Monday, April 26, 2010

Kalafina - Red Moon album review

Remember this long review? I don't suppose I could write something like that since this isn't the first time I'm reviewing a Kalafina album and I don't think I'd making some intro or refreshers that much. But I would like to note that it has been awhile since the last time I reviewed their release.

So should I start? Then go right ahead.

  1. red moon
  2. 光の旋律 (Hikari no Senritsu)
  3. テトテトメトメ (TE TO TE TO ME TO ME)
  4. fantasia
  5. 春は黄金の夢の中 (Haru wa Koganei no Yume no Naka)
  6. Kyrie
  7. 闇の唄 (Yami no Uta)
  8. 星の謡 (Hoshi no Utai)
  9. storia
  10. intermezzo
  11. progressive
  12. Lacrimosa
  13. I have a dream

Red Moon is Kalafina's second album under Sony Music Entertainment Japan and produced overall by Yuki Kajiura (as usual). I actually like this cover (CD+DVD) more than the regular CD-only so I'm using this one for illustration. This album peaked at #5 in the Oricon weekly charts selling 17,085 copies on its first week.

It has to be noted that it didn't actually beat their debut album Seventh Heaven's first week sales — 19,933 copies even though Red Moon charted higher (with SH on #8).

Having heard the preview of the titular track red moon for the first time in Kalafina's official website, I was a bit down and at the same time excited for it since my expectation failed on the upbeat-intro-concept — and I was thinking how will Kajiura can change my mind on the song. But then after a few days before the album will be released in the market, it leaked as usual and lend my ears on the somewhat mysterious sounding intro. (The intro for SH was somewhat mystifying as well but not as mysterious like this one)

And I thought of it as a ballad at first -- and it spank me, a ballad isn't such a good idea but when the first chorus stroke, I was like, SHOCKED! This isn't any ballad at all! This is neoclassicism dark phase! Much a bit similar to solemn ALI PROJECT works! So digesting this song is somewhat easy for me. Though it's a bit complicated why it has to be somewhat not consistent with the sound — it's weak intro then it goes for the strong chorus then it goes weak again and again. But somehow, it managed to capture my heart and imagined a PV out of this song! :D It's so dark, emotional and sad — it's a much darker version of their similar neoclassical song Lacrimosa. I totally love the ending of the song and I'm truly happy that they made this a long song. 6:40 is pretty good for a lengthy song. =3 Keiko's voice was like ghastly in the last part — While Wakana made the song more lamenting with her voice. Hikaru improved her voice at the chorus part and I don't know if she could do it live but it's nice thing to hear from her.

Then from a very dark song comes a very cute intro from like a distorted playlist. I'm not saying Hikari no Senritsu was a bad of a song but it just doesn't match with the strong intro. I would've appreciated if they placed this song after or before fantasia. The song is quite touching with some sweet sentiments. I have to admit I didn't like this one at first because I was quite disappointed on how they performed lots of "light phase" songs because I want more darker songs atm. I've come to appreciate it after hearing the long version which is also long (6:14). Liking the song but was placed in a wrong place on the album.

TE TO TE TO ME TO ME (which literally means "Hand in Hand, Eye to eye") is somewhat one of the intriguing songs in the album because it sounded a bit funny if you try to say the title but probably one of the most attractive songs in the album. After taking you to the grasslands of Andes Mountain Range with the second track, this will definitely migrate you to the Persian region with its unique neoclassicism Arabic/Persia style of music. I could imagine them doing some dance in their Persian outfit! And Keiko's strong voice is really suited for this song! I think it resembles ALI PROJECT's Arabiya layla Gendan song (Track7 in their album Psychedelic Insanity) because they're both seducing and captivating in nature and also Kajiura's Tokuoka in the .hack//Liminality OST because of its middle-eastern taste.

After the sensational third track comes a distorted synth sounding which is fantasia. I was kinda expecting another song from this one but I was happy it was much more upbeat than I am thinking. XD Continuing the trend of the Kajiuran chants, with some electric guitar, continuous distorted sounding synths and trance-y beat, and voila! I was quite satisfied with this song as well because they're making more upbeat songs.

And after some epic songs, there comes the flaw — Haru wa Koganei no Yume no Naka has got to be the least memorable of all songs in the album. It was a more boring version of their Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Yuku song. I still haven't come to the appreciation of these mentioned songs. I like Gloria and sapphire more.

And then stumbling on the song that really complicated my mind — Kyrie. Why? Because it literally means "Lord" then the complete statement "Kyrie eleison" was mentioned at the end of the chorus which means "Lord, have mercy". It's a Catholic terminology and I don't think Kajiura is Catholic (or I don't know if she has some Christianity inside her heart). But even if that's the case, I find this song indeed very good because aside from its trance hints, the chorus part have a very strong emotion on it. Wakana did it again! It's a much upbeat version of fantasia and love come down (in the SH album).

Imaging another dark ballad like progressive B-side song, Utsukushisa but Yami no Uta was something fascinating! It's sounded like some unknown creatures are doing some complicated ballroom circling each other. With Keiko on the vocals, it becomes like a territory with whom she is the Queen of the dark beings. :D It's quite a fitting song for some dark anime series with some fantasy genre on it.

While I find Hoshi no Utai something oriental, I should say this one is somewhat a generic Kajiura work — like what Yuki-chan said on her review of this album, it resembled FictionJunction YUUKA's Kouya Routen at some point but at least sounded decent and considered as one of the most striking songs of the album because I can sense war and alliance on this song — that's natural since it's a tie-up from some online game, I guess.

I could probably skip the most skipped track of all time — intermezzo. It's just a bit boring for an interlude and it sounded a bit complicated to me. They could've just done an instrumental interlude if you ask me. =p

And then here goes progressive. I have to say I was a bit shocked when I first heard this song last year because it sounded not-so-Kajiura (except with the usual Kajiuran and noisy electric guitar riffs). But I guess after the release of this album, I kinda think that this one resembled Kyrie but with strong violin sounds. A very hyperactive and spirited song — I can sense that on the lyrics.

And following the twelfth track which was released at the same day as their debut album, Lacrimosa would always have a place here in my heart because it's one of my all-time fave Kalafina song. As for their singles, I think this is one of Kajiura's first approach to neoclassical songs but she already did that upon doing the Le Petite de Portrait Cossette OST. The song itself is sad, emotional, in grief which literally came from its title which means "weeping".

And the ending song to the anime Eve no Jikan leads to the ending of the album as well. I have a dream was some sort of a tear jerker which is unusual because Kajiura rarely made me cry on her songs. This song is indeed the most modest and subtle on this album. A very captivating, beautiful and touching ballad with some deep expression on how life must go on even if the odds are against you.

Overall, this album is quite a pack just like their first, though it contained more upbeat and darker songs. Kajiura sure is experimenting in many things and I hope she continues that way. =D From the symphonic to gothic rock influences, upbeat trance beats, neoclassical dance beats, with some heart-touching ballads — you cannot ask for more. This album is a definite thumbs up for me.

And I have to take note that red moon and Lacrimosa surely have Gothic Rock influences since my imouto Mana-chan says it's not Goth Rock but taking up to what Wiki is saying,

Gothic rock typically deals with dark themes addressed through lyrics and the music atmosphere. The poetic sensibilities of the genre led Gothic rock lyrics to exhibit literary romanticism, morbidity, religious symbolism, and/or supernatural mysticism.

And seeing the translation of both songs, I think it fits the genre plus this genre has a derivative form — which is ethereal wave, exactly the genre that Kalafina is up to on some of their songs.

Rate: 5/5

mood: accomplished
rhythm: "I have a dream" - Kalafina


  1. I guess I have to say, Red Moon is more enjoyable than Seventh Heaven. It is somehow weaker, though.

    Nice review, btw. better than mind Dx

  2. Yes, Red Moon is admittedly weaker than Seventh Heaven plus the fact that Kara no Kyoukai were all present on the latter while the weaker ones are to be found in this album. I can't explain how but I find the songs here in Red Moon more "to the next level" songs unlike in their debut album. I'm not saying I don't like SH *heck if anyone should know that our top1 album in is SH +wink+* but somehow, the album only scopes only few of Kajiura's experimentations unlike what is revealed here on Red Moon.

  3. I also like Red Moon more than Seventh Heaven because they have more structure than the songs in SH. I mean this album is mainly a darker theme since there are more darker songs unlike in SH.

  4. Brilliant review!
    I only started listening to RM, so I still favour SH over RM.