GRANRODEO – Hengenjizai no Magical Star

hengenjizai no magical star

Tracklist:

  1. Hengenjizai no Magical Star
  2. Zecchou Poison
  3. Once & Forever (Plugless Live Edition)
  4. Hengenjizai no Magical Star (OFF VOCAL)
  5. Zecchou Poison (OFF VOCAL)

***

The first two tracks from GRANRODEO’s new single are typical of the duo. If you already like GRANRODEO’s brand of rock music, you’ll probably be pleased with Hengenjizai no Magical Star and Zecchou Poison. Kishow is his usual boisterous self in Hengenjizai, wild and slightly nasal but powerful, while in Zecchou he restrains himself in the verse. Hengenjizai‘s arrangement is good, the usual rock instruments plus the occasional light synths. I always welcome backing vocals, so the “woahs” and echoing vocals are a treat, although the shouted “go” is quiet and anticlimactic. I also enjoy the drop in tempo and volume in the before the choruses, which sets up a nice contrast. On the other hand, Zecchou takes a jazz-rock path, complete with triplet time. The verses are smoky and dark, but GRANRODEO have never been known to hold a dark tone through a song, and the chorus is back to their upbeat fare. That’s disappointing, but all my complaints melt away when we get to the glorious, blues-inspired, twin-guitar solo. *dies*

*revives* So, the first couple of songs are good, regular GRANRODEO material. What about the third, a live rendition of an earlier song of theirs called Once & Forever? Well, um, not so good. To put it mildly. I’ll start with the positive side though. They’ve changed the arrangement to a strings-based ballad, a daring move. I give this a big tick, with my favourite part being how they slow down the chorus.

… Actually, I can’t think of any more praise to give. The strings intro sounds a tad off, and I suspect the violins aren’t in key at the beginning. Also, the acoustic guitar is out of place among the strings. I’m thinking it would have been a better idea for e-ZUKA to play arpeggios through the song, and only solo in the bridge. Speaking of solos, as much as I love a good acoustic guitar solo, there are too many dud notes here for my taste.

And then there’s the vocals. They are a HUGE problem. Kishow isn’t the most consistent singer anyway, but in Once & Forever he’s so, so far away from his best. This is unacceptable, especially if you’re going to be singing against a string quartet, where flaws are glaring. His voice does not fit the strings. High notes are strained and flat. Dynamics are poor, with notes trailing off or suddenly changing in volume. He struggles to hit notes properly, resorting to singing the note below, and then sliding up. Being nasal and unnecessarily fierce is just one more horrible thing about Kishow’s performance. Once & Forever, may you rest in peace after being cruelly butchered by an incompetent vocalist.

Overall, Hengenjizai no Magical Star is still a decent single. If we ignore the vile, maggot-infested dung-pile of track three, it receives a good rating. As it is, my overall impressions are less positive, but the first two pieces should be fine for ani-rock fans.

***

Rating: 3 stars

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