Suddenly Reviewing Lost Angels for No Reason

I’m pretty proud of that title, by the way. And anyone who has seen the track-list for GACKT’s Summer ’09 decade marking fourth release, LOST ANGELS, ought to be pretty impressed that I was able to use the entire track-list for one post title!

I think I made my suspicions about GACKT and his tenth anniversary countdown singles pretty clear when they started coming out last Summer…What with GACKT dressing as a host-girl and everything. They seemed really suspicious, that is, until fall/winter when GACKT went and got a sidesaddle perm. And then they seemed perfectly normal. Just took some contrast.

The four-part countdown releases were an interesting mixture of music. From electro-pop bubblegum sensation Koakuma Heaven, to mediocre Faraway, to mainstream-feeling but powerful anyway Flower, there were ups and downs, as well as many ?? moments from fans across the globe. For anyone who was startled by the “newness” which seemed to strike a strange panic into GACKT fandom, LOST ANGELS came as a gentle, reassuring pat, as if to say, “Don’t worry, it’s still GACKT.”

Comprised of a-side LOST ANGELS, and 2 b-sides (Suddenly and No Reason), LOST ANGELS was the most Gacktese of all the countdown singles. A powerful, magical piece with all the Gacktian fixings, LOST ANGELS is a ballad that sparkles with all the newness of freshly fallen snow, while retaining a fundamental core of (particularly Diabolos era) the ballads we already know and love.

The piece is a combination of intensity and mellowness, with relatively flat, elegant verses paired with rolling, rockin’ choruses, and some beautiful vocals that were last heard on Journey Through the Decade. LOST ANGELS is packed with orchestral strings arrangements, piano, and nicely undulant guitar parts. Although some of the lyrics are pretty familiar fare with all the usual dakishimet-ing and kimi wo wasurenai-ing, the chorus especially has really nice new vocabulary– the warai aetara‘s are particularly gripping and satisfying. The whole piece has a gentleness, as if it’s not trying to take over the world– just trying to touch its heart. And it certainly does that.

Although also not mind-blowingly original or b-sides of the era or anything, honestly the following songs feel like a continuation of (dare I say it?) my favorite original album, Rebirth. The album packed with songs nobody can remember the name of, finally gets an energetic sequel with No Reason and Suddenly. Thought I already kind of hurt their compositional feelings with the paragraph’s opening statement, honestly, I think both b-sides rock. They feel like like that older era of GACKT, back when he was particularly progressive and experimental; back when he used weird, dissonant effects and driven, gloomy melodies. Oh wait, he still does– but you know what I mean.

The second song, No Reason, is in my personal opinion the true heart of the single. Cool, aloof, prickling with edginess, and with a bit of an attitude, No Reason is a truly cool song, and despite also having a low-key nature, for me at least, it stands out the most out of the three tracks.

Akin to incredible ancestors such as Emu ~for my dear~ and CUBE (don’t even get me started on either of these masterpieces), Suddenly starts out slow, plodding steadily into a pretty goose-bump worthy chorus, which seems to end way too abruptly, and we’re back into that eighteen-million-measures-long GACKT signature verse pattern….This is just an honest-to-goodness awesome gloomy, grumpy, low-key rock ballad that actually wins in its lack of obvious firepower.

In conclusion, this is a  great, emotional single full of all the basic GACKT goodness we can never get enough of. Well-balanced with its selection of pieces, LOST ANGELS delivers tenderness, cool edgy attitude, and moody melancholia respectively in its lineup. This is absolutely a must-have for any self-respecting GACKT fan.

School’s Back In Session

School’s back in session, but this semester we’ll be getting a lesson in serious rock– courtesy of Jrock’s best-kept secret, full-throttle super-group abingdon boys school.

Although they could be called a ‘kid-band’, as they only started in 2005, there is nothing kiddie about this hardcore Jrock group. abingdon boys school, fondly contracted to a.b.s by fans and the band alike, was founded by programmer and keyboardist Kishi Toshiyuki and vocalist Nishikawa Takanori– perhaps better known for his pop-prince solo act, T.M. Revolution. They recruited guitarists SUNAO and Shibasaki Hiroshi, both of whom have worked closely with Nishikawa on his “Revolutionary” activities throughout the past decade.

However, let me say this: for anyone who came to a.b.s expecting more of T.M. Revolution’s futuristic sub-Gundam electro-pop, two words: Not. Happening. Seeing as three of the members have indeed (and do still) work together in the Mobile-Suit pop world, I think (yeah, I read the blogs too) a lot of people were surprised that this amazingly (absolutely no offense intended) fruity, and possibly the shortest pop-star in Japan, could front a project so dramatically opposite his solo work, as abingdon boys school.

Well you can put it in red marker and add a star-shaped sticker too, for the versatility of Nishikawa’s unbelievable vocal style. Whether he’s draped in supple snow-white  leather suits, or nerding out in thick-rimmed glasses and a private-school uniform, Nishikawa’s high, heady, terrifically strong wail is unlike any other. Honestly, I have to say that Nishikawa’s vocals are some of the most impressive, innovative, and mind-blowingly awesome in the pop/rock world.

Aside from the singular vocal talents of Nishikawa, the rest of the a.b.s lineup may be names you haven’t heard– but we can quite quickly decapitate that disturbance and move on, because the sooner you hear them, the sooner you’ll be thanking yourself.

Part of the problem may be that these are not blooming heartthrobs. Nor are they young, with the most-junior member scraping a mature 39. I mean– Nishikawa has this kind of aura of studliness, but let’s face it, it’s an aura. If you look at the aesthetic of today, and it’s being represented by Visual Kei hot-topics such as the GazettE and Alice Nine… and all those guys, they’re like puking good-looks. (BUCK-TICK’s early lineup was concerned about their vocalist being tall enough…they apparently never considered hiring Nishikawa, who maxes out at 5′3″.) Well, I’ll tell you, a.b.s may not look like much, but these guys know where and how to pack a helluva punch. These guys are deadly.

a.b.s is comprised of the aforementioned 4 members: Nishikawa (vo.), Kishi (keyboards, programming), SUNAO (guitar), Shibasaki (guitar). The other two necessary organs that make a band breathe and pump blood properly, drums and bass, are supplied by session musicians. And by session-musicians, I mean that these two musicians have a pact with holy deities so advanced and beyond us, that they can’t really officially join bands. Although these two backing members are mysterious strangers to most of a.b.s‘ non-Japanese fan-base, let me try and shed a little light.

Bassist IKUO, who can slap and pop so hardcore you practically want to die, is an extremely in-demand figure in Jrock. In summer ’09 he tore a hole of throbbing thick-stringed bass madness on GACKT’s Koakuma Heaven. And that’s just one name– wherever fame has been mixed with Jrock, IKUO has probably been at some point or another. Any guess as to where GACKT picked this guy up? Possibly on a certain [b]ass-kicking (forgive the inexcusable joke) album that rocked the custom-shredded socks of the Jrock kingdom in 2007…

However, the drummer, who incites the greatest rage of curiosity within, is carefully hidden, his face turned at every sneaky shot during TV performances and lives. You see a sharp cheek and some wild long hair, and that’s about it. His name is Hasegawa Kozy, and he has surpassed being “the drummer” and become “the drums”. Hasegawa Kozy has worked with pretty much every influential Japanese pop and rock band ever– and guess who has him now?

The mastermind behind the project, as it were, is really Kishi Toshiyuki, programmer and keyboardist, who splits most of the compositional duties with guitarist Shibasaki. ‘Programmer’ ‘keyboards’ yes– turn tables.

NO, just don’t even say it. Turn-tables in a rock band? Gundam-suited pop princes in a rock band? Yeah, I know. No, no, no, I’m not trying to rope you into some kind of weird sub-trance group…This is rock– no, this has transcended rock. Turn-tables. And rock. These oh-so-questionable turn-tables spin a.b.s into a whole new arena than the other rockers out there– turn-tables allow for incredible mixing both on stage and in the studio. Kishi adds layers of intense effects and remixing to the already heavy hard-rock style double guitars. You can hear the mixing, but Kishi’s taste is impeccable, and by the end of the first song, it’s all you’ll be talking about.

Not only that, but this is pioneer work as far as Jrock is concerned. Few to no bands up until this point have been interested in mixing turn-tables and rap elements with rock. However, since a.b.s has seen a spike in popularity in the past two or three years, many notable Visual Kei and rock bands have been inspired by them. This includes D’espairsRay who, in 2009 released FINAL CALL, which was produced by Kishi; and girugamesh, whose latest album, NOW is all rap and turn-tabled-out.

On top of the unique music, their image is incredible. However, it’s sort of like, what’s with the getup? What’s in a name? The name abingdon boys school comes from the name of the school in Abingdon-On-Thames, England. The story goes that Nishikawa, after some research, chose the initials a.b.s, partly because he likes sports cars and the initials corresponded to automatic-breaking-system, and partly because when spoken with a Japanese accent, the pronunciation (ee bii essu) is very similar to that of the word “Ebisu”, which is the name of the town where the band was founded.

Abingdon School

However, after some further research, they discovered the school, which is renowned for being the birthplace of famous British rock band Radiohead.  Since the four members [of a.b.s] would all be in the same year at school, they agreed that it would be a fun image to all be school boys together once again. Therefore the image is in keeping with this ideal– the members dress in private-school uniforms (with an a.b.s badge, of course), and one would be hard-pressed to find any one of them devoid of some good old tartan.

As mentioned earlier, the band is only 5 years old. Started in 2005, a.b.s runs alongside T.M.Revolution’s solo projects, to which Nishikawa, Shibasaki, SUNAO, and occassionally even IKUO devote time both in composition and touring aspects. So in all that time, what were the boys up to? Good question, really. It wasn’t until 2009 really that a.b.s took on a full-time project quality from the members. From ’05-’08 they had only released one full-length album and 4 singles, however, ’09 saw the release of 4 more singles, their participation in the major V-Rock Festival in Tokyo, and an intl. debut with their hit European tour. January ’10 saw the release of their new album, Abingdon Road, in March a DVD of music clips and documentary footage from the Europe tour, and a nationwide Japan tour.

As well as having done the OP song for the ultra-popular anime series D Gray Man, many of a.b.s’ singles have been used in shows and anime. This has been credited to a personal love of anime and video games by Nishikawa. Nishikawa claims that he’ll never make a song for a series he doesn’t like, but if he likes it, then the game is on. But it doesn’t stop at anime. a.b.s has been invited to work on several memorial albums– Nishikawa belted out stay away for fictional punk rockers THE BLACK STONES on the Love for Nana ~Only 1 Tribute~ album; their cover of Luna Sea’s Sweetest Coma Again was a hit on Luna Sea~ Memorial Album, and their cover of Buck-Tick’s DRESS absolutely stole the BT cover album: Parade~ Respective Tracks of Buck-Tick.

Check out the original:

a.b.s‘ discography may be relatively small, but it is growing as the band is expanding and growing themselves. Each song is a powerful tornado of musical experience that is, quite frankly, unlike anything else in the music scene today. Their utterly unique sound and image set them apart from the mainstream influx of 20-something cutie-boys, and their devotion to amazing music elevate them among the ranks of long-standing classic favorites. Do yourself a favor and pick up their hot-off-the-press album Abingdon Road, released January 27th ’10.

Class dismissed.

Official Website

Official Fan-club (A.B.S.F.C) [Japan only]

Further reading

For a full list of related links, click

Hitting the First Pain-Barrier of ’10…?

Today we are officially two weeks into the new year! How are everyone’s resolutions holding out?

Although I decided not to make “resolutions” this year, because I never seem to remember them past the first two days of the new year, I did make some decisions as to what was going to be different this year. I think I’ve been holding to them well so far…

Remember, it has been scientifically proven that it takes about 30 days for the human brain to fully reprogram itself, so if you started on the first, you’re probably hitting the major pain-barrier right now…I know I am! The other day I had my first moment of doubt, and thought I would sleep in a little. But I didn’t give in! I’ve been busy with some different things than usual for a few days, but now I’m fully ready to jump back in.

mou sukoshi ganbatte kudasai! (Please just keep it up a little longer!).  Here’s some motivation, presented by abingdon boys school in honor of their long-awaiting 2nd album’s release date being nearly here!: Freedom

Gloomy news is hittin’ the headlines
So depressin’, not a surprise
Public places, there are no boundaries
Supervised like we can’t be wise
Who’s in control of the disaster?
Who’s in control of your life?

Now it’s the time to break out of your cell
Unchain yourself, don’t hesitate
Pressures like these, unnecessary
You are here to emancipate
Just let go of what is inside you
Show what you got! Go ahead and do your thing!

I’m goin’ out there
I’m gonna meet you there
Stand up and get a kick out of life!
I wanna be free yeah!

I’m gettin’ up there
I’m gonna take you there
It’s the beginning of the renaissance
In the name of freedom!

Bumpin’ into gossips, they bore me
No interest to join the game
Suffocatin’, so ordinary
Every moment is not the same
Just let go of what is inside you
Show what you got! Go ahead and be yourself!

I'm going out there...

En route to Abingdon

Funny as it sounds, English grandmothers are probably more familiar with the name Abingdon than most hardcore rockers under 30 today. The reasoning behind this? Abingdon, originally called Abingdon-on-Thames, is a town in Oxfordshire, southern England. Home to Abingdon School, an all-boys school whose initial claim to fame was having hosted members of Radiohead during their delinquent school years, Google searches for the town now list results under a new type of Abingdon. You guessed it, Japanese metal-magicians, abingdon boys school.

The good news is, it’s a lot easier to get to far-flung places these days than it was in the past. Jrockers get your passports and hit the road with a scheduled all-new full-length album from Secret Garden’s favorite Jrock sensation, abingdon boys school. Make room in your collection, because on January 27th 2010, ears will bleed for Abingdon Road.

The planned album will have 5 previously released singles and 6 all new songs.

Class Dismissed~ a.b.g.d LIVE in London

back of the tour T-shirt

Yes. It’s the most expensive concert I’ve ever attended. And the abingdon boys school live at The Underworld Camden in Camden Town, London, UK on Nov. 12th 2009 was also the shortest concert I’ve ever attended. The boys performed from around 8-something until just after 10, and that included a short intermission. It was also the most powerful, crazy, and musically devastating experience of my, admittedly, live-performance-wise- pathetic- existence- so- far.

First of all, it took several months of planning and coordination and hard work at a 9-5 I’d already refused once or twice, and then 2 airports and 11 hours of travel time to get to this concert. You’d think I’d have been more prepared come the actual day-of. But I wasn’t. I didn’t get to the venue that early, and there was already a queue the length of the Nile. It kept growing, too, so I was glad I at least made it when I did. At least the perk of waiting a block and a half from the venue itself was that I got to stand right next to the tour bus.

Semblance of a night-photo. Tour bus.

We waited for about 1.45 hours, 1 and 1/2 of which lovely London skies decided to vomit profuse quantities of frigid, unforgiving British rain. Nobody was prepared, so by the time they started letting us in, everyone was pretty soaked… I guess that was our fault for not expecting typical London weather (even though I was most likely the only non-European/student in attendance) and the landlords’ faults for not expecting us for this soul-ravishing event and putting up awnings to protect our rock-steady skulleons.

The rain was only the second stupidest thing. Because I was kind of running late, and every self-service machine in the city looks the same, I only had precisely, including 1 and 2 pence pieces, 20 quid on me, I had to be unfairly choosy when it came to tour goods. The goods they had available were: a poster, postcard set, Europe-only compilation album Teaching Materials, an Ebisu tour T-shirt, a European tour T-shirt, and….I believe that’s all. 20 pounds got one of the European tour T-shirts.

The Ebisu T-shirt had a more manly shape, but during the performance Nishikawa sported the tour shirt, so I guess they’re unisex. Not that it matters to Jrockers, I suppose.

The venue was tiny. Minuscule. By the time we got in, the “dance floor” was packed, but since, y’know…I’m slightly….how to say….vertically challenged, unless I was able to stand near the front I wouldn’t really be able to see anything, it worked out okay to stand on the upper floor near the railing, even though some annoying girl standing slightly in front and to my left kept brandishing her arm devotedly directly in my line of vision, I was able to see alright.

There was a lot of energy in the place, and everyone kept screaming all at once as if the band was coming out every time a sound-crew member emerged wearing an Ebisu T-shirt. a.b.s. could probably just have played the CD and asked their sound-crew to head-bang on stage for an hour and a half and the audience wouldn’t have noticed. Just kidding.

When they actually appeared on stage…everyone went to hell. I remember it pretty well, I think, despite having died in that very moment. They were all dressed in their white and black STRENGTH-era outfits, waving and smiling. And you have no idea. No idea. Absolutely zero comprehension…of how incredibly beautiful these aliens from another planet are. There is no way they could possibly be human. They’re not. They had to have been beamed down from outer-space. The charisma, attitude, and attractiveness radiating from them could have powered Tokyo for ten years without so much as a flickering bulb. I shouldn’t be so surprised, but really when you look at pictures, how do you really know how attractive they are normally? I mean, between air-brushing and makeup and special effects, how much of it is real? Everything. And then some. Their presence, sheer, daunting confidence, and surety on stage was so overwhelming, well, I can’t even describe it.

Their personalities were incredible to see coming out in their performance as well. Hasegawa Kozy, the drummer, and IKUO on bass stuck to the shadows to give the official members full foreground– but the stage was small, so you could see them killing it anyway. Kishi was also set back behind the others, but his effect on the performance was so strong, he could have been at the front. SUNAO, Nishikawa, and Shibasaki held the very front. Shibasaki was quiet and reserved, as expected. SUNAO surprised me– he was untamed! He had a very powerful presence on stage, and it was like….”bloody hell, he’s cool”. With his wild black hair and some unforeseen, thick eye-makeup, he was like a guitarist so incredibly good he was sent to the abyss and then returned with a note from the devil proclaiming him just too badass to bear.

Nishikawa, of course, had tons of energy. He was tiny, to be sure. Small, but oh my. He was very active, dancing around, headbanging with the best of them, taunting the crowd, and shouting out to us a lot. He spoke in English, and he has an amazing speaking voice. He was pretty hardcore. He would say things like, “I love you, London!”, “Make some noise!!”, and “are you havin’ a bitchin’ time?!?!” To save us from severe emotional trauma and/or brain-damage, he assured us he wanted to come back many more times.

Well, that’s good for London, I guess. When are they coming to America?!

It’s unbelievable to actually hear the music performed live. Nishikawa adds a lot of ornamentation, screaming, etc that’s not in the recorded version. His voice is out of this world– so powerful and defined. The guitar-solos make you want to die (I actually think someone did faint, or get knocked out, or something, because at the end of the show Nishikawa was looking out at them saying, “Hey, are you alright? Are they okay?” He seemed kind of concerned, but there were no ambulances or fountains of blood, and they were in like the front row, so I’m sure even if they suffered minor (or major) physical pain they’ll survive). The set-list was powerful. They performed:

Via Dolorosa, Stay Away, JAP, Kimi no Uta, From Dusk Till Dawn, Strength, Freedom, As One, Innocent Sorrow, Nephilim, HOWLING, DESIRE, Atena, Valkyrie, and FRE@K SH0W, as well as a few others I’m sure I’m mentally misplacing.

I was disappointed to not be able to hear DRESS and LOST REASON, but the songs they chose were awesome, and to be honest, I’d rather listen to a.b.s play Christmas carols for an hour and a half than listen to any other band play a million different songs.

The second half of the concert (split by a brief intermission during which the band changed into tour shirts, and the crowd shrieked encore. I was like, they’ve played for 25 minutes, it’s not exactly the end of the concert… Paranoia or pandemonium…but whatever it was, it reigned.) got kind of crazy. Nishikawa mutilated the delicate psyches of desperate fangirls by spitting water over the crowd, strip-teasing and tossing his sweaty shirt into the audience, and then diving off the stage into the audience. He was promptly dragged down, and five security guys had to wrestle for several minutes with the crazy fans to get Nishikawa back on stage. (He looked pretty exhilarated after that. I guess some people play with fire and others…fans?).

They played FRE@K SH0W, and each member was introduced by Nishikawa, as they played an incredibly sick solo that destroyed any hopes I may have had for a normal, average life. Again, later Nishikawa introduced the members once more by calling out their respective role and expecting the audience to respond. I think about 3 people there knew Kozy Hasegawa’s name. Nishikawa seemed a little disappointed about this, calling out “…His name is Kozy Hasegawa!” Tell it, yo!

When it was finally time for them to leave, they all took some time to walk around touching people’s hands, waving, etc. It was really sweet and cool to see them interacting with the fans as much as possible, given the degrees of separation. Then they walked off, and the sound-crew came on to pick up. And something inside, I think it may have been my soul, curled up and died right then and there. But that’s alright. It was a small price to pay for so great a gift.

a.b.s. にメセージはもしこれを読んだら、ありがとうございましたね。もうすぐアメリカに来て下さいよね。これだけ。

Getting personal with ‘Kimi no Uta’- “your song”


Kimi no Uta, abingdon boys school‘s latest single, hit shelves 8/26/09– an aural bite of candy not only for longstanding abs fans, but also for fans of the new anime series Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, which began airing in Japan in July, host to Kimi no Uta as OP.  This is always a good sign, because in Japan, anime is advertising.

Kimi no Uta / abingdon boys school

Only a band like abs could trust such a petite single to be audacious enough to cause this kind of tremor in the music scene. This summer was a minefield of incredible releases, many of which upped the expected song-count for the now oxymoronic ‘single’s. Although 2 tracks can hardly be considered skimpy, the B-side to Kimi no Uta isn’t an original song– the follow up track is an English version of the recent hit JAP. While this may please on a fan-service level, independently (and in Japanese) JAP was such an unbelievable song, listening to it debauched by English lyrics seems potentially like a meander down a dark path. It could be, but honestly it’s difficult enough to understand the Engrish lyrics that you hardly notice them anyway. As much as I believe in the sheer force of abs‘ power, IMPO Kimi no Uta would have suffered going solo.

The B-side, well, on the side where it belongs, Kimi no Uta itself is deserving of taking the single’s title slot. It opens abruptly, without any kind of intro to ease us into it– by now, however, our nerves are strong enough to take this level of awesomeness on the fly. Nishikawa starts singing the second the music begins, and the melody (both vocal and instrumental) is…a bit odd? Not sure how to articulate my first impression of Kimi no Uta, but when I first heard it, I wasn’t that impressed. The melody seemed somehow slightly flat, and Nishikawa’s vocals were oddly reminiscent of his Revolution gig.

However, about 30 seconds in, my opinion erupted from its moody cocoon and beat new wings. Contrary to my initial response as Kimi no Uta, all OP charm and no meat, this new realization was that Kimi no Uta was a revelation. A revolution! Where a lot of abs fare has been heavy and heavier, Kimi no Uta takes a break from that swing, taking it easy on the turn-table mixing and hardcore guitars to deal us a hand of a mellower mix. They utilize the duo-guitar super-team of SUNAO and Shibasaki Hiroshi by playing one heavy guitar-lick and one tinkly, wiry, finger-picking strain on the other, to create a double-layer of sound, giving the whole thing a ton of subtle but powerful oomph in all the right places.

What really steals you, though, is the guitar solo/instrumental break. This is the point where you expect everything to get bumped up a notch– but they tease you, and satisfy perfectly at the same time– a delicate and beautiful thing. The break is perfectly jazzy, downplayed, and then pouring us right on into hard-rock the way we like it– but how we’ve never heard it before. Not lately, anyway. These guys are killing it, playing on their skills and beefing up their originality and creativity.

In short, the song is an excellent peak of talent, subtlety, and playing on strengths. They’ve downplayed the hard-rock thing to work with some different mediums, bringing in that OP feel, a little of Nishikawa’s T.M. poppiness, and yet dishing out core abs.

Kimi no Uta is an excellent addition to abingdon boys schools‘ repertoire, and I highly recommend that any and all snag a copy to add to their shelves–listen and let the coolness astound you.

I said we got no guarantee…

…or so says GACKT in the third of his winter ’09 singles, strikingly red GHOST. But here on Secret Garden I’m singing a different tune– because if one thing’s for certain, it’s that GHOST was guaranteed to be a major hit.

GhostSince the release of Jesus last December, GACKT has been moving steadily in a new direction with his music. In the media world,  “new” means naturally that this is a vast declination in quality blah blah blah. Well, for anyone who’s been wondering if the great days of Gackt are over, let me kindly direct you otherwise.

It would seem that this past winter and spring have seen an influx of new anime and television shows for the Japanese market. And apparently whoever is in charge of getting the theme songs in order is on a wild battlefield at the moment– because just about all the great Jrockers are keeping busy getting this song for that person and another song for that other person.

If anyone thought GACKT was going to be an exception, they were wrong. Jesus, GHOST, and Journey were all feeding the need for Gackt’s creamy baritone to represent the title-credits somewhere or other. Gackt continues to indulge his dark side with January’s GHOST, which was used for the Japanese release of the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles show.


Stylistically, GHOST is, well, unlike anything we’ve heard from Gackt so far. Although the dark heaviness of the piece is congruent with the sound of earlier release Jesus, the style is far from similar.

The single opens with title-song GHOST. It starts up neatly, with some electronic sounds that get layered into a steady, bassy beat and then ease into an even steadier, more layered selection of rhythms that then explode into metal-style guitar shredding– all textured within, over, and behind tasteful electronic effects.

GHOST is a dark dance track, heavy with synthesized bleeps and bloops and chirring sounds. Gackt uses a vocal changer for a technolized sound that turns the ultra-heavy guitars over-layered with an assortment of electronic sounds and synth from heavy metal to grimly loaded Euro trance. The bridge into the chorus is complete with hoarse screamo-style back-up vocals.

The chorus shoulders us on into the heavy metal-style guitar of the instrumental break, exploding with thick drums and a cool electronic, melodic overlay that pours us back into the chorus– thick layers of sound pulsating dancibly behind Gackt’s vocals– altered to robo-ffect.

The theme of the PV, the techno-effects, and the voice alteration all come together to fit perfectly along with the terminator image that hosted this new single as theme song. In the PV as well as on the cover of the single, Gackt is portrayed as a bionic sub-zombie type creature that finally creeps in on the third-party viewer, potentially to cannibalize.

Although the verses are mellow, with Gackt singing a straight, even vocal melody, the bridge and chorus are very heavy– it sounds like core-rock, but the electronica keeps everything rhythmically pumped-up enough that you could either dance to it or indulge in some serious head-banging.

The choice is yours– but either way one thing is for sure, and that’s that GHOST is a single not to be left out of your collection!