The 69 of 2014

Review

by Leela McMullen, chi.yow, Aki, Amy, posted January 1, 2015

AlbumsSingles

exist†trace – WORLD MAKER

Thoroughly underestimated, existtrace are a force to be reckoned with in the visual kei world. The title of their incredible 2014 album,WORLD MAKER, is a sign of their resilience—these girl’s will simply make their own world, and they’ll drag you into it. The strength of this album is not only in its great sounds but also in the positive soul infused throughout it, providing both good listening and inspiration.

The title track sees Jyo and Miko’s twin vocals at their best, the gorgeously harmonized and determined lyrics supported by a solid rock base with an uplifting groove. The beautiful moment when the music recedes to let the vocalists have their say is both peaceful and moving and the final build will have any listener raring to go.

Diamond” is one of several numbers where the vocalists play with alternating lines before coming together in more exquisite harmony while the instruments are busy setting a hot beat and grinding guitar line. Things begin more calmly in “Spiral Taisakusen” which then takes on the properties of disco for little fun. The bass line is warm and funky with sassily tsking cymbals while retro backing vocals really set the scene.

This album is constantly in motion and from one mood it swings voraciously to the next, “JUST ONE” coming in with aggressive determination. This song is lyrically driven and the alternating vocals highlight the message fiercely. Meanwhile, guitar shadows the vocal melody in a way that keeps the words in one’s head even during solos and instrumentals. It‘s an extremely driven and prideful number. The transition to “Imagination” is almost comedic as a blues scale rips in to take things back in time once more. The result is that the tone of the album is kept light and fun even as its messages hit home one after another. Even this beachy, retro groove is extremely cool despite its light touch, with Naoto’s bass taking the spotlight while nostalgic vocals replicate the genre to perfection. Never staying in one place, WORLD MAKER then takes a dark turn in “Feel” which begins with a creepy vocal solo accompanied by the slow burn of a guitar riff. This tune and its use of symphonic elements is intense yet beautiful, evoking the same atmosphere that made Evanescence a sensation.

SHOOTING STAR” is another hot number full of passionate feeling with an effective beat but it’s the following “Antique Doll” that really takes the cake. This concentrated number will stay with you. The vocals and music are punchy, the lyrics memorable, and the imagery the combination draws up is strong.

It would be hard to top “Antique Doll” if it weren’t for the somewhat random nature of this album, so when the mood shifts again for the sexy, down to earth rock of “Kuchibiru,” the transition is instantaneous. A whole new universe sucks the listener in with cracking claps, rolling drums, crooning vocals, and hot harmony. Omi’s guitar solo in this number is also worth mentioning as one of the most evocative in the album. Then, it’s time for exist†trace to prove their mettle in the inferno of “RAZE” as drums race, guitars grind, and Jyo growls out her fearsome death voice. The catchy chorus and Miko’s contrastingly melodic vocals are a nice decoration for this delectable piece.

Nagai Yume no Owari Ni” is the calm before the storm and its pretty opening of piano and chimes is complemented by a moving melody. Though it is undoubtedly a ballad, this piece in no way inhibits the constant movement of the album, instead keeping a firm sense of pace and strength from start to finish. It’s a wonderful precursor to the crowning achievement of the release, the brilliant catalytic force of “VOICE.” Some songs simply push and prod at people to get up and do something worthwhile, and this song achieves that through an inspiring beat, all around musical excellence, and lyrics that really get under your skin.

exist†trace possess the unprecedented ability to express the positive force and power of emotion through music that flows from cool to fun to excruciatingly beautiful. WORLD MAKER is a gem of an album that not only has the power to inspire, but also provides great songs with a variety of sounds for any occasion.

Regular Edition: 12 track CD

Limited Edition: 12 track CD + DVD (“WORLD MAKER” and “Spiral Taisakusen” music videos.)

Track list

  1. WORLD MAKER
  2. Diamond
  3. Spiral Taisakusen
  4. JUST ONE
  5. Imagination
  6. Feel
  7. SHOOTING STAR
  8. Antique Doll
  9. Kuchibiru
  10. RAZE
  11. Nagai Yume no Owari Ni
  12. VOICE

Leela McMullen is a strong believer in the philosophy "no music, no life." Having traversed the range of Japanese fandoms, she found her home at last in visual kei and has made it her mission to share what she loves most with the world. Leela completed her B.A. in Japanese language from Griffith University in Gold Coast Australia. She now lives and works in Japan, striving to bring you the goods, hot from the scene. Follow her on twitter for juicy hints of upcoming articles if you've got a bit of Japanese language under your belt! http://twitter.com/#!/LeelaInTokyo

Chi’s interest in visual kei stems from her love of art. The unique aesthetics in combination with the wide range of musical styles within the genre have been what has kept her interest in the visual kei scene for over a decade. The main image her friends and classmates have of her is with a camera in hand, face behind the viewfinder or screen. This image is also occasionally combined with memories of running around her to avoid getting into her panorama shots.

Aki is an adventurous soul and an artistic jack of all trades who has followed her heart and dreams to Japan. Here she has found a way to combine her deeply rooted love for rock and metal with her ever growing love for artistic expression. She has long since confessed to being a helpless music addict with a strong preference for Japanese visual rock and metal, and writing for Rokkyuu has become another way for her to share what she loves with the world.

Amy happened across Dir en grey on a used computer and became enamored by the aesthetics and androgyny of visual kei. Amy studied Japanese at university, including a year studying abroad in Tokyo. Interests include anime and manga, reading, learning languages, playing guitar, and holding on to the futile dream of one day meeting Johnny Depp. Amy hopes to bring the overseas fans closer to the bands they love by translating material related to them.

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