Kagrra, - Hyakki kenran

review - 18.02.2011 00:01

The only thing regrettable about Kagrra,'s last album is that it's too short.

After making music for over a decade, Kagrra, has met their demise. The band that pioneered Neo Japanese leaves fans with a final album and tour; the album, Hyakki kenran, is a bittersweet taste of the direction Kagrra, was heading in.

The opening track, Hyakki choryo, sets the tone of the album. An electronic sounding instrumental piece, it feels like the theme from a horror movie. The creepy melody leaves you feeling uncomfortable and unsettled, although the following track dispels the atmosphere. Chigiri is easy to like - Isshi’s smooth voice and the simple pop-rock vibe combine for an energetic song that’s instantly catchy.

Kakurenbo is a bit harder, though not nearly as edgy as it could be, leaving it a merely adequate track with hints of promise. It is overshadowed by Shiroi uso. Previously as a single, it’s not hard to see why Kagrra, chose to include the song on the album: it’s classic Kagrra,. The traditional melody by the koto overlays the rock undercurrent, and the Tibetan styled chanting adds an interesting element to the light and airy track.

Kikan achieves what Kakurenbo could not. It is dark with danger and burns with beauty and is a song Kagrra, can be proud of. Following is another song with a gorgeous refrain; Tsuki ni murakumo hana ni ame is a mouthful to say but takes no effort at all to enjoy it. Then there is Kiho, which displays more emotion than any other track thus far. Isshi’s vocals are filled with longing and passion during the chorus, creating the hook that draws you in.

The second to last track, Manatsu no yo no yume, is a bit of a surprise. Sharp, distinctive drumming is in the forefront, and the hollow sounding back beat is a trick not usually employed by the band. The repetitive chorus is fun and invites listeners to join in, which will make this song a sure-fire hit at lives. As Kagrra, is only touring until March, be sure to experience this song if you get the chance! Shiki closes the album with a melancholy feel. Soft and pretty, it leaves you with a wistful feeling that perfectly echoes how fans feel at the loss of their favorite band.

Mixing pop with rock and traditional instruments with electronic ones, Hyakki kenran is a winning combination of everything Kagrra, is known for. The world may never see another band so successful at blending classical Japanese poetry with modern melodies, and while it’s disappointing to see them end, fans should hold on to the hope for a resurrection, as Kagrra, is a band worth waiting for.
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Kagrra, 2000 - 2011

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