Trignal “One Step Forward” (Review)


trignal

Trignal make their first 2015 release with their second mini-album “One Step Forward“. Did the unit consisting of Ryohei Kimura, Takuya Eguchi and Tsubasa Yonaga live up to the high expectations after the release of “so funny“? Check it out in this review.

Regular edition

Regular edition

Single: One Step Forward
Label: Kiramune
Release date: 17/06/15 
Genre: J-Pop

Tracklist:

1. 転生純愛ファイター  
2. KICKSTARTxTRIGGER  
3. GREAT ESCAPE PARTY 
4. ESCOLTA  
5. RAINBOW 
6. MISSION

Track by track analysis:

1. 転生純愛ファイター

Going back in time, Trignal picked up elements from their debut single “Party” with 転生純愛ファイター. Up-beat and bright, this track manages to spark some interest despite the obvious fact that the instrumental would sound way better without those synths. Exhibit A of that theory: listen to the bridge – when the trio is singing alongside the lonely piano they sound great, but when the synths kicked in things got cheesy and the vocal performances aren’t able to save the day on this one. Hyped way to kick off this mini-album, far from being their best track but it’s still bearable. 3.5/5

2. KICKSTARTxTRIGGER

A track that seems to be focused or specifically created for a live setting. It’s a track that grabs your attention, it’s exciting and has a strong, catchy chorus that begs you to sing along Trignal. The intrumental relies on bright guitar riffs, minimal synths, solid drumming and a sparkly bassline, a completely 360 in comparison with the previous track. As far as the instrumental goes, it sounds big, without any cringe worthy moments. The fact that the instrumental just screams “typical 90’s pop-rock”, just makes this track shine even more, its simplicity is major bonus. Regarding the vocal performances Trignal have managed to reach a point where they can sound great in whatever genre they sing (synths apart). Highlights: Eguchi in charge of rapping – can we say wow and please keep on rapping Eguchi -, Kimura in charge of the ad-libs – a total surprise with this choice but Kimura nailed those – and Yonaga, balancing the members’ vocals with his higher toned notes. As a whole KICKSTARTxTRIGGER seems to have triggered something in us. 5/5

3. GREAT ESCAPE PARTY

Rough guitar riffs, synths, a highly noticeable bass and synthetic drums give this track a electronic rock sound to go along with the pop lyrics. While the instrumental as a whole alone is one of the best Trignal have in their repertoire, the highlight goes to the powerful bridge that makes us beg for more with a delicious guitar solo. If we had to describe this track we’d probably go with: the pop version of GRANRODEO‘s “Dark Shame“.

The vocals range between the mid and higher tones, reaching higher notes in the chorus but still keeping the key and sounding in unisson. An enveloping vocal performance that added energy to the already great instrumental piece. 5/5

4. ESCOLTA

ESCOLTA (Portuguese/Spanish word for “escort”), keeps up the bright wave we’re riding on since the beginning of the mini-album. Sticking closer to the guitars and sharing the spotlight with the minimal synths and piano, this track litterally shines by itself as the simple instrumental piece built around the melodic guitar riffs and the bass lead the way. A sweet track with the trio professing their love in one of the most well balanced tracks in this release – saying that the unit is not only in synch but also managed to sing in the same key throughout the whole chorus is an understatement. Powerful vocal performance with the perfect instrumental to showcase it. 5/5

5. RAINBOW

And the first ballad of this release kicks in. RAINBOW show Trignal in a completely new light. They certainly aren’t power ballad singers per say but they fared impressively well on this track. With a song arrangement more inclined towards the rock genre but maintaining its pop identity, the instrumental manages to show us some power ballad moments with the emotional guitar playing throughout the song, shinning with its solo on the bridge – the perfect appetizer for any ballad fan. The emotional, grand vocal performance delivered by Eguchi, Kimura and Yonaga made us easily beg for more Trignal ballads on the next releases. 5/5

6. MISSION

Ending on a dance note, MISSION picks the synths for its center piece. With a mix between house, techno, dubstep and pop, this track shows us yet another side to Trignal‘s sound, a surprise in this release. Also this is the track that puts Trignal in the dance/dubstep train that every Kiramune artist has tried so far. Things are kept as danceable as possible without sacrificing Trignal‘s trademark brightness or turning it into a chessy parade.

And yes, it’s impossible not to dance along while listening to this track – we’re warning you! That bassline is deadly.

The vocal performance impressed once again. Eguchi once again in charge of rapping, sounding incredibly fluid with the beat, on the other side Kimura with his sweet lower toned ad-libs mesmerizes everyone and Yonaga sounds smooth and sexy in this “dancefloor anthem”. The perfect closer in this fabulous mini-album and an instant favorite in this mini-album. 5/5

Final rating:4.5 stars

One step forward is a slow starter but as soon as you reach KICKSTARTxTRIGGER things only manage to get greater.

Trignal really hit the jackpot with this release. While some of their debut elements are still around, the unit’s brightness hasn’t suffered throughout all the changes they’ve had in both “so funny” and now with “One Step Forward“.

The bass is unquestionably the main element for this unit’s sound as all their songs seem to have powerful, mesmerizing basslines. The guitars also seem to be getting more airtime and being more relevant in the instrumentals. The synths were always the base for Trignal‘s brightness, whether those are more or less chessy (we aren’t discussing the different levels of cheesiness or second hand embarrassement), they always bring something extra to the overall pieces. It’s good to finally listen to a “dancefloor anthem” track from this trio as well as a power ballad. These two surprises are great appetizers for anyone trying to give this unit a listen.

Vocally we’ve said it before but we’ll say it again: the incredible improvement to their vocals is clearly noticeable, Kimura once again takes the award of “most impressive performance” in this mini-album. Those ad-libs were to die for, something completely unexpected from him – the seiyuu turned singer that once struggled to maintain keys and control over his tone, now shines with his ad-libs and solo parts – what a transformation! On the other side Yonaga should also take some credits because of not only his smoothness, but also his ability to keep the unit’s vocals perfectly leveled. And Eguchi impressed with his rapping skills – another nice surprise in this release.

Regarding the highlight tracks in this release we have a problem: it’s hard to choose the “best track” in this release as it all depends on whether you like ballads, pop-rock tracks or dancefloor anthems. It comes down to a close fight between “Great Escape Party“, “RAINBOW” and “MISSION“, but the latter impressed the most as it was completely out of the box so there you have it: best track on this release is “MISSION“.

With Trignal keeping up the momentum they earned with the success of “so funny” (reached #7 on Oricon charts), and now releasing this powerful mini-album it’s safe to say that this will be one of the best releases of 2015 and will put the unit in the fight for the place of best selling and most successful seiyuu unit. The expectations are now set high for the next release and we couldn’t be more excited for it.

Our advice: Grab a copy of “One Step Forward” like your life depends on it. Trignal‘s best mini-album and a close best release with their “so funny” is completely worth your time.

One step forward” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

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