Kalafina – Red Moon

redmoon2

Tracklist:

  1. Red Moon
  2. Hikari no Senritsu
  3. Te to Te to Me to Me
  4. Fantasia
  5. Haru wa Kogane no Yume no Naka
  6. Kyrie
  7. Yami no Uta
  8. Hoshi no Utai
  9. Storia
  10. Intermezzo
  11. Progressive
  12. Lacrimosa
  13. I Have A Dream

———————————

1. Red Moon

The title track begins with soft strings and far away chanting in the background, before Wakana’s entrancing vocals bring me to a fantastic, dark world. Keiko harmonises beautifully, and bells toll as the guitar enters, bringing a powerful change. Then Hikaru gets a small lead part, her voice adding intensity to the arrangement, while Wakana returns to deliver a perfect chorus. The song continues in epic fashion, with some wonderfully touching parts in the bridge utilising tender piano and quiet chants. I love the part at the end with chants and Keiko’s deep and compelling voice. Yuki Kajiura’s arranging is great in this song, playing to the strengths of each singer. My description is sorely lacking – words are not enough to describe this masterpiece (and my favourite Kalafina song).

2. Hikari no Senritsu

A flute melody opens Hikari no Senritsu. The first vocalist is Hikaru, singing in a cheerful style which suits the folk style. I think this is one of the genres she excels at. Following is Wakana, who continues the uplifting mood with her high vocals, although there are a few parts where she sounds a little weak. The instrumentation consists of acoustic guitar, slightly distorted electric guitar and drums, with flute playing the melody and a lovely solo in the middle. I wouldn’t say it’s as good as Natsu no Ringo, but it is a sunny and lively track.

3. Te to Te to Me to Me

Te to Te to Me to Me begins with Middle Eastern influences in the form of sitar and hand drums, followed by a smooth strings melody and light guitar chords. Then Keiko comes in to lead the track and she sounds awesome, her deep vocals providing a mysterious air. I love the jangling of the sitar through the track, and there’s some really cool guitar parts in the bridge. Here Hikaru gets a lead part, her vocals brimming with passion. It’s a track that’s more on Kalafina’s experimental side, but also has that “wow” factor.

4. Fantasia

We know Kalafina love their dance tracks, and the first one comes in with Fantasia. Starting with wailing synths, guitar and chants to an electronic beat, Keiko enters to lead the verse, with Wakana on backing vocals. There’s a bright keyboard part mixed to the right, which adds a jaunty feel the track, seemingly at odds with the rest of the instrumentation but working well in the end. Hikaru takes over at the chorus, her vocals providing the required energy, and her lead carries into the next verse, where she sounds comfortable singing lower. I like the guitar solo too, another great song!

5. Haru wa Kogane no Yume no Naka

Now it’s ballad time, with starting Wakana singing to piano, sounding great except for that little head voice switch which was just average. As deep strings enter, Hikaru takes over the second verse, which is kind of eh because Wakana sounds better than Hikaru so it doesn’t seem as good in comparison. Hikaru just doesn’t have enough control here, as this track is VERY vocal-oriented. A nice change, but not their best ballad.

6. Kyrie

Kyrie is another dance track, but has more of a guitar focus than Fantasia. Hikaru starts off the verse, sounding much better than she did on the last track. I think this type of music suits her better than ballads. Wakana then sings the chorus, sounding very controlled and bringing a calming touch to this frantic track. The “kyrie eleison” parts at the end of the chorus where she harmonises with the other two members are awesome moments in the track. There’s also a great choral part in the middle. I prefer this song to Fantasia, it’s more powerful.

7. Yami no Uta

Yami no Uta begins with a medieval strings melody along with deep, pounding drums. Keiko, who is leading for the most part, commands attention and brings out the best of her vocals to suit this dramatic song, while repeated string motifs create an unforgettable experience. In the chorus, Hikaru takes the lead and really shines, delivering some of her deepest and most fervent vocals. Then there is the bridge, with operatic vocals combining with creepy scratching guitar and cello in a brief interlude before the full power of Kalafina returns Everything about this track screams epic, this song is a monument of the brilliance of Yuki Kajiura. It’s also the only song on the album that has the audacity to vie with Red Moon in terms of sheer presence.

8. Hoshi no Utai

Hoshi no Utai keeps the drums of Yami no Uta but instead uses quivering flute as the melody (if you can call it that0. Strings take more of a backing role, before buzzing synths replace them in the verse. Keiko begins with the lead, but she and Hikaru blend brilliantly and quickly interchange roles. The chorus is dominated by Hikaru, who demonstrates her power through her slightly rough vocals. I enjoy the traditional Japanese touches by the flute too, this is another first-rate song

9. Storia

The second folk song of the album, Storia uses Hikaru’s animated vocals through the verse, while Wakana takes over the chorus. I love how Hikaru injects mountains of enthusiasm into this song, and she is pushed along by sharp violins in the background. Halfway through, there is a quiet and mournful section where the members get solo lines. However a slow crescendo leads back to the glorious Wakana-lead chorus. It ties with Natsu no Ringo as my favourite Kalafina folk tune.

10. Intermezzo

As the title suggests, Intermezzo is a short interlude piece. It begins with the soft, filtered vocals of Wakana and later, Hikaru sings lead. When the filters are removed, Wakana leads, this time her head voice switch sounding much stronger. The filter come back again for Hikaru’s part, ending with a delicate “kiss… me”. Through the song, the arrangement is very bare and restrained, focussing on the vocalists. A very nice interlude!

11. Progressive

Next is the third dance beat track of the album. Hikaru is the lead singer for pretty much the whole song, and she blows me away in the chorus with her power and style. The violin does that random thing similar to Love Come Down, while synths and electric guitar for the rhythm section.The guitar solo’s cool as well. It’s a very fun track, but I do think Kyrie is a bit better.

12. Lacrimosa

Violin and chanting open Lacrimosa, followed by Wakana’s lilting vocals. As the lead singer, she gives powerful performance through the verse and chorus. While again her head voice parts could be a bit stronger (yeah I’m complaining about that a lot sorry), overall I’m impressed with her. While on the whole the arrangement is typical Kajiuran, there are a few parts that stand out to me such as the chanting of “La – cri – mo – sa” along with orchestral percussion. It’s pretty good.

13. I Have A Dream

Starting with a peaceful synth melody, I Have A Dream unfolds into a gentle ballad with the addition of piano, light guitars and a little percussion.Wakana’s sorrowful and reflective vocals echo the poignant feeling of the track, and Hikaru and Keiko continue this mood in their respective solo parts. The bridge uses chorusing vocals and enchanting flute to raise the energy, before leading to the final chorus. The piece wraps up with a soft and sweet flute part, a great ending to both the song and the album.

Mmm, I tend to blather when talking about Kalafina lol. Red Moon was another top-quality album from Kalafina. I slightly prefer Seventh Heaven, but it’s close – I think Seventh Heaven was more consistently good, while Red Moon had some not-quite-there tracks. On the other hand, Red Moon had some really epic pieces like the title track and Yami no Uta. As for the vocals, on the whole I was very happy with them. Wakana’s head voice parts sounded weaker than in Seventh Heaven, but in my opinion the style of music of Seventh Heaven was more conducive for sounding stronger. Overall, an excellent album. What were your favourite tracks (or not favourites), and how do you think it compared with Kalafina’s other albums?

Top Tracks:

  • Red Moon
  • Yami no Uta
  • Te to Te to Me to Me
  • Hoshi no Utai
  • I Have A Dream

Rating: 10/10

This entry was posted in Kalafina and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Kalafina – Red Moon

  1. Artemis says:

    This has got to be one of my favourite albums of all time – while I like all of Kalafina’s work, this second studio one of theirs is the best so far I think. Like you, Red Moon and Te to Te to Me to Me are tracks I’m particularly drawn to, although I also adore Progressive, Storia, and Lacrimosa. Thanks to the Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler anime, that was one of the first Kalafina songs I heard, and it was love at first chord.

    • 123 says:

      One of my favourite albums too. I haven’t really thought about it but if I made a top 10 list I’m sure Red Moon would be floating up near the top somewhere. I totally agree with your choice of top tracks too, there were quite a few songs vying for the top 5🙂.

  2. Yuki Nagato says:

    I have to agree Red Moon is definitely one of the best song Kajiura-san has ever composed. Lacrimosa, Red Moon and Progressive got me stuck in a loop playing just those three, but I think I’ll check out Kyrie, Fantasia and Yami no Uta (which translates to “A song of darkness” – pretty awesome title).

  3. I’ve got a really soft spot for “I Have a Dream,” and, for that matter, this album as a whole. While there’s something to be said for Seventh Heaven’s consistency, I’d say the variety that’s present here (“Hikari no Senritsu’s” folk music inspirations? An optimistic track in “I Have a Dream”?) is what does it for me. That’s enough to make it my go-to Kalafina album at any rate!

    • 123 says:

      Me too for I Have A Dream. It was one of first Kalafina tracks I really got into, maybe because of the “I Have A Dream” English line in the chorus. Actually which Kalafina album I go for also depends on what mood I’m in, I feel Seventh Heaven is a bit more on the gloomy side. I do also enjoy the variety of Red Moon just IMO Seventh Heaven was a bit stronger.

  4. TBH, I’m a bit ambivalent towards Red Moon. I think it is a fairly nice album overall, but after looping some songs, I’ve grown tired of them. Namely, Lacrimosa, Progressive and Fantasia. And the title track…I love it, but I think the instrumental bridge ruins it a little bit for me. I do love Yami no Uta as a whole. The other tracks are pretty much a big no for me.

    • 123 says:

      Lol I’m not surprised, every Kalafina review I’ve read people have different opinions. Do you have a particular album you prefer?

      • yunaamakura says:

        SH, definitely. I can’t say I love it completely (I hate love come down and Ongaku sounds better live), it has the KnK songs, which are by far my favorite songs by Kalafina.

  5. There is always something in the last song of each Kalafina album that makes me like it a lot. Seventh Heaven, I have a dream, symphonia (this being one of my favorites) and Yume no Daichi.
    They always have the perfect ending touch which makes you say: “that’s a perfect way to finish the album”
    btw favorites of mine: yami no uta, red moon, kyrie, storia and i have a dream😛

Comments make me happy!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s