Onmyouza – Seiten no Mikazuki

Seiten no Mikazuki

Tracklist:

  1. Seiten no Mikazuki
  2. Yukiyukite Aoshi
  3. Seiten no Mikazuki (Kigaku Sou)
  4. Yukiyukite Aoshi (Kigaku Sou)

***

Onmyouza is back with a new single, yay! Let’s see how they go.

Seiten no Mikazuki is exactly what I’ve come to expect of the band – tight guitarwork, strong vocals, and solid drumming to tie everything together. The sound of each instrument is good. The guitars are heavily distorted with enough bass, yet retain a crunchy element. The drums are also done well: the cymbals are noticeable but aren’t so loud as to intrude, the snare has a deep thunking sound, and the kick drums are a powerful driving force, but aren’t overused or overmixed. The bass is loud enough to be audible, and is adequate for the job.

There are a few more instruments apart from the typical metal ones. The track opens and closes with a flute, while the bridge uses a shamisen (or something). These instruments are one of the things that help Onmyouza break away from the formula, but in the context of this song they feel like random throw-ins. Seiten no Mikazuki also features a synth, but it doesn’t do much except add another musical layer in the background.

Overall, the song is executed well, although a few points could be improved. The intro’s guitar line at 0:10 sounds messy, because of how the low/mid-range lead guitar lines blur with the power chords in the rhythm section. The way guitars drop out of the first verse is sudden and jarring, leaving an empty space in those bass-only bars. The vocal melodies in the chorus aren’t as catchy as Onmyouza have done before, and the bridge’s transition from the chorus is awkward in the way the tempo quickly halves (though I do think the 7/4 timing in the bridge is pretty cool).

In contrast, the vocals are superb throughout. Matatabi leads first with an aggressive flair, comfortably handling his upper range and capping off his notes with fierce outbursts. Kuroneko sounds just as good as usual, hitting her notes cleanly and pouring on the vibrato. I’m impressed with their harmonising too; they blend nicely in the choruses (pretty standard stuff for them, honestly), but also harmonise well in the bridge, where Matatabi is singing at the lower end of his range and Kuroneko at the higher end of hers. Sometimes in situations like that, when two vocalists’ notes are reasonably separated, it can seem like the vocalists are singing at the same time, but not together. However, Matatabi and Kuroneko pull it off and synchronise well.

I’m also glad the final notes of the song were changed from those of the other choruses. The track would have ended with a fizzle, if not for Kuroneko closing it with a powerful extended note (that ending line is classic Onmyouza, you hear it in so many of their songs). Overall, Seiten no Mikazuki is generally performed well, and is a good metal piece.

While Seiten no Mikazuki is an enjoyable but normal Onmyouza track, the B-side Yukiyukite Aoshi is a slow-rock number with a chilled air that reminds me of Banka. Accordingly, the instruments play in a laid-back fashion. The distorted guitar is often palm-muted, but the palm muting is removed a couple of times per bar to emphasise certain notes and adjust the dynamics. The guitar lines insert quick triplets to serve as a countermelody to the lead, and decisive clean guitar strums signal the move from verse to pre-chorus at 1:07 and 2:36. I also like how a lot of the time, the guitars aren’t just playing plain chords; instead, they add little riffs to keep me listening. For example, Onmyouza use this to contrast the first and second verses. The first keeps things simple, while the second has these small changes.

Yukiyukite Aoshi‘s vocals are spot-on. Matatabi and Kuroneko nail the dreamy tone, and harmonise exceptionally. Kuroneko has some high notes too, which I’m happy about. After the key change in the last chorus, Kuroneko gets some nice Ds and an E, and hits them like they’re nothing.

Yukiyukite Aoshi is a lovely change in pace from the band, and it’s really grown on me. In fact, I prefer it to Seiten no Mikazuki. In conclusion, I am very pleased with this single, and would recommend it to people who like rock and metal.

Asides:

***

Rating: 4 stars

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4 Responses to Onmyouza – Seiten no Mikazuki

  1. Alex says:

    When I was writing this, I was sure Matatabi’s vibrato was a fraction out-of-time in the verse, but after re-listening to it a bunch of times I can’t tell anymore waaaaah >.<

  2. I’ve been looking to get into this band for a while, any recommendation on which album I should start with?

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