Takuma Terashima “Prism” (Review)

terashima prism

Takuma Terashima is back with a new album, “PRISM” intends to follow its predecessor “New Game” with a new sound an aproach to Terashima‘s music.

Let’s kick off with some details regarding this release.

prism

Single: PRISM
Release date: 29/10/2014
Label: Lantis
Genre: Pop-rock

Tracklist:

01. overture II (INST)
02. lunar orbit
03. SCARLET SIGN
04. Prismatic World
05. DRIVE!
06. magic words(2014 NEW MIX)
07. interlude II (INST)
08. JUMBLE TOWN
09. existence
10. 雨に笑えば
11. スターテイル
12. silent stride

Track by track analysis:

01. overture II (INST)

A retro game 8 bit track leads the way to this second album and, although it is an intro the track is strangely catchy. Let’s kick off this album!

02. lunar orbit

Starting off with a heavy industrial rock instrumental focused on heavy and dirty synths, “lunar orbit” shows us a track with full potential to be a dancefloor breaker but… it just fails to be a cohesive track. We have a Sitar, synths, synthetic drums as part of the instrumental piece and those sound great but the big issue is the chorus, that weak chorus that almost kills off the track. “lunar orbit” had a lot of potential to be a great track if only the chorus wasn’t that passive, slow paced and weirdly composed. What could have been the best track in the album simply didn’t manage to build any enthusiasm for the rest of the album, coming off as the worst track on it. 2/5

03. SCARLET SIGN

Scarlet sign” is big, loud, aggressive, more hardrock than any of Terashii’s previous releases. This completely raw sound, more believable, more “eye catchy” and bold is what will attract and grab you from the very beginning of the song. Going through a breakdown of the instruments we have to underline that the bassline is so strong and noticeable that even the most oblivious and untrained ears will notice it. Going with the imposing bass together with the aggressive guitar riffs instead of the good ol’ synths, we have the strings doing their incredible job blending well with the tendentially aggressiveness given by the rest of of the instruments. The pre-chorus demands extra work for Terashima that, without any problems, delivers verse after verse with a fierce and powerful demeanor. The chorus takes a different turn from all that aggressiveness and showcases us a pop-rock strings-driven melody giving a certain aura of “grandiosity” to it. Only thing lacking on such a powerful track is a guitar or bass solo but we get neither so that is kind of a downside to the track. But all in all we have all the ingredients to build a great track. 4.5/5

04. Prismatic World

The promotional single to support this album’s promotion is finally here. “Prismatic World” goes towards a more mid-tempo, bright pop-rock sound breaking the wave that both the rock and electronica from the previous tracks dictated. In a track that is intended to make the listener have fun, this track resorts to the typical rock triad alongside blowing instruments (trumpets mainly) and the piano to add to the this electrifying track. The outro sounds incredibly powerful with both the piano and the guitar having their time to shine in their solos. On the vocal side, Terashima shows us a solid vocal performance full of energy, the ultimate element to make this track one of the solidest of the album. 4/5 

05. DRIVE!

And we’re back to the rocking tracks. “Drive!” starts full throttle and keeps on going with hits and bits of classic rock elements provided by the clap tracks and the minimal synths in the background. It’s a rock track through and through with lots of guitar showdowns, a heavy bass and unstopabble drums. It’s fast, agressive, assertive and fun from start to finish. A track where Terashima is on his best form, rock has always been the genre in which he sounds best and this track is no exception. Fun and engaging. 4/5

06. magic words(2014 NEW MIX)

2012’s debut single. “magic words” receives a minimal face lift in this new mix. This mild pop rock track features strings, acoustic guitars to give a more “stripped” look but at a first listen there hasn’t been a thing changed between both versions which is strange to say the least – if it’s a new mix it should show us a new approach to this track or something close to some changes – but the only thing that really has changed is the quality of the overall performance. Terashima sounds way better than on the original version, the instruments also sound clearer which is a plus. Let’s just say that this track was upgraded but without any big changes. It was a good track so it stays like that. 4/5

07. interlude II (INST)

The next stage in this game that is “PRISM” is provided by yet again another 8-bit track reminding us of those old-school games. Second half of the album here we go!

08. JUMBLE TOWN

An here resides the big surprise in this album. “JUMBLE TOWN” is a funky, 70’s/80’s disco track. Surprisingly it might not sound like a thing that would fit with Terashima‘s singing but it gits incredibly well. The bass, synthetic drums and the synths lead the way in this track that has a little more of edge added by the funky saxophone. The chorus is addictive without being annoying or repetitive, it fun galore in here my friends! Another highlight in this track is the outro that provides us with a fabulous melodic saxophone solo. In the instrumental side we have all the good elements, enough to make this a great track the best of the album. Top performance with lots of fun while reminiscing of the 70’s/80’s. 5/5

09. existence

R.O.N makes an appearance in this album with his trademark guitar work. The former OLDCODEX guitarist gives us an electrifying rock track in a powerful collaboration with Terashima. It’s aggressive, entertaining and a good track to go against the flow of the previous tracks. The guitar is the main feature in this track but the bass also is one of the plus parts in this track, the bassline leads the way to all the other instruments and adds aggressiveness to the explosive drums. Terashima does his job well with a befitting vocal performance, managing to keep up with the powerful rhythm dictated by the instrumental track. 4.5/5

10. 雨に笑えば

Breaking the pace comes “Ame ni waraeba“. This is a mild pop track more focused on the smooth drums, piano and acoustic guitars, with some rain sound effects in the background adding a soothing element to this carefree track. A beautiful, yet simple track that fits like a glove in this second half of the album. Terashima really sang his heart out on this one, and it sounded great. 4.5/5

11. スターテイル

2013’s mini-album title track “Star Tail” is also featured in here. “Star Tail” is yet another rocking track to add to this album. What was probably one of Terashima‘s best singles taken from his mini-album comes to this album to add an extra edge that overall was missing. It’s not an all out rock track like “SCARLET SIGN” but it has a powerful instrumental resorting to aggressive guitar riffs, strong drums and reverberating bass, all of that alongside the almost unnoticeable piano in the background. Out of the already known tracks featured on this album this one is the best. 5/5

12. silent stride

And to complete this journey we’re presented with a jazzy track. “silent stride” is classy, minimal jazz track with some 90’s electronica elements provided by the almost unnoticeable synths. The piano is the main engine in this track, giving plenty of room for Terashima‘s vocals to shine and that’s exactly what he did on this track. He sounds great and comfortable with both his highs and lows and, alongside this jazzy instrumental he sounds slick and classy. A perfect combination and an interesting way to end this album. 5/5

Final rating: 4 stars

PRISM” has an original bundle of ideas, some pretty good, some pretty bad but it managed to grab our attention when we reached the second half of the album. The big highlights in this album are definitely the funky “JUMBLE TOWN“,  the mild pop track “雨に笑えば” and the rocking “スターテイル“. Clearly showing that the second half of the album is clearly stronger than the shaky beginning with “lunar orbit”. All in all, Terashima sounds like his usual self, showing us powerful aggressive performances as well as sweet, technical ones.

In the end “PRISM” is an interesting album but definitely not his best so far.

Finally, we leave you with the full album snippets.

PRISM 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.