ViViD’s merry, pop-punk Pendulum

Review

by Amy, posted March 22, 2014

It’s been almost two years since ViViD’s last offering, Infinity. This time around, ViViD is back with an arguably strong album in Pendulum which is filled with catchy anthems and enthralling melodies.

Album opener “The Winding Road” will get you jumping around with its anthemic and punchy tones. Things then slow down a little for second track, “HIKARI,” which should be familiar to viewers of fantasy anime Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, for which “HIKARI” was used as the opening theme. “HIKARI” makes you want to wave your hands and sway to the melody of the soft guitars before a beautiful solo leads the song out. As soon as “Theater” kicks in, you know it’s time to get the house jumping. With choppy guitars and a synth-tinged chorus, “Theater is packed with energy as it descends into a gothic melody breakdown.

RED begins like a ballad before transforming into another anthemic track that is complete with a chorus begging for call and response. This number is bound to go down a treat when played live. Following that is “Little Dreamer,” a solid and upbeat track of happiness and hope. Scant piano notes then open “ANSWER” which is relatively slow-paced like HIKARI.” The piano continues in random bursts throughout the song, nicely breaking up the guitars and providing a gentler layer to the poppy track.

As the midpoint of the album, the slightly darker tones of “Crescent” ring in and Shin takes on more sultry tones for a slightly downbeat track before exercising his vocal chords on some high notes. Things then get a little synthesized for the more subdued “Amane,” a number which once again displays the talents of Reno on guitar.

Bringing everything right down, “SCENE 033” treats the listener to more jazzy tones over Shin’s soothing vocals before the album whirls back into action with “Celebrate.” This bright and lively track (available only in the regular edition) makes it hard not to get caught up in the music and start bobbing in time with the beat.

Things take a sinister twist with the instrumental “33-XIV” as it slides in with breezy piano over industrial noise before crashing into a dub-step breakdown that booms and shakes its way into twelfth track, “The Devil Whispers.” Keeping in line with the title, “The Devil Whispers” showcases some slightly darker tones but is largely as poppy as many of the other tracks on the album.

On the other hand, “HORIZON” holds back no punches with its speedy guitars and drums over a vague digital beat. It seems ViViD intend on crashing through to the end of the album until an unmistakably ballad-esque track appears in the form of “LETTER.” Here, the album could end on a dreamy and wistful note but there is one more track to go and closer “Good Morning World” leaves the release on a happy and heartening note.

Pendulum is a well-rounded release in which it’s hard to find a track to dislike. The heavy use of palm muting and simple yet interesting melodies under Shin’s melodic and benign vocals makes for a vigorously energetic collection of merry, pop-punk fun.

Regular Edition: 15 track CD

Track list

  1. Winding Road                                                     
  2. HIKARI                                                           
  3. THEATER                                                               
  4. RED                                                         
  5. Little Dreamer                                                    
  6. ANSWER                                                               
  7. Crescent                                                               
  8. Amane                                                  
  9. SCENE 033                                                            
  10. Celebrate                                                             
  11. 33-XIV                                                    
  12. The Devil Whispers                                                          
  13. HORIZON                                                              
  14. LETTER
  15. Good Morning World                                                    

 Limited Edition Type A: 14 track CD + DVD (Winding Road (Music Video), Making of Winding Road, and ViViD LIVE 2013「OVER THE LIMIT~scars~」BEST GIGS)

Track list

  1. Winding Road                                                     
  2. HIKARI                                                         
  3. THEATER                                                               
  4. RED                                                         
  5. Little Dreamer                                                    
  6. ANSWER                                                               
  7. Crescent                                                               
  8. Amane                                            
  9. SCENE 033                                                                                                                            
  10. 33-XIV                                                    
  11. The Devil Whispers                                                          
  12. HORIZON                                                              
  13. LETTER
  14. Good Morning World

Limited Edition Type B: 14 track CD + DVD (THEATER (Special Movie) and ViViD LIVE 2013「OVER THE LIMIT~genesis~」BEST GIGS)

Track list

  1. Winding Road                                                     
  2. HIKARI                                                          
  3. THEATER                                                               
  4. RED                                                         
  5. Little Dreamer                                                    
  6. ANSWER                                                               
  7. Crescent                                                               
  8. Amane                                           
  9. SCENE 033                                                                                                                            
  10. 33-XIV                                                    
  11. The Devil Whispers                                                          
  12. HORIZON                                                              
  13. LETTER
  14. Good Morning 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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