THRIVE “Chokan Destiny” (Review)

THRIVE are back with new music. “Chokan Destiny” takes the trio to new territory, softening their sound and focusing more on sounding smoother than ever. With a solid title track and three engaging, contrasting solo songs showing the unit’s charms, this release will pique your interest in a heartbeat.

Title: Chokan Destiny
Label: 5pb.records
Release date: 18/03/2018
Genre: J-Pop/Dance/Rock

Tracklist:

1 - 超感デスティニー
2 - Lonely Fangs (performed by Toshiyuki Toyonaga)
3 - ALL RIGHT!! (performed by Natsuki Hanae)
4 - LOVE GAME (performed by Kazuki Kato)
5 - 超感デスティニー -off vocal-
6 - Lonely Fangs -off vocal-
7 - ALL RIGHT!! -off vocal-
8 - LOVE GAME -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

1 – 超感デスティニー

Chokan Destiny falls a bit far from THRIVE‘s trademark sound. It’s a slow paced electronic pop song with some rock accents. With a more careful approach to their sound, fans are now presented with funky guitar riffs in the verses, a solid electric guitar solo in the bridge, and a simple, slow paced beat mixed with some dubstep-ish samples in the verses, on top of a rather simple synth lead mixed a noticeable bassline. That synth lead might come off a bit annoying during the verses to some, that is, if you pay too much attention to it, otherwise, this instrumental is close to perfect. The instrumental is completely different from what THRIVE have released in the past, a nice change of pace that mixes the trio’s edgy and sexy vibes. On the vocal end, THRIVE are their usual selves, delivering quality performances. The song is sang in a comfortable key, with all members relying more on their mid-tones and in adding an alluring but powerful touch to their performances. There’s still some place for some vibrato but that is clearly not the focus for this performance. As a whole, Chokan Destiny is a solid song to kick off this mini-album with. 4.5/5

2 – Lonely Fangs

The first solo song belongs to Goushi Kaneshiro (Toyonaga Toshiyuki) with “Lonely Fangs“. This song strays away from THRIVE‘s trademark sound, embracing a simple rock sound and leaving synths in the background for the most part. This song encompasses THRIVE‘s passionate and fiery side through a completely different approach to the whole composition of the song. Forget all about THRIVE‘s trademark sound, for this song you’re welcomed with a simple, mid-tempo rock track that leaves synths in the background in favor of a more “live” sound, bringing piano melodies and live drums into the mix to deliver an engaging and “whole band” feel. With exciting guitar riffs, memorable bass lines, washy drums and thunderous guitar riffs, this song is packed with passion, something that will certainly resonate with the listener. Vocally, Toshiyuki Toyonaga finds himself in the middle of tricky lyrics to tackle. There’s abundance of English lines, leading to awkward pronunciations and slurring, something that doesn’t go especially well when everything it is meant to be performed at an upper tempo than usual. Although those are sections occupy a little bit of the song, we still found them too distracting. Other than that, Toyonaga‘s performance brought a raw element to the table, challenging all notes in an imposing way. Despite some hiccups on the vocal performance, this song still stands strong on this release. 4/5

3 – ALL RIGHT!!

Next one up for his solo performance is Yuta Ashuu (Natsuki Hanae) with the bubbly pop song “ALL RIGHT!!“. Funky guitar riffs and synths lead the way for this tune, setting a bright, welcoming vibe. Contrary to what usually happens on THRIVE‘s songs, there are no dubstep elements on this instrumental and the synths are only used to set a certain vibe instead of leading the way. Think of this song as a simple bright pop song with some rock elements in the mix. This instrumental might not be the cup of tea for most fans of this unit, that are used to a sexy, powerful sound coming from this unit. However, if you like this contrasting upbeat vibe, with a warm instrumental and sweet lyrics, then you’re in for a treat. The vocal department finds Hanae performing this song in a slightly different key and tone than what we’re used to. His performance was lively, making that warm, sweet vibe come to life. Without much technicality required, this ended up being a rather comfortable performance for him. A bundle of fun to brighten your day. 4.5/5

4 – LOVE GAME

If you were missing THRIVE‘s sexy side and sound, Kento Aizome (Kazuki Kato) is here to represent it. Old school synth pads, saw synths, atmospheric synth pads, vocoder, funky guitar riffs and a simple progressive snary beat are at the core of this summery pop tune. The instrumental features a break in which past and present mixes – dubstep-ish synths and 90’s inspired french electronica synths battle it out in what is a refreshing section. The pacing for this song is rather slow even though the synths seem to indicate otherwise. On the vocal end it comes as no surprise that Kazuki Kato‘s performance is smooth as butter. Everything in his performance was flawless, he not only fit with the vibe of the song, but he also made the instrumental his rather quick. For fans of Kato‘s well known vibrato and falsetto, this performance has plenty of those flourishes. Bonus points for his crescendos in the chorus that were something we weren’t expecting on this song. Easily the best song on this release. If you’re craving a good summery song with vocals that will have you asking for more, this is the tune. Top marks. 5/5

Final rating:

THRIVE have changed quite a bit their sound for this mini-album. “Chokan Destiny” encompasses the unit’s strengths in a bundle of songs that will cater to completely different groups of fans.

Starting for the solo songs, you’ll notice that each solo song represents the unit’s core elements: power, brightness/warmth and sexiness. Those contrasting elements belong to three completely different members that, together are THRIVE, B-Project‘s alluring electronic pop trio. Consistency hasn’t been the forte for this unit, this isn’t a bad thing though. Over the years there have been several direction changes to their sound that have been instrumental to make certain elements or vocals standout. No matter how different their songs end up sounding, fans can always find THRIVE‘s songs through their slick alluring performances.

We found this mini-album to have some of the easiest songs – as in “easy listening” – to appeal to new fans. There’s no excess dubstep elements – a constant on all of B-Project‘s units -, and it seems that everything was crafted this time around to make the unit’s charms stand out more beyond that “they sound sexy” thought that is on everyone’s minds while listening to their songs. Their powerful side is clearly represented by Goushi Kaneshiro’s (Toyonaga Toshiyuki) “Lonely Fangs“, adding a rock vein to this group, a well needed edgy, hot blooded side to THRIVE‘s sound. We also have that underlying bubbly, warm side that is represented by Yuta Ashuu (Natsuki Hanae), two feelings that doesn’t usually come across in THRIVE‘s songs. Finding a song like “ALL RIGHT!!” on this release was a surprise for us, taking into account that THRIVE are far from being a group in charge of being bubbly and upbeat. And we shouldn’t forget about sexy incarnate, Kento Aizome (Kazuki Kato). “LOVE GAME” was the only song that was predictable, at least theme wise. The laidback, alluring, passionate, and at the same time delicate sides to THRIVE come from his performances, and “LOVE GAME” is perfect example.

Now, lets talk a bit about the title track before we wrap up this review. “Chokan Destiny” found THRIVE in new territory. The unit, used to their trademark heavy synth based sound and unusual, dubstep-ish instrumentals stepped into easy-listening territory for a funky dance-pop tune that captured our attention for its fresh approach and addictive melodies. While not the best song this trio has released, it’s easily the one we find on their repertoire that has the most comfortable performances.

All in all, THRIVE embraced a new sound, showing everyone their versatility, their rich, well versed vocals (they have, hands down, the best lineup in the franchise) and, what we think is the main point of this release, showing everyone that a group formed with polarizing charms works as well solo as they do as a unit. Filled with great songs and consistent performances that cater to all tastes, “Chokan Destiny” is yet another top release to add to THRIVE‘s repertoire.

超感デスティニー” (Chokan Destiny) is available for purchase on CDJAPAN.

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4 responses to “THRIVE “Chokan Destiny” (Review)

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