Review Summary: A Tale of a Modern Classic J-pop Album
It might be almost impossible to reach the level of Yuki Kajiura’s influence towards a musical project named “Kalafina”. From obtaining the band members with immense talents, composing the music, and writing the tracks; it’s done all by herself. She is the mastermind of the sublime, noble-sounding album named “Seventh Heaven
”, a melting pot of genres that is heavily reliant on classical themes. Thusly, this record is J-pop music at its highest artistic peak.
is an anthology of stories where Kalafina band members act as the heroines with their own special characterizations, coming from their vocal prowess. The cast of Seventh Heaven
has their own special traits. Hikaru is a mezzo-soprano with a tender, light-hearted, yet firm voice. Keiko is a sultry and delicate alto. and Wakana is a soulful, energetic and soothing mezzo-soprano. Despite all the differences, their vocals are a constructive interference, intertwining to further enhance each other while constructing a near-perfect euphony. And of course, the level of perfection within this record can only be achieved with the otherworldly music production by Yuki Kajiura.
The tracks in this record are like chapters that branch into personalized tales from each member. The vocal specialty of Kalafina can be easily distinguished as the album goes by. Seventh Heaven
is structured to nurture the eclectic musical elements, to the point that it might take ages to describe. Even with an intimidating 67 minutes runtime, this record flows seamlessly. The tracks exist to stimulate various moods that are ever-changing throughout the album.
An ethereal sounding prelude, titled “Overture,” seeps in. It features the harpsichord and disembodied female voices, a mesmerizing soundscape that serves as a calm before the storm of the gothic and electro-industrial “Oblivious” and the energizing, danceable techno of “Love Come Down”. Seventh Heaven draws its influence from all over the world; there is Japanese folk-infused “Natsu no Ringo” and “A***a no Keshiki”, and also an Arabianesque “Serenato”. “Ongaku” and “Mata Kaze ga...” are the heavier songs with an upbeat tempo and guitar riffs that could fit on a metal album. The most prominent theme in Seventh Heaven
is its balladry; it consists of 5 ballads that are beautifully scattered across, without overwhelming the album with a melancholic mood. If I could choose the climax of the story of Seventh Heaven
, it would be “Sprinter”. It’s a symphonic rock song with where Kalafina sing in a lower intensity. Its intensity is increasing gradually along with the tempo of the music, then it crashes into a harmonious medley of sounds.
The lyrical themes within Seventh Heaven
is one of the best features and these ideas can be easily overlooked, especially for a western audience. The lyrics are filled with metaphors and romantic lines, while also being story-driven. Knowing the context of Seventh Heaven
is the cherry on top, but it almost seems unnecessary since Kalafina is able to transcend the language barrier with their powerful and highly emotional voices.
The finale of Seventh Heaven
is none other than its title track. It’s the song that erases all the misery and sorrow within the theme of the previous tracks. It’s a gentle and elegant epilogue of a happy ending, a satisfying conclusion of the story. Seventh Heaven
is a pop music at its finest, taking the best of talents and elevating them with most polished musical substances. And with Seventh Heaven
as a debut, another story unfolds.