Review Summary: If you're new to the Jrock genre, this album makes for a fantastic gateway into a whole new world of music. Even if you're not looking into the Jrock scene, you're likely to find many likable songs on here. It's heavy enough to mosh to, and diverse enough
Something strange has been happening to me these past few weeks. Japanese rock music has slowly taken over my winamp player, ipod and car radio. It all started with another J-rock band that's slowly gaining popularity in the USA, a band called Dir en Grey. When i told a friend of mine about my growing fascination with the Jrock scene, she made a list of bands that i should check out. Among the list was two bands that she told me to look up immediately. The first was L'arc~en~ciel, and they rocked my socks off. The second was the lead singer of L'arc's solo project, simply titled HYDE. When i first heard HYDE, i was blown away. Not only did he sing as well as he did in L'arc, but he also sang in english, and (to my surprise) i could understand every
word he said. Within days, i had two of his three albums (666 and the album im reviewing right now). Many people consider 666 to be an exact opposite of HYDE's first album, Rotengen. However, the way i see it, 666 and Faith have more of a contrast just in the concept alone (this is the last time i'm going to mention the album 666, there's already a review for that).
Faith has 10 songs, 5 composed by Hyde("Jesus Christ", "Countdown", Made in Heaven", "Perfect Moment", "Mission"), and 5 composed by Kaz, Hyde's second guitarist and current band mate in his solo project ("I Can Feel", "Season's Call", "Faith", "Dolly", "It's Sad"). However, all the lyrics and vocals are done by Hyde. One thing about this album that caught my attention is that Danny Lohner, who has worked with bands such as Tool, Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle, plays bass on all but two tracks (Countdown and Season's Call) of this cd. Enough of the sheer mechanics of it though, and onto the music.
Jesus Christ is a beautiful opener, exploding with guitars, drums, and (the only track that i've noticed it on) piano. The lyrics are open-ended, but they seem to come from the perspective of one of Jesus' followers whom he was crucified with, as the lyrics go "Jesus Christ, i believe you, The deepest trust, i wont leave you, They call me crazy - but it wont matter, And death wont change me - not ever". This song, along with Dolly, are the only songs on the album that are completely in english. This song gives the album a sort of epic feel to it, and it hints to you what to expect. However, things take a turn when we get to the next track, Countdown. This song is a hard rock song to the core, with a heavy guitar opener, a sort of mellow verse followed by powerful chorus. The version on the album is in both english and japanese, however, there is an all english version floating around the internet if you're lucky enough to find it. The next track, Made in Heaven, keeps up the trend of hard rock songs. It opens with a nice bass and drum riff before going into the heavy guitars. This song stays heavy throughout, no mellow breaks here. The lyrics perhaps take a stabbing view at organized religion, "Are you worried, baby? Wont you hear the word? I will guide you forward, come here. I want your blood, give it to me, I taste your cells, instinctively, Come, Drink my blood, Lose all reason, Out of control, instinctively, Light the fire of desire, He awaits sweet depravity, haha!"
Now for Kaz's section of the cd. I Can Feel starts off with a synth-guitar riff very reminiscent of Orgy
. This is the first mellow song off the cd, it's beautifully constructed and stirs up the emotions that it sets out to. The next track might be the most well known off this cd, as its now being used as the opening song for the anime Blood +. Season's Call starts off with some echoy guitar effects before exploding into a phaser induced symphony of guitars, bass and drums. The verse takes things down a bit before going into the powerful, japanese sung chorus. The only english line in the chorus is the end where Hyde sings "because i always feel you in me", a line which would make any female listener melt in their seat. Overall, an amazing song. Next is the title track, which starts off with a full on echo lead guitar riff before the drums kick in and the song sets off. This song is in the middle when it comes to it being heavy or soft. The instruments provide more atmosphere instead of knocking you over, but its definitely not easy listening. Hyde's vocals soar throughout the song, showcasing his talent. The next song, Dolly, has more of an industrial, Marilyn Manson-ish feel to it. It's dark, with the lyrics concerning technology defying God with A.I. and cloning.
For Hyde's final two songs, he goes for a mellower, more pop-ish sound. Perfect Moment is, in my opinion, the most mellow song on the cd. It creates a beautiful atmosphere with Hyde singing over the background music. Overall, a beautiful song. Next is Mission, which is an alternative, Goo Goo Dolls sounding upbeat song. We're introduced with an acoustic guitar riff, before Hyde comes in with the lyrics "Come and dance with me". The song's lyrics paint a portrait of a war-free world "Where music will guide us, guitars instead of guns". The song's upbeat feel makes it an alt. rock masterpiece.
Now for the album's closer, It's Sad. This songs delivers on the heavyness that has built up throughout the cd and, like all good album closers, leaves you wanting more. The lyrics take sort of an outside look at the human race and what we've done to the world, as the lyrics state "What right have we to kill? Full of conceit, The worst creatures in history, The ground will find some peace when we're gone, It's sad". In the middle of the song there's a little break where a jury sentence is read over the thrashing guitars and drums "A verdict has been reached. The court finds the defendant guilty", leading into a prechorus and then to the final chorus. Hyde screams out the song's title before the song ends and we're given about 10 seconds of feedback before dead silence. All in all, a great closer for an amazing album.
If you're new to the Jrock genre, this album makes for a fantastic gateway into a whole new world of music. Even if you're not looking into the Jrock scene, you're likely to find many likable songs on here. It's heavy enough to mosh to, and diverse enough that you never get bored, and the songs stick with you long after the music's over. I fully recommend any Hyde or L'Arc~en~Ciel album to anyone looking for some fresh air within their music collection.