orgel, acoustic guitars, strings and in the chorus a little more tension with some snare percussion. My favorite part is absolutely the bridge: FLUTE <3. It makes the rather dark song a little lighter, it lifts the song sooo much. I came to adore it thanks to that little flute, haha.

sprinter was the first single to feature HIKARU, and I like her vocals more in this track than I did in others to be honest, for she doesn’t emphasize that damn much and has a nice vibrato. It’s almost like a contrasted song: the music is pretty heavy and focuses a lot on the fast percussion and electric guitars, while the girls’ vocals are more on the soothing side and they harmonize perfectly. Too bad it’s so hard to find MAYA in this song, I wonder if she was the singer in the second verse since that was a slightly different voice..

君が光に変えて行く is the minimalistic track from their first single, it’s very slow and soothing, with just a piano working around WAKANA’s vocals until it begins to take form as more of a power ballad song of some kind. KEIKO is joined by soft percussion and more strings in the second verse, so there’s definitely a nice build-up here. The violins in the background added more dramatics to the song. In my opinion this song lacked a bit when compared to the rest of the songs on the single, but it comes out way better on the album.

With seventh heaven it’s like the album has come full circle since it brings back the ethereal sound and waves from overture. It’s the most minimalistic song on the entire album for being the title track, but it turns out to be a little bit better after a couple of minutes with more strings and bells. It’s dreamy, relaxing, but it’s a six minute track so they could’ve made it a little shorter. Doesn’t really stand out in my opinion, but on its own it’s now a bad track at all.

I ADORE this album, I really do. At first I avoided this album because I was all into their second album Red Moon, but then I started to review their first era’s singles and I fell in love with this era as well. This album features some amazing tracks, there are no tracks I hate, maybe some I like less than others, but overall this is an amazingly solid and enjoyable album. I like how Kalafina manages to combine traditional music with modern music, they vary between heavy rock tracks and soothing ballads, they use a lot of beautiful accents in their songs (orgel, sitar, flute) that makes their music unforgettable. This album right here is a real recommendation, I mean it.

Favorite tracks: oblivious | 夏の林檎 | ARIA | また風が強くなった | 音楽serenato | sprinter | 君が光に変えて行く

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

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