Kalafina – Seventh Heaven

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Tracklist:

  1. Overture
  2. Oblivious
  3. Love Come Down
  4. Natsu no Ringo
  5. Fairytale
  6. ARIA
  7. Mata Kaze ga Tsuyoku Natta
  8. Kizuato
  9. Serenato
  10. Ongaku
  11. Ashita no Keshiki
  12. Sprinter
  13. Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Iku
  14. Seventh Heaven

———————————

1. Overture

The album opens to a short introductory track in which Wakana sings softly to harp (I believe), with nature sounds in the background. Keiko joins her to harmonise in the latter part. A beautiful opening track.

2. Oblivious

A distant and empty setting opens Oblivious with quiet singing from Wakana and Keiko, followed by semi-operatic vocals soaring over a dance-like beat. Fluttery side-panned electric guitar and harmonising background vocals contribute to the scenery of the track, with another awesome part being its slightly dissonant synth bassline.Wakana, who’s leading the song, delivers a flawless performance and is definitely the star of this song. A powerful first song!

3. Love Come Down

Love Come Down also uses the dance-like beat, complemented with effects-laden guitar and a little synths. While Wakana takes a back seat, Keiko leads the verse which I love because of her deep voice, and Hikaru leads in the pre-chorus and chorus for what I believe is her first appearance in the album. She certainly doesn’t lack in energy, and I’m happy with her vocals here. The Yuki Kajiura-style random sounding violin is pretty cool too. It’s really fun to listen to and another great song!

4. Natsu no Ringo

As a break from the faster previous tracks, Natsu no Ringo takes on a slower folk style with light hand drums, acoustic guitars and a gentle flute melody. Wakana leads this song for the most part, and her voice sounds well controlled (as usual!). And there’s a short acoustic guitar solo towards the end of the song, I love acoustic guitar solos! It’s great that this song has stuck with a pure folk feel, and with the set of instruments it uses you could imagine it being sung around a campfire in olden times…. I love it!

5. Fairytale

The soft xylophone at the beginning always reminds me of a relaxing walk, and together with glittering chimes and ethereal vocals, a mystical, Fairytale image is evoked. Wakana, who is the main singer., delivers another excellent performance, and perfectly complements the serene atmosphere of the track. The arrangement uses a bare instrumentation with chimes, xylophone, mellow strings and of course the backing vocals, which are perfectly layered to produce this masterpiece of a song.

6. ARIA

ARIA is another mysterious sounding piece, this time led by Hikaru. Her performance has a few flaws, but on the whole I enjoy her energy and expression, and she has great vibrato control. Wakana also stands out with her rising and falling backing vocals. Another great part is the guitar work, I love the “clinking” guitar sound, as well as the guitar solo. There’s also a good tempo change; while the beginning of the track keeps a slow and empty feel, rolling tom drums are introduced in the second half to increase the intensity. Another epic track! I think it acts as a good stepping stone between Fairytale and the next track…

7. Mata Kaze ga Tsuyoku Natta

…which is a brazen, pounding rock number. Hikaru again leads this track, and her vocals really shine here. I think Hikaru does best when she’s singing lower in her range, and her voice suits rock music because it has a little grit and she’s also got the most energy in her voice out of the three Kalafina girls. I really like the addition of cello as well, and the down-tuned bass guitar has an aggressive, rough sound. Despite all this goodness going on, my favourite bit is Keiko’s low part about 4/5ths the way through where she says the song’s title and a bit afterwards (I’m a big Keiko fan). This is probably my favourite rock song from the group, even more than Magia.

8. Kizuato

Kalafina goes back to a gentler sound with Kizuato, which is slower and uses a more typical Kajiuran arrangement of piano, strings and electric guitar. Wakana and Keiko share parts through the song, and I don’t think Hikaru is in this one. I’m enjoying the strong violin and piano presence here, with a highlight being the short jazzy piano line in the bridge. It’s not as epic as some of their other songs, but still really good!

9. Serenato

An extended introduction features hand drumming, acoustic guitar, and beautiful chorus from the Kalafina singers. There’s a lovely laid-back atmosphere throughout this slow and relaxing song. Wakana leads the vocals on this track, and her tone and expression suit it perfectly, while the other members harmonise and provide backing and counter-melody. I like the use of sitar and Middle Eastern influences on this track too. A unique track, and one of my favourites.

10. Ongaku

Ongaku revisits the dance beat found earlier in the album and has a bit more of a mainstream feel than previous tracks. Keiko leads the song, and her deep voice delivers the required power for this energetic track. In her part in the verse, also I suspect there are some very light filters on her voice which fit the slightly electronica feel of the track. There’s more guitar emphasis in the song than most of the other songs, culminating in a great guitar solo. Really good and fun to listen to!

11. Ashita no Keshiki

Wakana sings solo for the first third of the song, accompanied by first by soft tuned percussion and then picked acoustic guitar. Her voice is so good in this track and conveys a tone of sorrow. Addition of more instruments then picks up the song a bit, and gives a slightly marching feel. I don’t like Hikaru’s part as much after Wakana, but part of that is the contrast because of how amazing Wakana is. It’s cool that flute makes a comeback in this song in the later parts as well. I also think it’s nice how the song came full circle at the end after the buildup throughout the song. Yep, you guessed it, another great song.

12. Sprinter

Hikaru leads the second rock song of the album, and she’s sounding pretty good on it too! There’s more of a vocal focus on Sprinter than Mata Kaze ga Tsuyoku Natta, with an awesome part in the middle where the singers trade lines with each other. I think I can hear the mysterious Maya on this track, after Hikaru finishes her first part and a few other times. While the arrangement is primarily guitar based and features the original riff repeated throughout the song, strings also hover above to add that extra dramatic touch. The only thing I’m a bit iffy about is where the vocals fade and the song goes quiet for a little while around 2/3 the way through, but it’s really minor so I can overlook it. Awesome song again…

13. Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Iku

We get to hear Keiko sing some lead again, and she’s backed by lone piano to begin with. What I like about her solo part is that we get to hear some bigger vibrato on her extended note! Wakana then takes over after the verse with her elegant vocals. Cello, drums and soft electric guitar are added through the song to increase the intensity of the track, and the song ends with a little of the “walking” theme from Fairytale. A lovely ballad, but like Kizuato, doesn’t have the epic factor that their other tracks have.

14. Seventh Heaven

The album comes to a close as it began with the title track Seventh Heaven, which builds on the theme from Overture (or the other way round more likely). Keiko gives one of her most controlled performances, her quiet yet deep tone matching along with the fittingly empty sounding harp arrangement. Hikaru and Wakana then both get lead parts, conveying the touching sadness of one of Kalafina’s most beautiful pieces. Piano, lamenting strings and soft drums add impact, and after a soft, bare interlude the music crescendos to a stunning 3-part harmony. What a memorable way to end the album!

I think Seventh Heaven can only be described as a masterpiece. Every track is a great listen, and fantastic vocal work is accompanied by equally fantastic arrangement. I love this album so much! And it was really hard to pick the best tracks as well, they could have been in any order…

Top Tracks:

  • Seventh Heaven
  • Serenato
  • Mata Kaze ga Tsuyoku Natta
  • Fairytale
  • ARIA

Rating: 10/10

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8 Responses to Kalafina – Seventh Heaven

  1. Yuki Nagato says:

    Thanks for revisiting Kalafina’s older work! I only recently got caught up in Yuki’s music, so this review helps on choosing what to listen.

  2. Really started being enamored of their work when oblivious hit the scene with the first Kara no Kyoukai movie and they’ve just gone on to do awesome after awesome. I think their biggest surprise was just how good Red Moon was as a followup (and I’ll favor Red Moon slightly more because of the variety on board).

    • 123 says:

      Haha I hadn’t even started watching anime when oblivious was released, I only first heard of Kalafina a year ago, but it didn’t take me long to realise how awesome they were!

  3. Another Kalafina fan, their work on Kara no Kyoukai is mostly Seventh Heaven and since then all the epicness has continued. I am still debating if seventh heaven or consolation is my favorite album from them, but it’s all thanks to Yuki Kajiura and the 3 ladies with their great voices.

    • 123 says:

      They certainly have continued strongly! Seventh Heaven is definitely my favourite, but all their albums are very strong. Thanks for following🙂

  4. takiashii says:

    They have such lovely songs. I was listening to a compilation of Kara no Kyoukai, and someone said one of their songs plays, but I can’t figure out which one it is. Does anyone know what it could possibly be?? Also what instruments, too? (It sounds like outside noises in a way. Like in the beginning that sound that sounds kinda like wind..? And around 0:11, what is that sound? It adds to my image of watching fireflies in yukatas at night.) https://youtu.be/aVrlow8Lyzk
    it is the first music that starts playing. So from 0:00 and I think it ends at 2:43….
    I would love to know if they made it, and if so, what instrumental of their song it is! Very soothing. Anyways sorry for long comment and any errors in spelling! Thank you for reading, and have a nice day! ( ´ ω ` )

    • Alex says:

      Haha thanks for commenting🙂

      So Kalafina’s Seventh Heaven album was based off the Kara no Kyoukai soundtrack. In the video you linked, Kalafina songs aren’t playing, but the soundtrack pieces are. In the time period you mentioned, the KnK theme that would become the song “Seventh Heaven” plays. Hopefully that made sense! What was your question about the instruments?

      Sorry, not sure what is the specific sound you mentioned is, it’s pretty cool though. Probably some electronic effect. I quite like the “wind blowing” noises in that piano piece, it gives this feeling of… emptiness?

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