- Red Moon
- Hikari no Senritsu
- Te to Te to Me to Me
- Haru wa Kogane no Yume no Naka
- Yami no Uta
- Hoshi no Utai
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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?
- Red Moon
- Yami no Uta
- Te to Te to Me to Me
- Hoshi no Utai
- I Have A Dream