Gackt
MARS


4.5
superb

Review

by discovolante USER (83 Reviews)
April 22nd, 2012 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A damn near perfect debut album from one of Japan's biggest stars.

If you know you're Japanese pop culture, then you obviously know of Gackt. The 38-going-on-39-year-old singer made a mark for himself in the music industry with his smooth singing style, and his sheer musical talent (he's known to play guitar, piano, bass, drums, trombone, etc). He got his first break as the second vocalist in the legendary visual kei band, Malice Mizer, before embarking on his own solo career. Since then, he released 7 critically acclaimed records, a few dozen singles, and became one of Japan's signature solo stars. In 2000, right when he was first becoming a huge phenomenon, Gackt released his debut album, "Mars", which is one of his most critically acclaimed and successful albums to date. And with the diversity of the album, it's not hard to see why various listeners enjoyed it so much.

The album starts off with the spacey track, "Asrun Dream", which features Gackt's signature vocals as the main drive, with various progressions inside the track. A damn good introduction track that introduces the overall style of the album to the listener head-on. The next track is the gloomy, yet inspiring track, "Emu ~For My Dear~", which is one of two tracks dedicated to the singer's fallen friend, Kami, of Malice Mizer. The track's a great memorial to an equally talented musician, and to a deceased friend overall. A moving track, indeed. The next track, "U+K", is the final memorial to Kami, and is a lot more of an upbeat track. Another very good track that works as a great opposite for the more serious "Emu" track, and closes the memorial tracks for Kami. The next track, "Vanilla", is a pop track that is done superbly well, with a bizarre and unique salsa-ska-pop mixture. A unique mainstream track that is approached and executed perfectly. The next two tracks, "Freesia", are ambient like tracks that put the listeners in a dreamlike state, and mostly work as an extended introduction for the next full track, "Illness Illusion". A very effective interlude, and works very well with "Illness Illusion".

"Illness Illusion", itself, however, is a bizarre track that some would even say is a drawback to Malice Mizer's style of Victorian gothic music, and starts off with Gackt's voice being made to be high pitched, as it slowly evolves to its normal powerful tone. Probably the most anti-pop track on the album, and it is a nice breakaway track from the rather mainstream feel of the album. The next track, "Mirror", brings the album back to mainstream grounds, but is arguably one of the most addictive and effective tracks on the album. It features a powerful, Celtic-like sound, and is just an overall solid piece of mainstream music executed perfectly, similar to "Vanilla". The next track, "Dears", is a track that is centered around a fairy tale like sound, with a dreamy and child-like aura attached to it. "Oasis" is arguably the most powerful track on the album, as it features an intergalactic sound that is both anti and pro mainstream. The strong vocals by Gackt are made as evident on this single track than anywhere else on the album. The album then closes with "Kono Daremo Inai Heya de", which is a rather touching track that focuses entirely on a progressive pop sound, with the signature "Mars" rock bite still attached to it. A fitting closing for such a legendary debut.

Overall, the album manages to create a type of environment that is both spacey and experimental (to some extent). The only thing keeping the album from absolute perfection is the fact that the album, for the most part, bleeds mainstream pop rock. It doesn't make the album an unpleasant experience by any means (rather, the exact opposite), it just makes the album a bit stale after a few listens. However, with the powerful voice of Gackt, and the superb layout of many tracks, the album is far from being a complete bore of a listen. So, if you are a fan of rock that has sort of a theme to it and experiments with various styles, without losing its collective focus as an album, then check this out. Highly recommended to listeners of all ages.



Recent reviews by this author
Uri Gagarn Souzou no SanbutsuPre-School Peace Pact
Dragon Ash Mustang!Simi Lab Page 1: Anatomy of Insane
Supercar OOKeah!!Sex Machineguns Made in Japan
user ratings (27)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ikarus14
April 22nd 2012


564 Comments


Hold on! I know this band only if I am Japanese pop culture?

... the fuck!

crossparallel
November 16th 2013


6 Comments


I always found Gackt's music somewhat faceless but "Illness Illusion" is just great, it transports me
some wonderful wicked place in my mind. "Vanilla" is also damn catchy, it surely makes it to my top
ten list of unashamedly poppy songs that make you want to dance (in the stupidest way, too, like Gackt
on the video).

CalculatingInfinity
March 10th 2015


2217 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Had to bump this, earned my 5 finally.

Jasdevi087
March 12th 2015


1313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good job Gackt, you really deserved Cal's 5.



Same can't be said for Mana and his shitty Moi Dix Mois project.

Digging: Gackt - Rebirth

CalculatingInfinity
March 12th 2015


2217 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Ha ha, I'd probably give their albums straight 2.5-2's



Also Jas check Mizerable so you can get hit hard with violin feels on the final track ;-;. I'd 5 the thing if it was longer.

Jasdevi087
March 13th 2015


1313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Need to get on to all his other stuff.



Ah well, at least Mana is a good fashion designer. But unless he's gonna start using Moi Dix Mois to make something decent, he should just stick to that.

CalculatingInfinity
March 13th 2015


2217 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Honestly Mars and Mizerable are the best in the discography by a country mile, he got far more into the Rock side as his career went on and lost most of the songwriting ability and beauty that made him special. Got more recycled and generic too. In my opinion the only other albums worth checking out minus those two are Crescent and Re:Born.

Vorpax
April 17th 2015


5 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Moon, Rebirth, Crescent, check everything. Pretty fucking amazing in my opinion.

Digging: Gackt - DIABOLOS

CalculatingInfinity
April 17th 2015


2217 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I agree with Rebirth now I've revisited it, so I retract my statement to Rebirth and Crescent.

Jasdevi087
April 18th 2015


1313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Vorpax, you're a bit late there, I already have.



@CalculatingInfinity, Moon wasn't actually that bad, neither was Love Letter but it was kinda disappointing and transparent. Diabolos and Re:Born actually kinda suck though, I can see my rating dropping on the latter fast.

CalculatingInfinity
April 18th 2015


2217 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

A 3 isn't bad, I'd call a 2.5 having alot of problems but have elements that at least make it competent and 2 is bad. My Re:Born rating dropped from a 4 to a 3 so it will probably drop. I'd probably drop Diabolos if I listened again.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy