Review Summary: Grant my wish to no longer be lonely.
To shower oneself inside the catacombs could imply that said person is cleansing away whatever concerns he/she might bear. This refuge that the figure has discovered is able to accept basically anybody regardless of discrimination, crimes, or even a sudden urge to binge-watch the second and third seasons of The Boondocks
. Let's take an unnamed young woman for instance: she's been experiencing her own personal demons prior to the moment she obtained robotic enhancements. Quite some time before the cyborg lifestyle, she was ostracized by fellow peers and subjected to beatings via her family for making an attempt to stand out amongst the crowd; because God forbid folks out there aspire to be different. The gal was tossed and turned around during a great portion of her childhood, and - feeling hesitant to lash out against her relatives - eventually decided to abandon home while taking a CD with her in the process. Months passed as the girl sought a welcoming ossuary, created by the higher-ups who weren't treated much better than their newest visitor. Upon request, they amplified the chick's body utilizing mechanical parts that had the ability to make her feel better about herself. To add to that, throughout the years, the record she had on her for the entirety" This wouldn't be made possible if not for a certain J-Rock band whose steadiness is nothing to scoff at in the slightest. The music act that helped the unspecified girl withstand the hardships building up within her existence was Buck-Tick
Usually credited as one of the founders of the visual-kei movement, Japanese rock ensemble Buck-Tick hail from Fujioka, Gunma and have made a name for themselves as far back as the year 1983. Led by galactic ringmaster Atsushi Sakurai, these guys went on to establish an illustrious career that would especially make a few of their contemporaries grow envious. Nineteen full-length offerings so far were churned out at the time of this writing, many of which have proven to be dissimilar from one another in certain ways while still carrying the trademark B-T flavor. Over the course of their history, the troupe's music has shifted in direction as well as undergone a sense of evolution, having flirted with sounds such as punk, Gothic, industrial, and full-fledged alternative; but what makes Buck-Tick noteworthy in this regard is how true to their roots they are. Combined with the extra precautions they keep in mind whilst boasting discrete moods and styles, they're an outfit who don't understand the concept of stagnation if nothing else. The following review revolves around the band's eleventh LP released in 2000.
Entitled One Life, One Death
, the record contains the harsh, deliberate electronic rock motif that Darker Than Darkness
introduced and takes it to a rational progression. Keyboards, manipulation, and a decent quantum of sampling can be heard frequently throughout this album's runtime, though the effort is undeniably without its guitar showmanship and Sakurai's rich baritone vocals. Including a total of 10 tracks, Buck-Tick's eleventh heaven is adept at moderate pacing: most tracks feel shorter than they actually are with only a few slog-inducing areas. "Baby, I Want You." is an acceptable opener housing distorted noise, listener-friendly harmonies, and the song itself paints dark imagery in the sense that somebody so beautiful drips not water, instead blood. One Life, One Death
's first two tunes are both fine, though they're merely on the tracklist to function as a sort of base, thereby being the weakest numbers. It's not until the immediate catchiness of "Glamorous" where the album receives an upgrade in quality, for a lot of the tracks following that one range from simply good to pure bliss. Similar to what the reviewer stated a little earlier, Buck-Tick's 2000 crystal is smooth sailing from here. The manner in which industrial, electronic, and driving rock atmospheres collide is pleasurable enough to warrant multiple adventures in terms of what One Life
has got on display; then again, one could say the same for Buck-Tick's other additions to their discography in general. They are just that
persistent and fun to get into.
As far as the overall subject matter goes, this collection's lyrics are commandeered by Atsushi Sakurai himself and guitarist Hisashi Imai. Thematically speaking, sexual nuances and relatively scientific connotations are rampant. Whether it be the blatant titillation of "Sapphire" ("In the circle of the moon"
/"Your breasts so pale in the moonlight
") or cloning sheep a la female domestic animal Dolly on "Cyborg Dolly: Sora-mimi: Phantom", the lyricism that One Life
possesses is a particularly intriguing read. While the topics aren't amazing alone by any stretch, it is fortunately apparent that Imai and Sakurai are talented wordsmiths about as much as they are composers. Its sleeper status notwithstanding, "Check Up" deals with how Imai believes that soldiers are modern and kings tend to be pretty old-fashioned. In turn, something such as this makes me ponder if troopers have serious access to advanced technology compared to sovereigns who seem content riding limp horses. In the main, the big lyrical picture - though neither varied nor perfect by any means - is salvageable and helps out the songwriting and instrumental work.
Instrumentation is another aspect in which One Life, One Death
does not leave unnoticed. From the jangling guitar chords to the deep effects used to the record's advantage, it's not the band's strongest album musically, although to say that it's one of Buck-Tick's most accessible affairs wouldn't be wrong. It certainly does come equipped with infectious chorus sections and sexy bass lines for starters, and frontman Sakurai's alluring vocal deliveries are present, too. The obvious highlights in the musicianship department are the likes of "Megami," "Sapphire," and "Flame", all three of these songs just so happen to be the entourage putting their melodic side at the forefront. "Cain" is another song that's up there with the best of them taking into consideration the method of amalgamating an anthemic vibe with harmonious guitar leads and tight drumming via Toll Yagami. The members of Buck-Tick have neat chemistry together and do throw in the occasional mind-blowing moment; the solo implemented in the aforementioned "Cain" is nothing short of delicious. Sadly, the production values are what weaken the record since mixer Hitoshi Hiruma can't decide if he wants to augment the technological nature of this plate or its rock-esque personality, resulting in an inconsistent audio job that slightly diminishes the awesome factor.
Putting aside the production hiccups and a rather unremarkable beginning, One Life, One Death
is an otherwise grand recording with plenty of enjoyment to be had. If anything, the album demonstrates fine enough that the J-Rock quintet have yet to concoct a bad album or an offering that can be deemed simply as decent. Buck-Tick know their stuff and continue to stand as an amusing team well into today. They won't ever go away anytime soon.
- Glamorous -Fluxus-