Review Summary: Unnatural thinking in the most natural manner.
Japan must love the odd and unnatural, because so many bands hailing from that country seem to have an addiction to smashing sounds together into quirky yet memorable tunes. In stark contrast lies the western countries that seem to love moderation in both visual style and sound. At least for the most part (ignoring the infamous glam rock of the 80s). The visual kei movement in Japan exemplifies this. Big in sound and image, the bands under this genre flag try to be big in any way possible. Visual kei pioneers Luna Sea takes all these things to the next level. Their alt rock sound is enhanced by forays into pretty much every sound imaginable, resulting in something virtually progressive and entrancing at that.
opens with the track “Jesus” and immediately displays the band’s talent for fusing a multitude of sounds into one cohesive rock song. The opening drum beat is burly and powerful, while the first guitar riff sounds like it could have been at home on a metal record. Once the verse ends, it’s surprising how unsurprising
the sparkly clean and poppy chorus flows in. Despite the differences between the abrasive verse and soaring chorus, Luna Sea makes it sound like the only thing they could have possibly done with the song. Many of the songs follow this structure of forging sounds in a cohesive manner previously believed impossible.
In stark contrast to the opening track, “Believe” is almost a power ballad, albeit with conversely aggressive drumming. Straight forward acoustic strings become the name of the game on “Recall”, yet there’s still so much going on in the mix that it doesn’t feel as laid back and relaxed as it could have (which is by no means a bad thing, just more proof of how Luna Sea morphs expectation with their sound). “Anubis” flirts with pop rock early on, in a rather high octane way. Bass riffs abound on “Lastly” and take much of the spotlight, despite the entrancing guitar leads abounding with all kinds of colorful effects. Strangely, many of the softer and slower songs appear in the first half of the album, rather than the back half as I might have expected. Two of the faster tracks, “Steal” and “Lamentable”, kick the energy up a notch towards an expected big finish. Sadly the former track is the only clear place where Luna Sea’s crazed sound meshing fails as the quirky oddness of the intro disrupts the flow of the album a bit. The closer sends the album out on a high note though with catchiness, energy, and interesting instrumentation in abundance.
The instruments on Eden
almost mechanically share an equal number of standout moments. The drums are strongly mixed and powerfully drive the album at just the right pace. The bass chooses not to remain a background instrument alone, and remains clear and audible throughout. Many interesting riffs appear and it always adds a strong, warm low end as needed. The guitars are frantic in the number of sounds they bring forth. The softer tracks feature gorgeous acoustic sections that sooth and the faster riffs straddle the line between metal, rock, and punk in seemingly random occurence. Guitar leads soar, along with a handful of nice solos. The vocal performance isn’t terribly varied, but well performed. Vocalist Ryuichi’s voice soars and he knows how to craft a catchy chorus. The lyrics are all in Japanese, which means that an English listener likely won’t find anything relatable in Ryuichi’s wordcraft without a Google search, but the vocal performance doesn’t suffer from that.
proves to be a paradise for visual kei rock. Influences are thrown together with wild abandon, but the flow is nearly perfect. More traditional musicians could take lessons here in how to work in new sounds creatively while retaining cohesiveness. Luna Sea was certainly on to something with this album and earned the reputation they now have in Japanese rock culture.