SolidS “Unmei o koeru”Venga” (Review)

SolidS wrap up their batch of songs for TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION with the dramatic Unmei o koeru”Venga”. Rich vocals with a new duo as the center piece, focus on acoustic elements, and a dramatic tone are just some of the greeting cards for what is yet another outstanding performance from this talented quartet.

Title: 運命を越える"Venga"
Label: Tsukipro/Movic
Release date: 27/04/2018
Genre: Pop-Rock

Tracklist:

1 - 運命を越える"Venga"

Track analysis:

1 – 運命を越える”Venga” (Unmei o koeru “Venga”)

運命を越える”Venga” (starting from here I’ll be referring to this song as “Venga”) is yet another song that trails new territory for SolidS. For those that followed the anime series and the music releases from this unit, you might have noticed that the quartet kept pushing the envelope with each release, bringing to the table songs that you’d never bet they’d tackle – taking into account past releases -, as well as delivering unexpected performances always aiming to impress the listeners with their growth and versatility.

While “Burny!!!” was all about firing up the listener with fast paced melodies and groovy rap, “Oka Ranman” brought the beauty of Japan to life in a delicate and mesmerizing way and “Back on Track” took everyone on a laidback summer trip, in which electronica took over; “Venga” comes in dramatic fashion, bringing back their trademark rock sound to wrap up their perfect streak of releases for the anime series.

The keyword for this instrumental is undoubtedly “acoustic“. While this is far from being a fully acoustic song, you won’t help but to first notice that there’s a major focus on acoustic elements. Acoustic guitars lead the way and help setting the melancholic tone that is later fully developed by dramatic strings and delicate piano melodies. Listeners will be thoroughly impressed with the long, ethereal bridge. Another highlight on this instrumental is the bass line. It is virtually impossible not to notice its tasteful bass line. Soothing atmospheric pads and distant guitar licks created a mesmerizing vibe in the verses, making for a stunning backdrop for the impressive vocal performances. The chorus embraces slow paced snare-y drums, delicate strings, and crafty guitar riffs, all contributing to enhance this instrumental’s emotional charge and output. Basically, this song is nothing alike what we can find on SolidS‘ repertoire. Certainly, there are some similar elements in previous songs, however a composition like this one is a first. Looking back, acoustic elements were far from being important, strings were seldom featured and this kind of dramatic tone is clearly new for them. This is a welcomed addition to their repertoire, fitting strangely well with the group’s image as well as with their vocals.

The dramatic tone set by the instrumental needed to be led by powerful yet contrasting tones. For that, Yuichiro Umehara and Natsuki Hanae were the ones chosen as the center pieces.

While both might seem like an odd pair to lead a song – mostly due to their polarizing tones -, they were exactly what this song needed to reach the heights it did. As much as everyone enjoys the usual EguchiSaito leading duo that excels into making everything sound suggestive, it was about time we had something fresh and unexpected on the vocal end that would showcase others’ capabilities. Also, it was about time Umehara returned as a center piece for their songs (last time he was center was on Labyrinth, song released back in 2015). After all that he’s improved in the past year, he was a natural choice to lead the way.

The contrast between Umehara‘s improved singing skills, now packing a powerful vibrato and a sweet melodic touch, and Hanae‘s delicate, yet extremely powerful vocals was something that ended up sounding better that I’d first envisioned. Eguchi and Saito took the backseat for this song yet still contributed positively for this song with consistent mid-tones, rich melodies, harmonies and some flourishes. As a group their performance impressed. They brought consistency, preciseness, emotion and quality to the table and executed it flawlessly.

Back on our review of SolidS‘ “Back On Track“, I mentioned that the unit had, up until then, released three flawless songs for the anime series, later naming it “SolidS’ Holy Trilogy“. I then wondered if with “Venga” there would be a change to that denomination.

SolidS made the impossible among all Tsukipro’s units: to release 4 perfect songs out of 4 possible songs for the anime series. For everyone at THTFHQ, these four songs are going to be remembered as SolidS’ Holy Tetralogy. They experimented with everything, from instrumentals to singing approaches and techniques, even carefully choosing the centers for each song depending on the vibe they wanted to enhance. They avoided being stuck to a specific music genre or approach, changing things around while at the same time still exuding their mature and sexy appeal through a variety of compositions that, interestingly enough, brought each of the members’ qualities to light: Oka Ranman‘s traditional beauty (Rikka), Burny!!! fiery passion (Shiki), Back on Track‘s laidback sexiness (Tsubasa) and Venga’s emotional and powerful vibe (Dai).

In the end, and back to the review in hand, 運命を越える”Venga” is a terrific entry in SolidS‘ repertoire. The vocals stood out and the instrumental was impeccable. The best way to wrap up their batch of songs for TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION.

Final rating:

This song is included in the fifth DVD volume of the series.

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