Alice Nine “Shining” (Review)

A9

“The band has matured and showed us their growth and experience gained throughout the years in this single.”

Alice Nine prepare the path to their album release in March with this month’s single release. Titled “Shining”, the band’s 28th single is now out. With elements ranging from the Rock, pop and progressive rock this band keeps everyone on their toes with their electrifying songs. You’re in for a ride with Alice Nine from the very beginning of this single. 

“Shining” is available in three different editions: regular type A, regular type B and limited edition Type A. Each edition has its tracklist:

Alice nine
Regular Edition / Type B
Single: Shining
Label: Universal
Release Date: 26/02/2014
Genre: J-Rock

Tracklist for each edition:

[Regular Edition / Type A]

1 - SHINING
2 - from KURAYAMI
3 - Tsubasa -reprise-
4 - SHINING (inst)
5 - from KURAYAMI (inst)

[Regular Edition / Type B] 

1 - SHINING
2 - from KURAYAMI
3 - jelly fish-reprise-
4 - SHINING (inst)
5 - from KURAYAMI (inst)

Limited Edition

1 - SHINING
2 - from KURAYAMI
3 - SHINING (inst)
4 - from KURAYAMI (inst)

Here at the THTF HQ’s we’ve reviewed the regular edition / Type B.

1 – Shining

With a bassy intro “Shining” comes off as a great track with pretty good instrumentalization and overall solid work. Hiroto and Tora’s guitars are quick, fierce, drawing so much power and energy to the track; Saga’s bass playing is dazzling as always from start to finish setting the high-paced rhythm alongside the technical,  highly snare-focused drum playing throughout a big part of the song. On the chorus all the instruments explode making the already energetic song turn into a full throttle one. The electronica elements given by the synths, slightly unnoticeable for the untrained ear, give the track that extra edge taking the song to another level in the outro. Taking our focus from the instrumentalization to the vocal work we only can say good things about it. Shou sounds fresh making the perfect blend with the instrumental piece. 4/5

2 – from KURAYAMI 

from KURAYAMI” breaks the pace dictated by the full throttle “Shining“. A track more focused on Shou’s vocals than the previous one, showcasing how good Shou sounds since the band’s formation in 2004. This is a slow paced track until we reach the chorus where both guitars, bass and the drums completely overwhelm us, exploding altogether. In comparison with the chorus the rest of the verses sound incredibly tender but even on those “quiet” parts we have the band showcasing their strengths in the best way possible with guitar solos delivered by Tora and the almost isolated, on “solo-mode” bass played by none other than Saga. A track that delivers so much emotion not only in the quieter parts given to make Shou shine but also the aggressive chorus that passes so quickly by us making us yearn for more. By far the highlight of the single. 5/5

3 – jelly fish-reprise- 

With Saga on the helm leading the band’s sound comes another slower, gentler track but with an incredibly good build up to the chorus. The drums and the melodic guitars alongside the bass lead the way to the aggressive chorus. Shou’s highs and lows are at their best drawing so much power from the song, taking our attention off of him and turning towards the band we found great guitar work delivered with a highly melodic touch, an impressive solo in the outro towards the final chorus and overall solid drum work. A track that is so good without being and using “mainstream” elements. We get a more alternative, laid back vibe from this track especially in the first verses leading to the chorus contrasting with the rather usual upbeat pop-rock the band has delivered in previous singles. 5/5

Final rating: 4.5/5

The band has matured and showed us their growth and experience gained throughout the years in this single. Alice Nine is one of those J-Rock bands that keep impressing time after time with their sound delivering us heavily emotional songs ranging from the slow-paced to the fast-paced ones, but not only emotional, also extremely entertaining and fun tracks. Alice Nine’s strengths are being put to good use in this single: Saga shows us once again why he’s the master behind the bass delivering us intricate and highly noticeable basslines leading all the instruments towards their destination; Tora always manages to deliver all kinds of guitar solos, from the most melodic to the fast-paced, piercing ones, he can and manages to be always a vital part of the sound in A9. Hiroto and Nao keep the band in check making a big, if not the most important part in the band shaping the band’s sound; to add the cherry on the top of this band we have Shou giving us solid, powerful vocal performances time after time.

A band that has built and grown around the development of those strengths and with that has more than proven their stance and guaranteed their own place between some of today’s J-Rock big names. This single comes off as a big improvement in comparison with the digitally released “開戦前夜 / Exist” that failed to impress to say the least.

Can we get excited with next month’s release? Taking everything into equation it’s safe to say: Yes, we can. If “Supernova” has some of this single’s strengths and elements further explored we can expect a great album.

Shining” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

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Author: midorin

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. After 6 months in Macau SAR, I am back to being based in Cascais, Portugal. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to completely dedicate myself to writing about male seiyuu music.