- X-Encounter (Instrumental)
- Unchain (Instrumental)
Continuing with the industrial rock feel from her last single UNDER/SHAFT, Maon Kurosaki’s new track X-Encounter amps up the synths, yet manages to capture some darkness in the arrangement. A multi-synth introduction starts off the track, along with distorted background guitars and thumping electronic beats. The verse vocals are at first filtered, then sung without effects, revealing a nice, clear tone. I’m enjoying the experience of seeing her vocals improve with each release. The chorus performance is also a good effort, mostly lacking the strained sound that some of her earlier pieces had. However, I am slightly concerned about how the verse and chorus don’t have much to distinguish themselves from each other. It’s also a bit on the long side for this type of song. On the whole, I like X-Encounter’s semi-electronic style, and the problems I had with it don’t severely affect the experience.
For some reason, this song reminds me of a heavier version of Emergence! from her first album. The instrumentation here is fairly standard Maon stuff, with synths and digital percussion, but this time has a little more guitars than X-Encounter, with a few lead guitar lines in the track. The verses begin with a plain arrangement, and I approve of how they use a big, space-filling bass guitar sound, even if the bassline itself isn’t that interesting. Maon’s vocal delivery in the chorus is pretty solid again, and the high notes in her lower register don’t show straining. On the other hand, the high notes in her upper register could be stronger. It’s great to push your limits, but I think she’s bitten off a bit more than she can chew with those really high notes in the chorus. The softer chorus after the bridge brings out both the good and the bad in her vocals. The good is she employs a soft tone at the beginning which sounds great. The bad is one rather stressed-out note and the slightly uncomfortable head voice at the end. It’s still a pretty decent track though.
Maon Kurosaki has started her new era with a great new single. While it could be shorter, X-Encounter was a good industrial-rock-anison blend, and Unchain was a respectable coupling track. While her vocals could use work in some areas, she has improved and I’m looking forward to whatever she does next. Which is hopefully rock.
Rating: 4 stars