Re-Recording Album Awoi THE SECOND Vastly Outstrips Original
Awoi’s refreshed Awoi album, Awoi~THE SECOND~ is like a late prequel written long after the main story, much like the movie release of The Hobbit after the The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Everyone knows the story but that doesn’t make it any less exciting! It can only be hoped that The Hobbit lives up to expectations as much as this album does.
It may seem like an odd choice for a band with only one album to take that same work and release a complete re-recording, but the track list takes songs scattered throughout the singles and mini albums of the band’s early history, which come together in a refreshingly new sound. Two of the current members can still be considered “new” when taking into account the life of the band so far and it is their individual sounds and influences combined with the results of live experimentation and evolution on the part of the original members that ensures this album stands alone as a fresh new release.
Right from the top, “Suzumushi” takes the lead as one of Awoi’s most well-known numbers. However, Awoi’s sound has come so far since the original recording that the piece takes on a new life, particularly through the strength of Otogi’s strident growls. Even the melody is tampered with in places, making for an exciting re-listening experience. “Kotodama” keeps the bar raised with those hair-raising growls, flashy drumming and a catchy melody that will have you humming when you least expect it. “Kanashii Uta” likewise shines, though this time it’s the guitar that makes a fierce impression with great riffs that take over the song from head to toe.
“Renai Shashin” is a beautiful ballad that utilizes soft cymbals while allowing Otogi’s voice free rein. The passionate speech backed up by vocalizing in the background comes off as something rare and precious, making a powerful impression before “Siren” crashes in with double the power and anger of its older incarnation. Somehow, the clean track production is a touch disappointing as a dirtier sound suits the piece although the techniques used make it well-worth hearing. “Ashita,” is a beautiful remake which, on the other hand, sounds fantastic in the new, clean format. The vocals and growls stand out to perfection, allowing the melody to suck the listener into that dark world before the dawn.
Of course, not to be missed is the remake of “Koe,” an exemplary Awoi number that had dropped off the live set-lists with the addition of the new members but makes its triumphant come-back on this album. “Monochrome” is also an exciting piece, very different to the majority of the album as the brighter tune contrasts with hot cymbals and a feast of riffs. The death voice that stomps all over the music at points is another delicious addition.
“Koko de tozashite” sneaks in with a clever little melody and an enticing new sheen to the guitar line. Extremely passive in comparison to other songs, it somehow manages to stand out by contrast. Even so, “Sunnyday” just powers on in, another track that remains mainly true to the original despite some light evolution that came about through live performance. It’s a great track to have on any album, new or old.
The highlights of the latter half are “Lullaby” and “Melancholy.” The former soothes with its gorgeously melodic guitar and excites with its driving cymbals. The vocal-driven melody of the latter is backed up with fierce growls and subtly insidious guitar before a wicked chorus. However, while they do maintain that Awoi creepiness, the odd operatic vocals floating over the second verse don’t fit well with the music at all.
Overall, the 16-track album is a winner and the re-make well justified. If you never gave the original a chance then don’t make the same mistake twice. For those who did, whether you loved or hated it, this new version has aspects to appeal to both, so don’t pass it over just yet!
- Kanashii Uta
- Renai Shashin
- Yuuyake Karasu
- Koko de tozashite
- Ikiru itami, kimi he
- Senkou hanabi
- Ikiru tame no uta