Review Summary: A very young BUCK-TICK unknowingly create a monster.
BUCK-TICK have to be one of the most intriguing bands that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. I'm struggling to write this because I have absolutely no idea how to explain why this is. I mean... nearly all of their material is way out of my comfort zone, especially this album. But this album is oh so very fascinating.
If by some miracle of a chance you've heard of these guys, chances are you'll have only really given 13kai wa Gekkou, Six/nine, Darker than Darkness or Kurutta Taiyou a chance. This album sounds pretty much nothing like any of those. It's far more straight forward, but at the same time, it's a little stranger. Back when BUCK-TICK were nothing more special than an up and coming visual-kei group, their style was a little naive. This album is stuck between this sound and the classic BUCK-TICK golden era that was to follow in the 90's. Because of this, there's isn't anything else quite like it in their enormous discography quite as bizarre as it. Although it's a definite progression of their first two albums, it's not quite a cornerstone for their sound, that album would be Aku no Hana.
The album starts with a short intro track called "FRAGILE ARTICLE," a brief affair reminiscent of a carnival that does absolutely nothing to explain what exactly it is you're about to hear, because you're about to hear a lot of things. In context, I suppose it's actually quite fitting, but it's by no means thematic. There is no one song on SEVENTH HEAVEN that can be used to explain it because it's a huge melting pot of rough ideas and ambitions. That's the attractive thing about this album, how ambitious BUCK-TICK sounded back then.
"ORIENTAL LOVE STORY," the undoubted standout of the album, is the earliest sign of Atsushi Sakurai's gorgeously vivid lyricism and the passionate "VICTIMS OF LOVE" is exactly the kind of thing BUCK-TICK are famous for. "DESPERATE GIRL" is one of the many songs on the album that serves as the budding of what BUCK-TICK would eventually refine to become the sound that they're famous for while "CASTLE IN THE AIR" is probably one of the more interesting pieces the band has ever written and is something they never really tried again. Another song that appears on the album similarly experimental is "CAPSULE TEARS -PLASTIC SYNDROME III." These two songs are very different to anything else you will hear in their massive selection of songs. In songs like "...IN HEAVEN..." and especially the title track, is the strange, bouncy and out-dated sounding elements and song writing that BUCK-TICK would almost immediately grow out of in their following albums.
One of SEVENTH HEAVEN's strong points is that it isn't too long or too short. Length is one of BUCK-TICK's biggest turn-offs in most cases. Their tendency to include 15 songs and over an hour of their peculiar brand of post-punk and gothic rock (dubbed Dark-wave) can be a real strain on the attention span of most sane people. SEVENTH HEAVEN however, is absolutely perfect, nothing goes on for longer than it should and all of their little assorted experiments are compacted into 10 absorb-able morsels.
With all this in mind, it's probably fair enough to say that SEVENTH HEAVEN is like a scrapbook of sorts. There's so many different things going on, some things they tried and decided not to do again, remnants of their roots that they'd eventually grow out of and so many little sketches that eventually made them legends. Granted, it's a very difficult album, but if you can approach it expecting nothing, you'll be blown away with what you find. SEVENTH HEAVEN is never what you expect, no matter how many times you come back to it. By absolutely no means the bands best effort, it's far too fragmented to ever be considered as such, but still a marvel of a record from a stellar group continuing to impress some 26 years later.