Post-hardcore band coldrain’s mini Until The End is an excellent set of rock tracks. Mixing pop hooks which would comfortably suit mainstream airplay with savage metal growls, the result is a heavy but accessible release. The band feels like they’re totally in sync with each other, with vocals, guitars and drums coming together in a really coherent way (unfortunately, I can hardly hear the bass).
The vocals are rather un-Japanese (I suppose that’s to be expected, given their lead singer Masato is half American). By this, I don’t mean that the lyrics are in English (and pronounced well, hooray!), but rather that the singing style is more characteristic of Western rock. Japanese male vocalists often have a clean tone and use vibrato, while Masato has grit in his voice, and doesn’t really use vibrato. He also neatly avoids some of the traps which J-Pop/Rock singers fall into – his head voice is stronger than average, and he hits notes accurately instead of sliding about. Apart from that, he sings high notes easily enough, packs a ton of power into his delivery, and can unleash fierce growls on demand. Consider me impressed with Masato’s vocals on this mini!
I’m also pleased with the drum-work throughout the songs. It’s quick and punchy when necessary, but plays with the tempo and intensity to keep things interesting. The mixing isn’t overpowering, and I think the drummer is the best of the instrumentalists. On the other hand, the guitars are competent but not outstanding. The rhythm guitars get everything just right, but the solos are short throw-ons, and aren’t very exciting or creative.
Most of the songs are fast paced rock, but the closing track House of Cards was something different that grabbed my attention. This song shows coldrain can work with restrained, atmospheric pieces, as well as their typical heavy material. The echoing guitar, trickling piano and delicate vocals of House of Cards invokes a tranquil, reflective setting, and it’s certainly my favourite track from the mini.
Overall, coldrain’s Until The End is a strong mini-album, full of angry, rebellious rock, and it’s the most consistent release I’ve reviewed this year (though I’ve been a bit slack with my reviews recently, hehehe). Their style is reminiscent of ONE OK ROCK, but with a harder and more metal sound, so if you’re into them, coldrain’s Until The End may be worth a listen.
Rating: 4.5 stars