review - 10.08.2008 08:00

RENTRER EN SOI's third full-length is a hard-hitting collection

At the peak of their heaviness, RENTRER EN SOI released their epic work THE BOTTOM OF CHAOS in the summer of 2007. The album was supported by four singles, and was more than a year in the making. The band was coached by the likes of Daisuke of the studs and Kyo from Dir en grey. The release marks their heaviest to date, and shows some definitive progress since the band's eponymous RENTRER EN SOI.

The album opens with a gorgeously aggressive track, I WAS DAMNED. The track is a tricky mix of downtuned guitars and loud, pissed off screaming, and it is overflowing with electronic effects. Vocalist Satsuki shows off his range of skills, which varies from intense, brutal shouts to harmonious screaming. His vocals are laced with a guitar and drum complement. The ominous and omnipresent bass, delivered by Ryo, is an effective binder for the entire track, and oscillating beats roll throughout the entire track. I WAS DAMNED is a solid opener to the album and sets an accurate tone for the remaining tracks in their edgier and softer incarnations alike. The second track, JUST MAD PAIN, is intense, but is unfortunately caged in sloppy composition. It opens with promising drum pounding; however, it is invaded by a misplaced acoustic overlay all too soon. The vocals, though skillful in every technical manner, seem a bit too rushed. The catchy chorus does the song a few favors, but in the end the track offers only a nice hook and a fleeting guitar solo, then slips back into the abyss of predictability.

To recover from the small slip up of JUST MAD PAIN, RENTRER EN SOI delivers a silky, smooth ballad next: Ushinawareta Fuukei no Yume. Employing a bluesy guitar with an overlapping piano, they set up a dreamy atmosphere, assisted by tasteful minimalist electronics that nicely match Satsuki's naturally flowing emotion. The track sets a strong mood and hangs on to it through a pleasant drift between slow, fast, soft and heavy; like an avalanche, it builds, sloping toward the song's sudden, appropriately empty clincher. After the abrupt stop, THE ABYSS OF DESPAIR quickly picks up with progressive opening scales and what initially appears to be mercifully tamed vocals. The restricted nature of the song slowly breaks its own bindings and abandons the plane of sanity. The bipolarity in the vocals throws listeners around, and everything is agitatedly driven forward by rolling drums. After a sudden cut in instrumentation, Satsuki stands alone in the spotlight, where his choppy yet smooth singing is featured prominently. As the song builds up through a lengthy introduction, it destroys itself like a firework and leaves charred remains of a once-mighty structure, the after-taste of which cannot be removed.

The fifth track is the outstandingly attractive THORNY RAIN BREAK. The song comes to life with an acoustic guitar duet, one guitar smooth and spicy, the other sharp and acidic. The track jerks back and forth between melancholic hard rock and brittle, surreal dreaminess; the sole constant, however, is the solid drum pattern marching the song purposefully forward. This song seamlessly blends heavy, downtuned guitars with a lofty harp and a cool, calm bass. As a perfect outro, the guitar duet returns before fading into silence. The soft fade gets shattered by the energy of Misshitsu to Kodoku ni Dokusareta Yuutsu. The former single, rerecorded, is more heavily layered and chaotic than before with an even stronger undercurrent of good versus evil. Sections of this track are deceptively smooth and soft, only to be ambushed by drums and guitars. Underneath the entire track, Ryo hides a smooth jazzy bass line while Satsuki spews uncontrolled, implacable screams. Every part of Misshitsu is heavy, retreating only in the face of another loaded guitar riff or destructive drum fill. After pounding drums kick the track out, a slow electronic intro heralds MISERY LOVES POISONOUS BLUE. There is a certain degree of hopefulness in this track, a pain-wrought optimism, which reminds of recent songs from D'espairsRay. The melodies in this track are more distinctive than their predecessors, but the heaviness from constant bass rolling and cymbal crashing is still ever-present. To offset the messy, wild and jarring atmosphere of Misshitsu, MISERY LOVES POISONOUS BLUE has beautiful layering of vocals, bluesy guitars and chic electronics.

AMONGST FOOLISH ENEMIES is another single previously released single that has been rerecorded for the album. With the rerecording, AMONGST FOOLISH ENEMIES shows an even greater diversity, and there are smoother transitions between the screaming, garbled English and the more melodic singing. The aggressive cycle is assisted by a strong background by Mika. His drumming is as various as the singing, with some hard hitting bass-crash patterns, and then some low pounding on the toms, only to conclude the song abruptly with a quick 'thump thump thump.' The next track can be compared with the former only in emotion. Shinwa, a rerecording of an earlier RENTRER EN SOI track, is a tender piano-and-vocal duet. The song makes for a smooth and dramatic interlude from the aggressive tracking; synthesized symphonic backgrounds and a lone piano accompany the vocals in a track which almost gloats over the singer's rich voice. As the song reaches its climax, the band enters in true heavy metal ballad style, while Takumi and Mika create the expertly composed classic sound. Shinwa ends as it began; the closing notes are of a soft, fading piano.

The third to last track, TO INFINITY, still shows growth from the album. The song enters with a loud, thumping double-bass and a piano. TO INFINITY is a slow, emotional rock tune with plucky guitars and a rolling bass, interspersed with Takumi's progressive metalcore chords and Satsuki's falsetto backing vocals. As the track winds to an end, Satsuki and Takumi go into a guitar and vocal groove, and the track exits on a fading chord.

The final tracks of the standard, universal track list are GROWL and I HATE MYSELF AND WANT TO DIE. GROWL is a loud and straightforward song featuring a violent mix of smothering drum and bass, distorted guitar shredding and of course, prominent growling. All in all, the hissed, rolled growls, untamed attitude and the forgoing of method for the sake of intensity categorize this track somewhere between plain filler and brutal murder scene. The last track of the album is yet another rerecorded single, I HATE MYSELF AND WANT TO DIE. The title is an homage to nineties grunge act Nirvana. This grand finale is a wholesome metal song with jarring, uneven rhythm and raw extrusion of pain and torture. The vocals are twisted and violent, giving even more bragging rights to Satsuki. The rich arrangements of monstrous growls, mischievous and playful guitar and vibrant, tumbling drums have a formidable presence and seem a small throwback to Dir en grey. The song has it all: a solid composition, cocky hard rock laughs, a chaotic finale and the bone-chilling wail to shatter the atmosphere of the last twelve tracks.

The two bonus tracks included with the European release are previous B-sides: MURDER INTENT and Last word 「 」(re-recording). The first is an abrasive and incredibly fast track with heavily distorted vocals and a speed metal soul. The second is an elegant acoustic track with a great display of melodic singing from Satsuki; it has to be heard to be felt or understood, straight to the final shiver-inducing falsetto and solid last note accompanied by an airy breath.

THE BOTTOM OF CHAOS is a rock-solid release from RENTRER EN SOI, and is a testament to their blossoming talent and tried experience. With the announcement of their disbandment, this album will surely be remembered as the legacy of flamboyant young boys turned hardened true rockers.
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