Judah “Dear Vocalist Xtreme Entry No.3” (Review)

Judah returns with a new single for Dear Vocalist’s Xtreme series. For the first time ever fans were gifted with a slow paced, melancholic release filled with ballads. This change in tone proved to be a winning formula.

Title: "Dear Vocalist Xtreme" Entry No.3 Judah
Label: Rejet
Release date: 16/05/2018
Genre: EDM/Rock/Ballad

Tracklist:

1 - (Dis)Appeared
2 - ロンギング
3 - the first impression [Drama]
4 - No message  [Drama]
5 - for you  [Drama]

Track by track analysis:

1 – (Dis)Appeared

(Dis)Appeared dives into new territory for Judah. To the sound of falling rain, a piano melody sets a melancholic tone for this instrumental. It’s the first-time fans get to listen to an EDM instrumental from Judah, artist that usually focuses on a big band and aggressive rock sound with strong guitar riffs and raw vocals. This time around, synths are main gear for this song, with even some dubstep elements taking the spotlight. Fret not, this is an unusual piece in his repertoire but strangely enough, not only it seems to fit, but it sounds incredibly well balanced and pleasing to the ears. So, don’t worry when there’s mention of EDM and Judah on the same sentence. The pacing for this song is rather slow, set by the core piano melody. That melody is supported by bass-y and washy synths, the latter being more common in the chorus. Guitar riffs make their entrance in the chorus and, from the second verse on, they are essential to balance this instrumental and add it a tough and raw touch to it. Dubstep drums are used to accent certain parts of the song instead of taking the whole spotlight to themselves, that alone makes this instrumental all the more pleasing to listen to.

If the blend between EDM and rock turned out sounding fresh, Soma Saito’s performance was there to add some well need gentleness to it. The verses are essentially using the simple piano + minimalistic synth formula, which allows him to perform those sections in a gentle fashion, making good use of his lower registry to trail each line smoothly. Easily one of the gentlest songs on Judah’s repertoire. 5/5

2 – ロンギング

Distant guitar licks and a memorable bass line slowly pave the way for the emotional “Longing”. Contrary to the previous song, that ventured through ballad territory yet with a foot on EDM, this track completely embraces the whole acoustic ballad sound that delivers a sweet, warm vibe. Simple, slow paced snary drums, melancholic guitar riffs, sweet acoustic guitar riffs, noticeable bass line and sweet piano melodies complete this lineup. Simplicity is key into making this song stand out. This is the first time that we find two things: a fully acoustic song and a textbook ballad. For someone that is used to Judah’s songs and, with each release, expects more exciting yet aggressive rock songs, this one will certainly come as a surprise. It is nothing like what he has in his repertoire. The instrumental is stripped down and the vocal performance is softer, pending more towards a sweet lullaby-ish tone filled of emotion. Yet another performance for the books. 5/5

Final rating:

The tone for this release is unusually gentle and quiet, a nice yet unexpected change from Judah’s trademark aggressive rock sound. Ballads made their way into this release and ruled it.

This is an album filled with new things. First ever EDM and acoustic songs, first time Judah releases an album filled with ballads, first time the vocal performances are as gentle as they ended up sounding. All these firsts introduced some new elements and depth to his repertoire, up until now filled with rock songs after rock songs and raw, edgy performances.

(Dis)Appeared is a song on the same wavelength – although not as rock driven – as the power ballad “Don’t Say GoodBye”, released in 2017 for the Dear Vocalist’s Riot series. Some might argue that this song falls far from Ballad territory however I believe that its progression, vocal performance, setting and lyrics, all point towards this song being one or at least it has the makings of a ballad, although it doesn’t fully materialize into one. EDM being brought to the table is a first on his repertoire. Thankfully, the way the EDM elements were put together, shaping this song, was tasteful. There are no excessive synths, ridiculous beats or weird melodies. Everything was crafted to make this song sound gentle – those washy synths and the soothing background pads played a bit role in this department – and dreamy – especially that piano melody -. The listener is already long entranced by the instrumental when Soma Saito comes barging in with a gentle performance backed by his lower registry.

The first ever acoustic ballad in his repertoire came by the hands of “Longing”. This song picked up where (Dis)Appeared had left, and let that emotional tone and quiet sound, clearly more focused on the vocals, take over. Everything about this song is on point. The pacing, simple instrumentalization, progression, vibe and the vocal performance, all contributed for the song’s top marks. On the vocal end, Saito tackled perfectly the emotional lyrics, giving a befitting poignant performance.

All in all, Judah’s take on Xtreme series is as unexpected as it is impressive. This is a consistent release – following well one concept and tone from start to finish – filled with unexpected yet fresh songs. Judah went outside of the comfort zone to deliver a perfect release.

“Dear Vocalist Xtreme” Entry No.3 Judah is available for purchase on CDJAPAN.

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One response to “Judah “Dear Vocalist Xtreme Entry No.3” (Review)

  1. Pingback: [Oricon Weekly] Buster Bros!!! & MAD TRIGGER CREW, MooNs, Judah and more impress on this week’s chart | The Hand That Feeds HQ·

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