MIKOTO “Gekka no Uta wa Kage Yori mo Kuroku” (Review)

mikoto
© 2016 5pb.

MIKOTO has finally made his long awaited comeback with “Gekka no Uta wa Kage Yori mo Kuroku”, his second single. The stakes are higher this time around with MIKOTO exploring more and incorporating impressive elements on his sound. More artistic and musically challenging, “Gekka no Uta wa Kage Yori mo Kuroku” might just be what you’re looking for.

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Single: Gekka no Uta wa Kage Yori mo Kuroku
Label: 5pb records
Release date: 23/03/2016
Genre: J-Rock

Tracklist:

1 月下の唄は影よりも黒く
2 絶えざる花
3 蒼い散華
4 月下の唄は影よりも黒く off vocal
5 絶えざる花 off vocal
6 蒼い散華 off vocal

Track by track analysis:

1 月下の唄は影よりも黒く

This track is featured as the opening theme for 百花百狼 〜戦国忍法帖〜 (Hyaku hana hyaku ōkami 〜 sengoku ninpō jō 〜).  With powerful bassy drums, a provocative tension building guitar solo, shredding riffs, and prominent bass as well as some shamisen and piano touches to pretty the song up, 月下の唄は影よりも黒く shows us a MIKOTO with a completely different approach to his sound. He’s marring his trademark high throttle rock sound with traditional elements and it pulls it off amazingly. The overall sound is richer with a whole lot going on on the background than what you can notice on a first listen. And that is essentially one of the first changes you notice from his debut single. On the other side and also as a change of pace, the vocals are barely clean. The muffled effect to his vocals gives a nice touch to the energetic instrumental. 4.5/5

2 絶えざる花

MIKOTO gives one of the most memorable performances ever with this song. 絶えざる花 is a ballad track where speed and power mean nothing. Resorting to a sweet piano melody as the background, the track evolves to a classic showcase of what is a textbook traditional Japanese ballad. With strings shiffting from ensemble to solo, shamisen, shakuhachi flute as well as, to build up the emotion, the sentimental drums and melodic guitar solo this instrumental piece alone deserves to be praised. The vocals are simply outstanding. The raw emotion in his performance is breathtaking. Can we also talk about how flawlessly his falsetto‘s are? MIKOTO is known for his nasal voice with high technicity when it comes to execute high notes – the main reason why his done backing vocals to lots of mid-toned singers with sweet voice tones. 絶えざる花 really showcases his strengths. The falsetto‘s serve as a means to build up tension, his high notes build up emotion and leave us mesmerized. In terms of vocal execution this track is the best track MIKOTO has performed. A perfect rendition of the Japan’s traditional high quality enka.  5/5

3 蒼い散華

A haunting piano melody and minimal synth pads open up this power ballad overflowing with emotion. While the first minutes into the song are stripped up, MIKOTO and a piano alone accompaning him, showcase his melancholic mid toned vocals. Things change drastically as the main melody explodes in the chorus with the addition of the sorrowful guitar riffs, slow paced drums and thunderous bass. The shamisen and shakuhachi flute join this track in between the verses and chorus to enrich the already powerfully emotional instrumental piece. In the bridge we’re presented with a breathtaking classic slow paced guitar solo to finish up the song in perfect fashion. Vocally this track simply is impressive, MIKOTO is really on the point with his mid tones and emotion build up throughout the song. The end result: this is a heartbreakingly beautiful song. 5/5

Final rating:4.5 stars

His solo career is only starting but all his previous work with other artists / projects has made quite an impression in us. MIKOTO is, for us, an unavoidable name when it comes to rising, talented composers with a top talent to perform. For a man skilled as a composer / arranger, his vocal talents are something that each and every time impress us. He’s adept of melodic parts where his high notes and falsetto can shine best.

His guitar playing talents are also something to point out. He’s a good rhythmic guitarist that easily shifts between power chords to jazzy melodies but it’s when we get to those guitar solos that we’re far more impressed. He knows exactly how much tension he needs to add to the solo to make us shiver, get excited or make a mess out of our emotions.

This release although less high throttle rock driven than “Accepted Blood“, is far more technical and aesthetically rich. It’s a visual single where each song really sets a scape for us, listeners. You close your eyes and travel time with his traditional ballad with enka influences in 絶えざる花,  you can feel the burden and raw emotion like if you were in a drama on 蒼い散華, it’ll certainly put you close to tears, and you certainly will have a good time with the title track.

Complete and aesthetically pleasing, Gekka no Uta wa Kage Yori mo Kuroku is a top release and the perfect follow up to “Accepted Blood“.

月下の唄は影よりも黒く (Gekka no Uta wa Kage Yori mo Kuroku) is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

Author: Vanessa Silva (midorin)

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Metalhead. Gamer. Based in Cascais, Portugal. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to start writing about male seiyuu music.