Kalafina – After Eden

July 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Kalafina – After Eden

1. Eden
2. sandpiper
3. Magia
4. Kugatsu
5. in your eyes
6. destination unknown
7. neverending
8. Koto no wa
9. magnolia
10. Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa
11. Mune no Yukue
12. snow falling
13. symphonia

♦ ♦ ♦

After Eden is the third album by Japanese group Kalafina, released on September 21, 2011. The album peaked at #1 on the Oricon weekly charts, and charted for eleven weeks selling 34,034 copies.

Eden serves as the perfect opening song for the album since it gives off such a lighthearted and upbeat feeling. I like how HIKARU takes on the verses and hooks while WAKANA sings lead in the chorus, with KEIKO always setting a strong undertone for everything. I guess the overall vibe of the song is so appealing you easily forget it’s almost six minutes in length.

Kalafina always includes a very interesting and ethnic song on their albums, and sandpiper is just that. It reminds me so much of deserts with its use of percussion and the piano, guitar, strings and vocals create great melodies around it eventually. The overall feel of the song stays very mysterious and almost foreboding, I love it.

Magia was the latest B-side before this album was released and it turns out to be one of the strongest tracks on both this album and in their discography. The arrangement is perfect and sandpiper set the tone for this, since this track takes that foreboding quality to the next level. Magia is that kind of aggressive rock song that Kalafina hasn’t done before but it works so well for them, HIKARU carries everything to the fullest.

After three interesting and epic songs, we slow things down with Kugatsu, the first real ballad on the album. It’s like every other Kalafina ballad, but like all the other ballads this one has its own special touch too. Mostly it’s piano and some sparkling effects in the background, but a chorus and flute join in later on to give it more ‘oomph’. I love the vocals in this track, especially WAKANA’s.

Wow, Kalafina goes banghra with in your eyes. It even has some electro effects as well, this song took me so much by surprise. Even though this may be a weird transition from the dreamy world of Kugatsu, this song definitely works in every way. The vocals collaborate amazingly well and the bridge in this song is awesome, it definitely has that Oriental feel. It’s like a throwback to some of the songs on the Red Moon album!

destination unknown is one of the most jaw-dropping Kalafina tracks ever since it’s both rock and veeery fast paced, the percussion is very loud and the electric guitars are all over the place. This track asks for some lower octave vocals, which KEIKO ofcourse delivers perfectly, but even WAKANA hits the right spot. HIKARU adds the energy and spice to the chorus. That bridge, I can’t even.

After that aggressive track, neverending has one of the prettiest openings on the entire album. I just adore that violin solo and the chanting mimicing that same melody further on in the song. This song is a mid-tempo folk song that is another genre topping off the album, I already thought I was missing something. The KEIKO/WAKANA vocals combination works perfectly well again, giving me goosebumps every time. This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album, although it’s too short to my liking.

Koto no wa is the song that serves as the interlude track I guess, since it’s so short and simple. It’s like a little music box opening, releasing some of its soft and dreamy content, and then closing again after nearly three minutes. Which go by pretty soon by the way.

Even though ‘adore’ is missing on the album, magnolia comes pretty close to capturing that same danceable electro style on the album. I didn’t expect a song witht this name to sound like this, but anyway. KEIKO does a great job on her solo’s, setting a mysterious tone to it. WAKANA takes over pretty soon, but she is my favorite singer after all. This is not their catchiest dance song to date, but it’ll do.

Next is Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa, their first A-side of the era, and although it’s a huge step back from magnolia to a more mellow sound, it does tend to stay in my head after only a couple of listens. The best thing about this entire song is the vocals and that little flute tune that comes in later in the song. It’s a simple but very effective song, the better ballad that beats Kugatsu by far.

My absolute favorite on this album is Mune no Yukue, KEIKO just opens this in such a beautiful way with her higher vocals. This song does put a little more emphasis on KEIKO and HIKARU for a change, which is great. This song has such an uplifting, hopeful and happy sound with its lyrics ‘Let me flow in the river of the heart‘, I just love that. Yep, nothing but love love love for this song.

Personally, I would’ve picked ‘adore’ over snow falling if we’re talking B-sides anyway, but here we have this B-side of the Magia single. This is probably the Kalafina song that resembles a lullaby most of all, and you could fall asleep easily listening to the soft piano music and legato notes by WAKANA. I don’t like HIKARU’s vocals this time, although the rest of the song is not too bad. Just a little too slow for me.

Closing the album, there is symphonia. It continues the use of long notes that snow falling also had, but this song is much grander and more interesting. KEIKO kicks it off perfectly with the other girls singing beautifully too. Even though this song is very pretty and interesting, it just doesn’t seem to stick with me very long. Too bad since it really has potential, but let’s talk about the overall album to set things right.

So this album is pretty much a collection of amazing songs all in their own way, so when every song has something good or interesting to offer, in the end it might be a little overwhelming for a song like symphonia. Anyway, I can’t be more satisfied with Kalafina now. They only had two singles before the release, but both the A-sides sparked my interests immediately. From beginning to end, this album collects their lovely rock, electro and folk sounds on one disc to create another great effort. Kajiura needs a standing ovation for this again.

Favorite songs: Eden | Magia | in your eyes | destination unknown | neverending | Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa | Mune no Yukue

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

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