Tag Archives: Synth

Review: The Death March

The World Ends With You and Crisis Crisis: Final Fantasy VII composer Takeharu Ishimoto is back with his live band featuring female vocalist Stephanie and a standard rock ensemble. While the group has performed music from The World Ends With You in the past, this album revisits all sorts of Ishimoto material, including tracks form Final Fantasy Type-0, Dissidia Final Fantasy, The World Ends With You, and both Before Crisis and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII along with some original tracks.

There are excellent vocals throughout, with catchy chorus sections and some lovely orchestral-infused ’90s rock and grunge and ’80s-style synth work. There’s a nice aesthetic across the board, from the dark and moody opening track from Type-0 and the catchy guitar riffs and synth strings from Dissidia 012’s “God in Fire” to several tracks from The World Ends With You including “Revelation” with its ’80s atmosphere mixed with grunge vocals, two versions of “Hybrid” with glitchy grunge and Japanese acoustic takes, and a super-slow reverberating version of “Calling” which is my favorite version of the song yet.

The original tracks are also fantastic, with the haunting vocals of “DOO,” the dancey “MUSIC,” the industrial “Strange days” (my favorite track) with chugging pistons and aggressive layered guitars, the Nirvana-esque “Bubbles” with its weird and memorable lyrics, and several others.

Fans of ’90s alternative rock and grunge should appreciate this album. The arrangements of Ishimoto’s compositions are fantastic, and there’s lots to love from the originals as well. Stephanie is a very effective vocalist with a lot of range, and should provide adequate entertainment throughout.

Pick the album up at CD Japan if you’re interested.

Review: Re:Birth II / Romancing SaGa Battle Arrange -Sen-

Square Enix’s Re:Birth series pays tribute to Kenji Ito’s classic scores, with the first Re:Birth album paying homage to Seiken Densetsu. The second, Re:Birth II, took on the SaGa franchise and went in a different direction, bringing serious synth rock in a fashion not seen since the glory days of the JDK Band, and was very well received.

The album was so well received that it’s getting a follow-up album with ten new arrangements, finally visiting the core SaGa series and SaGa Frontier. But does it live up to the success of the first Re:Birth II CD? Continue reading Review: Re:Birth II / Romancing SaGa Battle Arrange -Sen-