Review Summary: Kirari wraps itself into a dazzling cocoon of elegance and energy, whilst dealing with very little issues.
When you begin to think about it, female-fronted bands are about as familiar as the bands who would – nine times out of ten – contain guys acting as the frontman. About a good chunk of the women commandeering can be either a part of an outfit most associated with the likes of Gothic or symphonic metal, or... let's say any band that can be indisputably compared to Flyleaf
or even Paramore
. One's mightiest gripe regarding the idea to have a woman as the lead vocalist could be said female's sex appeal, thereby dubbing thee 'Ms/Mrs. Fanservice'. But whether or not this is all too serious enough to warrant cryfoul really doesn't matter; it's got more to do with the frontwoman's talents; nice examples of this would be Cristina Scabbia, Dominique Leroni Persi, and Sabine Scherer.
This is where Dazzle Vision
, a Japanese rock band, marks their territory. They are a group managed by Maiko, a woman with the fascinating power to alternate between a melodic, sweet-sounding voice and death growls; the latter at times will startle just about anybody – at least those who never saw it coming. This outfit was instituted back in 2003, with Dazzle Vision's one goal in mind being as follows: children who – as they grow up – bear the desire to establish a wondrous world with thoughts they had when younger. A bit spellbinding, yet also bare bones. Throughout their 'screamo-pop'-esque career, they've released six full-length albums – the band's latest, Final Attack
, was issued on March 7, 2014.
In 2011, this explosive quartet came packing with a fifth CD, which proceeded to shapeshift into Kirari
. Put on the market for June 3rd, the recording incorporated 12 tracks which showcase how much the band has changed themselves over the years; luckily for the most subconscious of Dazzle Vision lovers, the offering isn't as flagrant with this as its inheritor. Much of what you've come to expect from the group is still present throughout Kirari
, though merely evolved. In actuality, this album right here is all of the band's previous releases smashed into a blender; Kirari
, for instance, contains the softer tone which ensnared Crystal Children
, and some of the heaviness built within both Origin of Dazzle
and Camellia Japonica
The album opens up with its title track, a gut-wrenching power ballad enhanced by Maiko's gorgeous voice and tight musicianship, specially if you pay attention to guitarists John and Takuro – with said bass player (Takuro) being the co-founder of Dazzle Vision, and Maiko's brother. From there, Kirari
flip-flops betwixt possessing meaty alternative and thrash vibes, as well as containing the more dance-able songs (“Miss Cinderella 2”). The character surrounding the album can be seen as both good AND bad traces of sundry. While the differing atmosphere is largely grand – look no further than “Zero” and “Barabara-u” - there are those occurrences where Kirari
can get messy (looking at you, “Like I'm Not Real”). Broadly speaking, much of the record's aura does serve as quite the remedy, on the other hand.
Production-wise, the craftsmanship that swims underneath Kirari
is not only crunchy, it is very passionate as well. Half the time, the audibility of the bass – as heard during “Reason” - is rather well on its own, and has the potential to make or break the record's charm, depending on the detractor or casual music spectator. The mixing also highlights Maiko's vocal performance almost perfectly, thereby making Dazzle Vision's fifth full-length effort out to be some kind of shining beast. However, the album is not invincible in this department, for there are circumstances where Kirari
starts to become a little too overwhelming; the answer can more or less be dug up in “One for All, All for One”. Still, the quality helps the band's musicianship more than totally functioning as a hindrance.
The instrumentation displayed on Kirari
behaves as a heavenly body, if you will. Haru's drumming is clear and hard-hitting, as he never seems to fumble with the cymbals. John and Takuro make for some cool songwriters, utilizing their riffs and notes immensely on a number of tracks. Occasionally, the two don't appear to experiment with anything else they could add to their repertoire; in the end, be that as it may, their contributions to the album and Dazzle Vision in general are nothing short of excellent. Lead singer Maiko, like I mentioned earlier, switches between pleasant-sounding vocals and harsher screams as much as a gymnast changes the rate of his sprinting. Barring minor anomalies, she doesn't slow her bandmates down and – to an extent – is what makes the band enjoyable to start out with.
Taking everything into account, Kirari
shivers with elegance and vigor. Sure, there are bound to be obstacles in the way of the outfit achieving perfection or outright invulnerability, but with an album which stresses the importance of balance and amazing (if somewhat mind-numbing) coordination, this is not a problem. Now here's my piece of advice to you, to wrap up the review: don't bother with Final Attack