Review Summary: Sadistic Mystery Restoration
For the past 13 years, Ling Tosite Sigure has been quite an intriguing band. Fleshing out their post-hardcore roots with elements from indie rock, progressive rock, and shoegaze, the power trio has a way of stretching their sound to the limit despite their small numbers. Ling Tosite Sigure has been progressively evolving their sound. It always has been reinvention after reinvention for each album released. From the rawness and the high-velocity of #4
; the well-crafted INSPIRATION IS DEAD
and Just A Moment
; the experimental Still a Sigure Virgin
; and the aggressive, math-infused I’mperfect
, the group has made records that records aren’t weak by any stretch, including the side project of the mastermind Tooru ‘TK’ Kitajima, named TK, from Ling Tosite Sigure.
I find the anticipation of the newest Ling Tosite Sigure to be filled with both excitement and consternation. Coupled with the fact that the latest efforts of TK (for both the main and the side project) were not as fresh compared to their antecedents and often filled with recycled vocal melodies and unsounding song structures, making it feel as if he is sluggishly reaching his own creative exhaustion. With this, it’s also exciting to hope that Ling Tosite Sigure might take an unexpected turn for their newest album, but the premise of said release came from the single “DIE meets HARD,” which is an unabashedly commercialized track. While it has salvageable qualities, it’s far from Ling Tosite Sigure at their best.
TK, once more, has proven that his magic is still lingering within him, although the approach for #5
is different. Unlike the constant re-innovation that happened previously, #5
is primarily old ideas. The best of the pieces from what have been created previously are hand-picked, rearranged, and infused with TK’s last of his remaining magic.
It’s obvious at this point that Ling Tosite Sigure would put an explosive opener just like the rest of their discography. The track “Ultra Overcorrection” is equivalent to an impact of Rocket-Propelled Grenade. It’s powerfully packed with a sudden, expansively loud instrumental from every member of the group; a reminder that, even after 5 consistent albums, they are still at the top of their game.
Ling Tosite Sigure is indeed an all-star lineup; each of the band members is outstandingly skilled in their respective instruments. Drummer Pierre Nakano often pounds unpredictable and complicated rhythm over the melodic and distorted bassline of Miyoko ‘345’ Nakamura, all while TK is showing massive amount of action with his guitars, switching between atmospheric play, slick arpeggios, and ice-cold riffs at breakneck pace; he consistently does it throughout the albums while also unleashing his iconic shrieks. TK’s excellence in his guitar skills is not only applied to the electric guitar. The acoustic-driven “Serial Number of Turbo” is a meticulous piece of work where TK fleshes out his softer side by utilizing his falsetto.
Ling Tosite Sigure’s signature dueling vocals are also the highlight of #5
as the track “Chocolate Passion” stands out as the song with the catchiest chorus in #5
. The back-and-forth vocal exchange between TK and 357 over a crispy drumming by Pierre is as addictive, sweet, and colorful as a bag of Skittles. On the progressive side, “Ten to ten” and “t/t” are loaded springs. They have a gradual shift in tempo and chords until they unload their packs of punch.
is yet another consistent ride from Ling Tosite Sigure. They always manage to release another album that doesn’t overstay its welcome, all thanks to its fitting length and seamless flow. The journey of Ling Tosite Sigure seems to be reaching its starting point again. If #4
is an embodiment of the emotions of their youth, #5
is a successful attempt to relive those moments, re-creating and refining them in the process. While it’s not in the slightest bit close to being the best of Ling Tosite Sigure, #5
somehow ended up to be as exciting as their previous works.