Kalafina – Consolation

March 22, 2013 at 7:55 PM | Posted in Kalafina | 1 Comment

consolation1ALBUM  REVIEW
Kalafina – Consolation

1. al fine
2. consolation
3. moonfesta
4. Door
5. Mirai
6. Hanatabe
7. Signal
8. obbligato
9. Kiichigo no Shigemi ni
10. Manten
11. to the beginning
12. Hikari Furu
13. Yume no Daichi

♦ ♦ ♦

consolation2Consolation is the fourth album by Japanese group Kalafina, released on March 20, 2013. It was released in three versions, a limited CD+DVD edition A, a limited CD+Blu-ray edition B and a regular CD Only edition. The album debuted at #2 on the Oricon Charts.

al fine is the mysterious and almost foreboding introduction to the album (for which I’ve waited too long imo), and it mainly consists of some soft echoic xylophone notes and strings, with the girls softly chanting in the background. It gradually builds up and it is the perfect introduction to show off their musical style.

The first full length track on the album is also the title track, consolation. The song opens with an amazing operatic chant before the beat in the background takes off into this amazingly edgy uptempo song. I always love Kalafina’s uptempo songs, and this one is pretty much like older songs when it comes to the atmosphere. It’s a bit like ‘red moon’, but then with more tempo and edgier. Definitely a great title track and it was a good idea to have it so early on the album.

moonfesta is like the complete opposite of the previous track, and small wonder, since it apparently was the opening track for a children’s TV show. Apart from that, I totally adore this track since it’s actually pretty cute for a Kalafina song. I love the music with its bouncy percussion, flute and violin, it gives it some kind of gypsy feel. I included this single in my top 10 of 2012 and therefore I can recommend this song to anyone who loves Kalafina and is ready for something completely different.

The first ballad on the album is Door, opening with a beautiful harp arrangement and WAKANA’s clear vocals (she still is my favorite vocalist in the group). Although I like HIKARU’s vocals a little less, her harmonizations with KEIKO’s beautiful alto voice sound amazing in the second verse. It’s very quiet after two tracks that were dynamic in their own ways, but yet there is a sense of magic to this song. It may take some time, but this song captured me eventually.

On to the B-side of the ‘Hikari Furu’ single: Mirai. It comes out amazing after the ballad Door, since there’s so much positivity sounding from the beautiful arrangement. The melodies in this song are what captured me in the first place when I first heard this song a couple of months ago, and the harmonizations are breathtaking as well. With WAKANA always taking center stage, there’s nothing that can take away the amazing feeling this song gives me.

Hanataba features an instrument in the opening that many Kalafina songs don’t have, and if I’m not mistaken, it’s an accordeon. But soon after that, a piano mixes in with the accordeon sound before the song eventually takes off with percussion and electric guitars in the chorus. It’s a ballad, but the atmosphere is so different from songs like Door because it’s a little bit darker. I love how unique this song is in their discography, extra points for that.

There’s always a dark and fast song somewhere along the middle of their albums, and what was ‘Yami no Uta’ to the Red Moon album, that is what Signal is to Consolation. This song has really fast beats (probably a beat machine instead of genuine percussion) with a lot of electric guitars in the background, and this is the perfect song for some operatic chanting in the background while KEIKO has much more lines this time. Even the little accordeon comes back on steroids for this track, love it ❤

consolation3obbligato, I love the title already ❤   It has a loading time, but then it becomes clear that this is another grand song with a huge rock arrangement. The electric guitars are a little more dominant this time and the percussion consists of real drums which comes of more ‘real’ if you know what I mean. This is the first song I’d dare call ‘standard Kalafina’, but they gave it an interesting twist nonetheless.

Another lovely title, Kiichigo no Shigemi ni (which means ‘raspberry bushes’), and it even includes beautiful piano music and a cello. WAKANA leads the way, together with KEIKO, but HIKARU’s light vocals also fit the total ambience of the song perfectly. It’s short and sweet, and it has a great spot in the middle of the tracklist.

In reversed order, we first have the B-side of the single of which the A-side is next. Manten being on this album is like a dream since I was completely addicted to this track when the single came out. It reminded me a bit of ‘Scarborough Fair’, but ofcourse Kalafina made this completely their own. They mixed the melodic aspects of beautiful strings with more agressive elements like heavy percussion and electric guitars again, resulting in one of their best kick-ass tracks.

Moving on to the A-side of said single, to the beginning pretty much has the same style (mixing strings with percussion and electric guitars). It drops right in and takes you along, and from beginning to end everything in this song is automatic. It has the right timing, every little change in the arrangement comes as if it’s natural and the vocals are amazing, especially KEIKO’s and WAKANA’s. Perfect A-side material, although Manten would’ve been a great A-side too.

Hikari Furu is ofcourse a gentle ballad, and I remember loving the single because it brought along a lot of versatility after the bouncy moonfesta and the rocky to the beginning. It’s a magical song with a soft piano and strings in the background, while the group’s vocals are perfectly toned down to match the harmonious quality of the track. I wouldn’t want this song anywhere else on the album either, it’s perfect near the end of the album.

Yume no Daichi, meaning ‘Land of Dreams’, lives up to its lovely title. The flute opening the song instantly caught my attention, and it’s great that it stays throughout the song together with some strings and percussion in triple time. It’s the perfect ending to the album, and this could be just me but I think there’s something to this song that makes you wanna enjoy it even more just because it’s the last song. Loved it!

I don’t think Kalafina can make a bad album, or a bad song for that matter. Everything they do is great; after all, having the concept they have is like waiting for someone to be like ‘omg, they already done that’, but they still manage to make each song sound unique! With just a little accordeon, a flute or something else that is unexpected in a song, Kalafina knows how to add a little extra to a song to make it stand out every time. That’s exactly why I love this group, apart from the amazing vocals and vocal techniques they possess. These are professionals, period. They never EVER disappoint me ❤

Favorite tracks: consolationmoonfesta | Door | Mirai | Hanataba | Signal | obbligato | Kiichigo no Shigemi ni | Manten | Hikari Furu | Yume no Daichi

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

consolation4

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1 Comment »

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  1. I totally agree with your review.
    But I’m still not sure which is my favorite album from them (Seventh Heaven or this one)
    All the tracks are great. Consolation was a pure badass song and i love it.
    Signal was one of my favorites because Keiko was included more (Keiko fan here).
    But as you mention Yume no Daichi as the last song made me enjoyed it more, as well i thought of it as a new I have a dream but more joyful 😀
    I can’t wait for more music of this great band.


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