MUCC - Gokusai

review - 04.07.2007 08:00

MUCC's final release of 2006.

After their previous releases of Utagoe and Horizont, MUCC returns to their world of hard and heavy although this time it's been updated; mixed with some lighter sounds and a polished touch.

The intro track, Rave Circus -instrumental-, has a touch of jazz in addition to MUCC's more usual rock style. Satochi opens the album with an amazing drum performance, while Miya joins in showing off a variety of guitar sounds that makes this track a perfect introduction to the following track, Gokusai. Continuing in the same vein, it's Satochi who is followed by the rest of the band in this track. Miya gives us his heavy electric guitar, which only continues the adrenaline rush. Yukke is not too far behind; his bass is clearly noticeable in this track. The three instruments flow together and create something unique, which makes this track very powerful.

Nageki no kane continues with the MUCC we all know and love. Although this song has the "usual" heavy and hard rock, showing that the band hasn't forgotten their musical roots, they add a new twist to their music with Tatsuro's semi-rapping vocals, which adds a speedy flare. The guitar is heavy and agressive and Miya's solo, overlapping another guitar line in the background, demands your attention.

MUCC includes four tracks from previously released singles: Gerbera, Ryuusei, Utagoe, and Horizont. All have a similiar sound when compared to their orignal release, with the exception of Gerbera, whose intro is now harder than the original. This is similiar to the change made in Saishuu Ressha in Hoyouku, released in 2005.

In a way, Gekkou and 25ji no yuutsu are similar in the respect that both are different from MUCC's usual music, but they also have a sort of fantasy-like feeling to them. The first track has a soft intro before the listener is greeted with an electric guitar. A third of the way into the track, the guitar is very soft and smooth, making it sound similar to that of a harp. Although this track is a bit heavy, the chorus is rather soft and warming. The next track, 25ji no yuutsu, has an exotic feel with the mix of instruments as Tatsuro's voice seems to float over the music. Of course Yukke performs an unforgettable strumming of strings; he leads the song from sweet seduction to jazzy reggae. This combination of sounds lures the listener in and refuses to release them from the dark, seductive mood of the song. This is one of the strongest tracks off the album simply because MUCC is able to express so many emotions. Right when things seem to reach a peak with tempo, again the listener is brought down to the first alluring emotions felt.

The sixth track of the album, Panorama, was actually written for their close friends and fellow rock band La Vie En Rose in response to their disbandment, which was announced in late July 2006. The track toes the edge of being considered almost a folk song; the only thing keeping it from going into that category is Miya's electric guitar. The lyrics speak that even if some dreams have ended, we will always have our memories of those passed dreams; the road continues on and we have to keep moving forward.

The next tracks flow together perfectly, beginning with Risky Drive, which is pure raw rock 'n roll. Tatsuro sings differently in this track mixing rap with rugged vocals as the chorus follows suit. For the ninth track of the album, fans are given a pleasant surprise with Kinsenka; this is the first track in the history of MUCC where Satochi wrote the lyrics, with the help of Miya. The drummer also wrote the music for this catchy track, and even though the music is not as heavy as others on the album, it is undeniable that this song is one of the highlights. Satochi leads and holds the rhythm for the other two instruments and vocals; it is now the drummer who gets to show off not only his drumming talent, but his writing ability. It does not end there for Satochi; he gives everything he has with his heart-pounding performance in D O G. This track is heavy and much harder like some other tracks on this album, but it is the drums that stand out the most.

For the final new track of the album, MUCC gives us Yasashii uta, which sounds like a mix of reggae and folk, complete with a harmonica and "la la la" sung in the chorus. Like many of the other tracks on Gokusai, this song is completely different from MUCC's usual work but should not be dismissed. The listener needs to enjoy it simply for what it is.

The DVD that comes with this release begins with clips about MUCC's early years before showing concert and backstage clips throughout their Six Nine Days tour. This DVD has a little bit of everything, allowing the viewer to not only watch live performances, but to also "get to know" MUCC and see how they interact with each other, their fans, and prepare for lives.

Gokusai is one of MUCC's most experimental and powerful albums yet, giving the listener a diverse range to choose from. This quartet continues to grow and prove that they are still an amazing band.
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