Review

Octaviagrace - new eclosion

12/12/2019 2019-12-12 01:00:00 JaME Author: Ruchesko

Octaviagrace - new eclosion

Guitarist hanako stole the show on the band's first outing without a full-time keyboardist.


© Octaviagrace. All rights reserved.
Mini-Album CD

new eclosion

Octaviagrace

When Octaviagrace arrived on Japan’s metal scene in 2015 in a cascade of synth-laced melodic metal and prominent basslines, it was like they’d identified the gap in the market vacated by LIGHT BRINGER and intended to fill it. That’s not to call them sound-a-likes, but they did take their slot on the short list of Japanese metal bands where the keyboards are on even footing with the guitars.

This looked like it might change in 2018 with the release of EP new eclosion, given that keyboardist Reanne ostensibly quit Octaviagrace in 2017. The release’s title even seemed to hint at some change in direction: ‘eclosion’ refers to the act of hatching from an egg or cocoon. However, it would appear Reanne’s disappearance from the group’s publicity shots hasn’t extended to the studio.

While he’s by no means as ubiquitous compared to previous releases, Reanne’s presence can be felt to some degree throughout new eclosion. He’s practically the lead instrumentalist on Breaking dawn, presiding over a storm of synths of the kind that first drew the LIGHT BRINGER comparisons. Meanwhile, on sorrow joker, he drops in and out so randomly, it sounds as if the recording session was gate-crashed by a rogue jazz pianist.

Elsewhere, the overdub overload of Loss of signal and howling solos of unknown chord essentially serve as a showcase for guitarist hanako’s talents. The opening track oddeye is uncharacteristically heavy by Octaviagrace’s standards, and even sees bandleader youske – who typically features more prominently in the mix than most bassists – yield to his bandmate's G&L Legacy guitar.

This may be an over-dramatic way of putting it, but new eclosion finds Octaviagrace in the midst of an identity crisis. The band’s apparent move towards a more guitar-oriented sound clearly isn’t the outright musical reboot the titular ‘eclosion’ might suggest. There are still plenty of the quirkier elements that have led to their music being labelled ‘progressive metal’. The question now is what’s the situation with Reanne: was he just helping out on this one, or did he merely want out of the photoshoots and touring commitments?

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