Kalafina – Red Moon

November 27, 2012 at 2:46 PM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Kalafina – Red Moon

1. red moon
2. Hikari no Senritsu
3. Te to Te to Me to Me
4. fantasia
5. Haru wa Ougon no Yume no Naka
6. Kyrie
7. Yami no Uta
8. Hoshi no Utai
9. storia
10. intermezzo
11. progressive
12. Lacrimosa
13. I have a dream

♦ ♦ ♦

Red Moon is the second studio album by Japanese group Kalafina, released on March 17, 2010. The song I have a dream was used as the theme song for the movie Eve no Jikan. The album reached #5 on the Oricon weekly charted, charted for nine weeks, selling 27,818 copies.

Starting the album with my favorite song! red moon is as epic as it gets, from beginning to end. It’s pure perfection this early on the album. Take a Halloween / Nightmare Before Christmas ambience, add some electric guitars and strings and some amazing vocals and you get this track. WAKANA sings most parts and KEIKO has woven her beautiful deep and low harmonizations through to make it even more breathtaking. HIKARU isn’t bad herself either. Near the end the song reaches its ultimate high with KEIKO chanting in her low vocals. Probably my most favorite Kalafina song ever.

Following the amazing opening track, we have the final single of the era: Hikari no Senritsu. Its lovely and happy folk sound comes out ever cuter when placed right after the mysterious and haunting red moon. It’s one of the songs I have loved from the start, and like I said before, I’m a big fan of this song. HIKARU sings the verses with flair, but WAKANA and KEIKO singing together never fail me. The flute solos are amazing, they make the song so epic I can’t even.

Te to Te to Me to Me surprised me when I first heared it since it has such an epic Arabian feel with the sitars, strings and soft electric guitars mixed in. Yuki, you’ve outdone yourself with this one. I really feel like I’ve emerged myself in the 1001 Arabian Nights or something, very cool. It’s also amazing to hear KEIKO singing most of the parts here, she totally owned this song and did an amazing job.

The variation this album is providing goes on with the introduction of fantasia. I always like it when Kalafina combine their operatic vocals with more of a dance approach in their music. The synths and elecronic dance beats mix so well with their harmonies, again it gives such an epic and dark feel. Therefore, KEIKO’s vocals are perfect again to serve as the main in this song, with HIKARU doing the chorus with a stronger voice this time (not so nasal). Quite enjoyable, and heavy!

This felt like the perfect time for a ballad, and there we have Haru wa Ougon no Yume no Naka just in time. WAKANA is back doing the lead this time with her solid and light vocals, perfect for singing opera parts if you ask me. HIKARU’s parts aren’t that good this time, she doesn’t have the vocal techniques WAKANA has (such as shifting quickly between chest and head voice just like that). Nonetheless, this is a pretty, moving piano ballad with some nice strings that came at the right time on the album.

Kyrie has always been another one of my favorites from the very beginning. It’s definitely like a sequel to the track ‘love come down’ on their first album, with its colorful dance beats and electric guitar riffs. All the girls do an equally good job this time – HIKARU sings so much better in more uptempo and heavier tracks, WAKANA’s vocals are perfect for lead again and KEIKO outdone herself with her low harmonizations. Probably the best track when it comes down to vocal performances.

Holy shit. Yami no Uta is like their most bombastic songs ever with a very dark, rather old European feel to it. Pounding drums, flowing strings and a little bit of Arabian influences make up for one of Kalafina’s most impressive songs. Ofcourse, when it’s a dark song (that is aptly named as well, since the title translates to ‘Song of Darkness’), KEIKO has to be the lead vocalist. It was the perfect choice for this song and… do I hear Yuriko sing that little opera line in the bridge…? Amazing ❤

The KEIKO madness goes on with Hoshi no Utai, since she’s also very present in this song. WAKANA and HIKARU join a little more this time though. It starts off pretty dark and foreboding, but then the lovely Japanese flutes lead into a very uptempo song. I wouldn’t say it’s not foreboding anymore because of that, since there are still some pretty dark and haunting parts in the song. HIKARU defintely changed my mind with her performance, her take on the chorus is the best she’s ever done with the best vocal techniques.

storia slowly turns the album around to a more folkish style. Three of the four singles are featured from now on, so this is gonna be good (the singles for this era were fabulous). This time I was a bit on the fence with HIKARU opening the song, but the three girls eventually sounded great in this epic song. You just plunge right into it, the flute solos completely grabbing you for sure, and if it wasn’t for HIKARU’s nasal vocals it would’ve been the perfect song since it gives me shivers again.

intermezzo is just what it says on the tin. Short and sweet, it has a more vintage sound when it comes to the vocals. HIKARU, WAKANA and KEIKO’s lower vocals are the central point in this song set to a music box background, before a lone piano comes in. Perfect little introduction to the next track since it already build up the tension.

The A-side that surprised me most of all was progressive, a dark electronic dance song with lots of electric guitars and a chilling violin melody. It’s such a mysterious and foreboding track, I instantly loved it when I first heared it. HIKARU’s vocals are now perfect, she does sound better when there’s more going on in the song. Even KEIKO found her way into this perfectly, I just wonder where WAKANA is for most of the song. Still, this song kept me interested for nearly six minutes, full time.

Although Lacrimosa was released simultaneously with Seventh Heaven, I have no problem with this song being on the album. It was a good enough song, right? Anyway, WAKANA and KEIKO’s collab on some of the lines was amazing again, they’re like the Kalafina power team. HIKARU was just there in the song, delivering some of the higher operatic vocal performances in a rather good way. The overall song is another good shot at dramatic rock/folk music that I enjoyed to the fullest.

I have a dream is probably the most unique song on the entire album, since it has more of a pop ballad style when compared to the rest of the songs. The opening was pretty cool and left me wondering whether it would take off of stay a ballad. The latter happened, and I’m actually pretty thankful for that. The vocals are very fitting, with even HIKARU and KEIKO phrasing better and letting their lines flow a little better. Since it’s a piano ballad with some percussion most of the time, the flute solo was a very welcome element in the bridge. I think this is the best Kalafina ballad there is, it ended the album in a great way.

Kalafina never disappoints me, NEVER. Their second album was probably even better than their first, but it was a close call though. I enjoyed every single song on this album, especially the A-sides, but because there were so few of them and so many new tracks, the new ones definitely deserve some credit too. They make up most of this album, and there are some gems between them that just keep playing in my head all day long. With this album, Kalafina proved they don’t always stick to the dance/rock or folk/rock, they can do Arabic influenced songs, pop, electronica, what else is there? They’re obviously my favorite band, and this album explains it all.

Favorite tracks: red moon | Hikari no Senritsu | Te to Te to Me to Me | Haru wa Ougon no Yume no Naka | Kyrie | Yami no Uta | Hoshi no Utai | storia | progressive | Lacrimosa | I have a dream

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

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