Review Summary: Extravagance and elegance.
It’s really not surprising at all that with his charismatic stage persona, work ethic, powerful vocals, superb instrumental capability and his obvious talent for composition that Gackt Camui managed to launch himself into superstardom in his home country. If his brief tenure with Malice Mizer showed the world anything about him, it was that he is not afraid to completely absorb himself in the extravagance of art. While his brief role in Malice Mizer gives a good look at his massive vocal capabilities and his ability to completely capture the attention of crowds with his stage presence, it’s his solo career in which his full musical talents are on display.
With Mizerable, Gackt firmly established his worth. When looking at how large and immersive his final outing with Malice Mizer: Merveilles is, it’s strange to think that Gackt began his solo career with a small four track EP. But for its small stature, it sure has a lot to offer. In terms of style, it’s not as overtly flamboyant as his work with Malice Mizer, but the name of the game certainly still remains go big or go home for Gackt. The songs are layered and artsy; the sound is signature of what Gackt would become famous for, which would become something of a double edged sword further down the road, though that is beside the point.
While Gackt’s composition style isn’t anything ground breaking, it is certainly breath taking. Gackt’s love for the violin and his talent for piano is prevalent throughout the EP, especially on the instrumental movement “Story
” where they work in a kind of tag-team partnership that gradually becomes more and more intimate as thunder booms in the background. Gackt’s compositions work like paintings on Mizerable, particularly on “Story
” which seems to flow almost like the sunlight gradually breaking through a storm.
His compositional talents for more straight forward forms is what the other three tracks explore, but each in a different way to the last. His love for epic power ballads obviously never went anywhere after his departure from Malice Mizer, since the title track which kicks everything off is every bit as extravagant as expected. Yet, everything about the way this track is constructed is very elegant and sensible. Guitars drive the song, but cleverly Gackt has opted for the lead instrument to be a powerful violin. These flamboyant verses are contrasted with a sparse and fantastic synth bridge and the song is orchestrated by Gackt’s royal larynx.
” is a delicate acoustic ballad that gradually gains intensity through Gackt’s vocal delivery as it progresses. Gackt and his musicians harness this song's simplicity remarkably, its progression blooms subtly but entrancingly, which is probably where Gackt’s gift for holding his audience lies, in this case as listeners. Cleverly, the two stylistic ideas that are the backbones of these two tracks are married with the album’s closer “Lapis ~Prologue~
”. The flourishes of the piano and the mourning of the violins create one of the most photo-realistic paintings on the EP, foreshadowing the path ahead for Gackt’s inspiring career.
Mizerable manages to be exactly what should have been expected, but far better than it had any right to be for a four-track EP, considering only scraps of Gackt’s prowess for music were really made known before he decided to go his own way. The artsy brand of rock and modern classical that Gackt seduces on Mizerable and showcases in such variety would go on to define the majority of his musical career and is a testament to his capabilities and the stardom he’s achieved. Rather than being anything pretentious or self-absorbed, Mizerable has an almost universal quality; Gackt shows a close relationship with his audience and his compositions combined with his presence behind the microphone make Mizerable a true gem.