Crossfaith

The Artificial Theory For The Dramatic Beauty

Written by: BL on 30/06/2009 23:34:29

Being Asian myself I guess it must be something in my genes that draws me to check out music from the Far East every so often. A young band with each member no older than 19, it's somewhat impressive that they seem to have found some footing in the Japanese underground scene after securing a deal with Zestone Records and now putting out this debut typically Asian named record (they always sound melodramatic, then stuck through a direct translator from Japanese to English). I have a cautious approach when it comes to these Asian bands trying to embrace the scene of their peers from across the Pacific, indeed in this case a far more recent one - synthesizer hardcore screamo.

The synths actually come across more of a mix of Enter Shikari style techno melodies (Like the start of "Mirrors" and during "Blue") to video game style ones (the intro to "Voice"). Their keyboardist Teru is perhaps the band's biggest asset, doing a superb job of adding extra harmonies or backing ambient melodies that would otherwise leave a song fairly generic. Case in point - the dazzling but short little keyboard run on "Fiction In Hope" really left me wanting to hear even more, and the usually pointless intro/interlude tracks here are actually a good showcase of his craft while maintaining an oriental flavour. This guy is putting a lot of the current crop of keyboardists in synthesizer screamo bands really to shame. It was a good choice actually production-wise to have left the keyboards so prominent in the recording, really competing for centre stage in the sound.

Looking at the rest of the band, vocalist Koie has a rather sharp scream that has a fairly accomplished mould, sounding both competent in his metalcore style screams to his lower guttural growls. Clean vocals that pop up on the disappointing "K" could use a lot of work, but its still only early days for him and this band. All the lyrics, the ones I could make out, are in English and only at brief moments does his strong Japanese accent shine through (not that its even a bad thing). The guitar work is left solely to Kazuki, and on the whole he doesn't do a bad job. But stylistically we've heard it all before: melodeath riffs, galloping rhythms, breakdowns, horror chords, the whole lot. Perhaps a second guitarist would be able to complement him in the future to add a bit more ambition to the mix, in particularly the more melodic side. His dissonant riffs works surprisingly well though with the keyboards doing a big job of supporting and the bare production certainly gives them a raw edge. Elsewhere the drumming from Tatsu desperately needs more production though to amplify the tone and volume to keep up with the guitars (perhaps with the exception of the excellent "Voice" where the double bass seem to have a lot more power for some reason), and Hiroki's bass guitar playing is pretty much like every other band of this kind (where is it?).

I've highlighted the best tracks (though its worth hearing the 3 interludes too), and they're good, catchy, and fairly engaging songs. Overall though I feel that there is enough potential in these 8 tracks for this band to build on. But considering its usually impossibly difficult to break into the western music scene, these guys will have to get the heads down and work hard if they are to make any impression beyond Japan and the odd genre enthusiast/Asian music critic.

7

Download: Blue, Fiction In Hope, Voice
For the fans of: Enter Shikari, The Devil Wears Prada, Myproof
Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.04.2009
Zestone Records

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