GACKT- Last Moon (Review)

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After waiting for 7 years, Gackt final has released his newest album, LAST MOON, the proof that this is the end of his samurai era/concept This album has many tracks that were already released in singles such as P.S I Love U暁月夜 -DAY BREAKERS-, Arrow, just to name a few. So without any further ado, let’s get this review started.

More details regarding the album:

Regular edition
Album: Last Moon
Label: Nippon Crown
Release Date: 27/04/16
Genre: J-rock

Tracklist:

1
ARROW
2
HANA MO CHI YU
3
RETURNER -YAMI NO SHUUEN-
4
RIDE OR DIE
5
AKATSUKI TSUKIYO -DAY BREAKERS-
6
ZAN
7
KAIRAI GA SHIKU
8
ONE MORE KISS
9
WOOHA BABY!!-WOOHA-
10
KOI NO FRIDAY!!!
11
KIMI DAKE NO BOKU DE IRU KARA
12
P.S. I LOVE U
13
SETSUGEKKA -THE END OF SILENCE-

Track by track analysis:

1- ARROW

Arrow kicks off with a melodic guitar that gives off a dark yet heavy vibe. Although the instrumental is good it seems it doesn’t have the usual energy that Gackt‘s delivers to us fans. He, as usual, doesn’t fail a single note and sort of gives Arrow a glorious and grandiose twist to the instrumental. This track has a pretty simple instrumental until you reach the bridge of the song, that’s when we have the orchestral elements, such as the violins, make their way into the instrumental, however we cannot forget other elements like the typical guitar that we all know so well from Blue Lagoon (Shinkai) or Ghost, just to name a few examples. Gackt is the one ending this beautiful part of the track with an amazing falsetto that he uses afterwards a few more times. Arrow is a good example of what a good mix between orchestral and rock elements is without it sounding overcrowded.  4.5/5

See full review of Arrow

2- HANA MO CHI YU

A dark, heavy instrumental is presented to us, right from the beginning, with a shakuhachi in the background blending the rock elements with the traditional ones, that in this case makes one think about samurais. A fast paced instrumental is the outcome of this intro. The typical double-bassed drums performance and the heavy guitar riffs plus Gackt’s crystal clear high pitched notes, that are always on point, are the main elements in this tracks instrumental piece, still we cannot forget the shakuhachi that is more noticeable at times. The strings were a good mix and really show the contrast between the guitar and the orchestral elements, a mix that Gackt never fails to do well. 5/5

3- RETURNER -YAMI NO SHUUEN-

Heavy guitar riffs with some electronic elements on the background plus the heavy drums are the highlight in this track’s instrumental piece, alongside with Gackt‘s vocal performance that never fails. The orchestral elements only made this track even more grandiose, however we cannot forget that Gackt’s vocal performance was, as always, on point. In this track we can listen to some parts similar to Shinkai (Blue Lagoon). Once again the traditional elements were well incorporated in the track’s instrumental. 5/5 

4- RIDE OR DIE

Your typical Gackt song. A fast paced song from start to finish with its heavy and aggressive guitar riffs and double bassed drums RIDE OR DIE has all the good rock elements that were missing in the previous track. Standing out in this track we have the extremely noticeable bass throughout the song making this track a complete opposite from the previous one in all aspects except for the fact that Gackt’s voice once again never fails to impress. 4/5

See full review of P.S I Love U

5- AKATSUKI TSUKIYO -DAY BREAKERS-

Kicking of only with the piano and then adding the rest of the instrumental, 暁月夜 -DAY BREAKERS- shows us from the beginning that it is a much more melodic song than one would’ve thought. Gackt starts singing with his powerful vibrato  mixed with the piano just makes one get goosebumps while listening to the track. When we reach to the chorus the once melodic and slow song turns into one that has a little more of rock elements making us remember of 白露-HAKURO- with the buildup that explodes in the chorus in this both songs. This is without a doubt the type of song that brings out the full potential of Gackt‘s vocals. After a chorus with guitars and drums that stand out, the instrumental of this piece until the end will have those elements incorporated in it as well as shakuhachi bringing this song together almost making the listener remember an of samurai. 5/5 

See full review of -暁月夜 -DAY BREAKERS-

6- ZAN

Fast drums, the shakuhachi and the heavy guitar make this track’s instrumental and unlike the other tracks the bass is very noticeable. The chorus has speedy drums, heavy guitar, the bass and some orchestral elements. The solo really has just the right mix between the guitar and the percussion. One thing that is very repetitive in this track is the constant ZAN shout that is just too much and draws away the attention from the instrumental that is good and fast. 4/5 

7- KAIRAI GA SHIKU

Unlike the previous tracks, this one has a mix between rock, electronic, orchestral elements, which surprisingly enough aren’t that bad, despite the fact that Gackt‘s vocal performance was manipulated, but when we reach the chorus that doesn’t happen. The guitar riffs resemble the ones in Ghost, making one remember the more electronica oriented songs from Gackt. The guitar solo is really grandiose since not only it has that orchestra playing in the background but at the same time it has that guitar  with just the right heaviness to it. 5/5 

8- ONE MORE KISS

This track was already featured previously. Starting off with a calm and clear piano and strings we have ONE MORE KISS, a track that quickly changes into a fast paced rock oriented instrumental. This is one of the many tracks in which we can see how well Gackt manages to mix the orchestral elements with his “sound” and how he creates a grandiose instrumental at the same time creating such harmony between the two genres. This fast paced track has the speedy drums and the melodic yet heavy guitar. 5/5 

9- WOOHA BABY!!-WOOHA-

Relying on the choir and the orchestral percussion we have a track that quickly turns into a electronic/rock track, something that you wouldn’t expected after the previous tracks. Something that is a real shame in this track is the manipulation in Gackt‘s vocals but other than that the instrumental is fast paced and has the highlight completely directed to the fast drums and the choir that are constantly appearing here and there. 4/5

10- KOI NO FRIDAY!!!

Starting off with Gackt saying something as if he was performing live in a small place, we have the stage laid out for the heavy guitar and the drums, the two instruments that seem to be on battle and “solo mode” from begin to end. This track has lot of energy and most likely would be perfect to be performed live, since it makes one scream along with the voices that appear once in a while. 4/5

11- KIMI DAKE NO BOKU DE IRU KARA

Starting like the listener is in the city listening to Gackt‘s accapela while the cars pass by, we have a slightly different track. The guitars and the drums plus the bass show us that this track’s instrumental is less orchestral, but that is true only until you reach the chorus, after that we have once again the guitars that really grab the listeners attention plus the orchestra elements. The outro has a more orchestral instrumental and also has more grandiosity which is something that we know Gackt for. 5/5

12- P.S. I LOVE U

This song begins with a sweet piano telling us that this song is a ballad. The violins give the song a sad yet romantic touch to it and as always Gackt’s voice never fails to shine with that amazing vibrato. This song is extremely slow paced until reaching the outro where the song gains new life with the guitars and drums almost like bursting all emotions. Gradually, the song gets more and more emotional with Gackt’s voice with those pleading high notes. Good mix between the strings and the rock elements. We have a melodic guitar solo followed by his god like voice. By the end of the song you notice that it almost feels like you were listening to a love letter being read out loud, letting the emotions sink in with the melodic piano. The perfect start to the perfect finish. It’s an unexpectedly good ballad. 5/5

See full review of P.S I Love U

13- SETSUGEKKA -THE END OF SILENCE-

To kick off this album we have a track 2009, Setsugekka- the end of silence- and we must say it couldn’t have been a better choice to end this album. With a piano and stings, we have the perfect atmosphere created for the shakuhachi and the orchestral drums to come in to the picture. Gackt‘s vocal performance is on point and is the main focus, since the instrumental is minimal while he is singing. The chorus has the bass, guitar and the rest of the elements from the intro, but while all of them are mixed the result is pure harmony. 5/5

Final rating: 4.5 stars

Last Moon is a great album with lots of tracks that are really good and heavy. Arrow, HANA MO CHI YU, RETURNER -YAMI NO SHUUEN- are just three of the best track in the album, all with more or less the same elements in their instrumental. This tracks have a dark, heavy instrumental but also have the orchestral elements that Gackt usually uses, such as shakuhachi, that are like his trademark. This elements are also what show us how well performed the mix between the rock and orchestral elements is done, something that sometimes is difficult to do.

In  KIMI DAKE NO BOKU DE IRU KARA and AKATSUKI TSUKIYO -DAY BREAKERS- we can mention this tracks as them both being good examples to explain how well Gackt sounds with a more orchestral instrumental, it is this types of tracks that really bring out the best of him, instrumental or vocal wise, be it for his crystal clear, top notch vocal performance that Gackt elivers to the fans each and every time or be it for the instrumentals that are always grandiose. Of course, we cannot forget ONE MORE KISS and SETSUGEKKA -THE END OF SILENCE- plus P.S I Love U, some other tracks that are also majestic and really prove how talented Gackt is.

KOI NO FRIDAY!!!, WOOHA BABY!!-WOOHA-, ZAN and RIDE OR DIE are probably the tracks in this album with the less good instrumentals, be it for some parts in the track that were repetitive, like it is the case with ZAN, or songs like KOI NO FRIDAY!!!, that seem out of place in this album. Nevertheless, this tracks are not bad, they just don’t mix well together with the rest of the tracks in the album.

All in all, this album was really good and let’s be honest, Gackt has not released an album for 7 years, so it was more than expected for the fans to be expecting something really good from him. Although there were some tracks that seemed out of place/ cut the momentum, in general we have a good album with lots of quality tracks. Let’s hope that in the future Gackt continues to release amazing songs and that the fans won’t have to wait another 7 years for another album.

Last Moon is already available for purchase for all overseas fans on CDJAPAN.

Last Moon / GACKT
GACKT
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Author: Nadine Silva

Reviewer and News editor at The Hand That Feeds HQ since 2012. Based in Portugal. Translation graduate. Hobbyist piano player.