Lamiel - Zekuu

review - 10.03.2008 08:00

Lamiel's final work underscores their successful career with some of their greatest songs.

Zekuu, released in 2000, is the last work of the disbanded but still well remembered band Lamiel. It is different from other releases in that all the songs are written by Akira (although the last song is a collaboration with guitarist Iori), since the second main composer aie had left the band some time prior. However, this didn't have any negative effects on the release, and this maxi-single shows the old-school Nagoya kei style at its best.

The title song starts with a typical sound for this band. The very first guitar notes and the distorted, distant and soothing voice of Yuina create a sinister atmosphere, which continues throughout the whole verse. Although mostly harmonious, the vocals at times are dissonant with the instrumental lines and with the backing vocals, making for an uneven, imperfect sound that hooks the listener. The bridge, however, gradually leads to an unexpected turn in mood, and the high-pitched vocals in the chorus create a fresh and catchy melody, though not exceeding the borders of the rather dark Nagoya style. There is also some sinister whispering and a short but impressive guitar solo embedded in the track, which ends rather abruptly.

The atmosphere of the first song continues unchanged to the next one - Dark. In fact, if one isn't listening attentively, one might not notice it’s a new song if it not for the marching intro. It is, however, quite different in that it is more disharmonious than Zekuu. The guitar and bass lines, as well as the vocals, have less elaborate melodies and are pretty repetitive. The song does have a special, melancholic Lamiel touch to it and is quite pleasant to listen to. However, it lacks originality somewhat and the "something" that usually captures attention and touches the listener in the best Lamiel songs, so it might be considered the weak link of the release.

The conclusion of the maxi-single is another great masterpiece, SS-"A", which starts with Yuina whispering sensually to simple drumming and guitar riffs. The song then becomes saturated by intense, breathtaking sound. It uses more major key, has more screaming and a different, uncommon structure. The uneven rhythms and changes in pace make it quite distinct from the other two works on the release. Notable are Hiderou's not too sophisticated, but strong and independent sounding bass lines. The song uses quite a few different voice effects, bringing in some variety without being over the top, and the whole strength of Yuina's voice is unveiled during several parts of the song. At the end, the song slowly fades away into silence, leaving a strong aftertaste and making for the perfect conclusion.

The whole release does not disappoint fans of the band and creates a perfect and consistent last release, full of Lamiel's trademark mysterious and melancholic atmosphere. It demonstrates Lamiel's progress, compared to their earlier works, and sums up three years of the bands' activity in some of their greatest songs.
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