HE☆VENS “Anthem for the Angel” (Review)

HE☆VENS‘s 1st mini-album, Anthem for the Angel is out. From start to finish, this mini-album has impressed with quality vocal performances and interesting instrumental pieces to suit different tastes.

Title: Anthem for the Angel
Release date: 13/03/2019
Label: Broccoli
Genre: J-Pop

Tracklist:

1 - LIFE~with thanks~ (Eiichi solo)
2 - 恋の温度–melt into one– (Kira solo)
3 - 絶対的★N・A・G・I (Nagi solo)
4 - Just You (Eiji solo)
5 - 熱愛中BANG×BANG×BANG! (Van solo)
6 - 人生 on Sparking! (Yamato solo)
7 - Lyrical Poetry (Shion solo)
8 - LIFE~with thanks~ (off vocal)
9 - 恋の温度–melt into one– (off vocal)
10 - 絶対的★N・A・G・I  (off vocal)
11 - Just You (off vocal)
12 - 熱愛中BANG×BANG×BANG!  (off vocal)
13 - 人生 on Sparking!  (off vocal)
14 - Lyrical Poetry  (off vocal)

Track by track analysis:

1 – LIFE~with thanks~ 

LIFE~with thanks~ gives off a rough and wild vibe, must like Eiichi. Kicking off with several different guitar riffs, this track’s intro gives place to Midorikawa‘s almost accapella like vocal performance. If there is something that really adds that whole atmosphere of listening to a rock performance is the backing vocals that really makes one remember the rock songs from the 80s. The instrumentalization in this track was well executed. Even though there are many things happening at the same time, the groovy bass having its solo performance throughout the whole instrumental piece, the splashy drums leading the track with the guitar riffs, the track does not sound the least bit overwhelming.

Midorikawa‘s vocal performance fit the rock genre like a glove. His tone blended well with the fast tempo instrumental piece and with the old-school rock vibe that exudes from the instrumentalization of LIFE~with thanks~ but also because the vocals were melodic and that in itself added an interesting contrast between the energetic instrumental piece and the vocal performance. 5/5

2 – 恋の温度–melt into one– 

On a completely different side of the spectrum, Koi no Ondo-melt into one- is introduced to us by a bright and high pitched piano performance that will eventually lead to the percussion to make its entrance and some almost inaudible strings to creep in to blend into the instrumental piece. To add more flavor to this track’s intro we have a slight moment for some brass to also have its time to shine, just for a little bit though. Post intro, Koi no Ondo-melt into one- procedes to continue to utilize the same bright and high pitched piano as the lead instrument in this track’s instrumental piece.

Although, to a certain degree, it adds brightness to the medium tempo instrumental piece, we have to say that it also ends up being somewhat distracting, especially since there is such depth in the instrumentalization. Putting that aside, that piano alongside the strings and brass like instrumentalization makes this track much richer than it might’ve sound in the beginning.

Ono‘s vocal performance is stable and confident, something that blends perfectly with this upbeat track and instrumental piece. Ono‘s lower notes in the outro were also an eye-opener for those that might’ve forgotten this ability of his. 4.5/5

3 – 絶対的★N・A・G・I 

Zettai teki★N・A・G・I kicks off with all the possible potential, especially instrumental piece wise, to impress everyone, even more so when Nagi’s songs are usually more on the bright side and this one is on the pop-rock side, at least until the chorus. With that said, this track has two different parts, one on the dark side and on that is bright, much like Nagi’s personality, so in that sense this track has fulfilled those conditions. The first part of the track, we are faced with the darker part, instrumental wise. Taking the pop-rock approach, Zettai teki★N・A・G・I has a grandiose instrumental piece with heavy guitar riffs, drum bass, and bell pads to add more drama to the instrumentalization. With a fast tempo instrumental piece driven by the drums and guitar and the bell pads, this tracks seems to not known what toning it down means. With that being said, Zettai teki★N・A・G・I goes with the same intensity from the intro until the end of this track. Even when we reach the slightly bright part, the energy remains full.

About the slightly bright part in this track, there is something that will probably stick out this track, and that is the repetitiveness of the lyrics. For those whose that isn’t their cup of tea worry not because it only is the case when we reach the pre-chorus, so it does not bother the listener that much, even more so, since the instrumental piece remains heavy. 4/5

4 – Just You 

Eiji is known to be one of the very talented singer in the unit, so Just You is one of those tracks to which one can simply enjoy the ride. Just You has that summer vibe, with its instrumental piece pending more towards the electronica genre. Piano and some synth pads and a clean vocal performance are the main focus in this track. The chorus really sets into stone that this track is more on the danceable side. With percussion delivered by the triplets usually found in EDM music and with a simple instrumental piece that seems to have been thought with the purpose of Uchida‘s vocal performance to shine brighter with no distractions to take away from his talent.

The danceable instrumental piece and Uchida‘s falsetto and high notes made Just You all the more interesting to listen to, especially since both performances are consistent and high quality. 5/5

5 – 熱愛中BANG×BANG×BANG! 

Netsuai chu BANG×BANG×BANG! is brimming with disco vibes provided by Takashi‘s vocal performance and the trumpets, but it also has some sexiness delivered by a groovy and funky bass and some pads. With a mix of disco and danceable pop driven by some heavy synth pads and saxophone, Netsuai chu BANG×BANG×BANG! has a modern twist to what could have been a failed attempt to bring together the sexiness and disco vibes into this track’s instrumental piece. And as if this song could not surprise us anymore, there is even a saxophone solo, once again adding more to the idea of suggestiveness present in Netsuai chu BANG×BANG×BANG!.

Takashi‘s vocal performance was more than adequate to this track’s mood and instrumental piece. With his medium tone vocals, he managed to add a certain allure to his performance when needed and delivered a consistent performance throughout the song. 5/5

6 – 人生 on Sparking! 

Jinsei on Sparking! kicks off with energy and heavily synth driven instrumental piece. With a funky guitar and groovy bass, this track has a chorus that, to a certain point, has as eerie vibe attached to it, perhaps because of the strings that are more noticeable in the chorus. To add to it, the piano, and guitar take on a background seat and therefore the strings and pads become the center of the attention. At other instances, Jinsei on Sparking! sounds like a song that has such a pleasant instrumental piece that one does not notice when it is ending and inadvertently ends up listening to the same on repeat. 4/5

7 – Lyrical Poetry 

Lyrical Poetry is just like the title implies. Although, we say that the instrumental piece is driven by the groovy and extremely noticeable bas and heavy synth pads that persist throughout the whole instrumental piece. To add more to the instrumental piece Lyrical Poetry‘s instrumental piece incorporates some wind instruments such as a flute to feed more to this instrumentalization with such a already rich imaginary power overflowing.

Despite, we mentioning the fact that this track’s instrumental piece having synths at almost all moments, that does not give away from the simpleness of the instrumentalization, once again so as to Yamashita can shine with his crystal clear vocal performance, which by the way whenever he sings on a higher register it is also when the piano changes its register to a higher one, so it is safe to say that those two elements are following or competing with each other. 5/5

Final rating:

Heavens‘s Anthem for the Angel picked up a different formula of what is usually the norm in albums of unit such as them. Instead of having, at least, one track sung by all the members we got all seven solo tracks, which was the best opportunity to confirm the each member has its specialties when singing which make them unique and therefore deliver a performance worth listening, no matter the song in this mini-album. Granted, that each song is sung by a different seiyuu that is portraying a different character in the series with distinctive qualities or quirks, each song has its own amazing points.

From start to finish, this mini-album has impressed with quality vocal performances and interesting instrumental pieces. Keeping up the character’s personalities and quirks into account was also a positive aspect in this release as it is proof that we get to listen to each member’s song with no complaints about it not being consistent with the character’s personality and/or quirks.

Some of the most impressive and worth listening song in this release are  LIFE~with thanks~, Just You, Netsuai chu BANG×BANG×BANG! and Lyrical Poetry. Each song will suit different tastes, but one thing is for sure, every one of them is bound to be considered the best songs in this release.

Anthem for the Angel is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

Uta no Prince-sama HE VENS Mini-album "Anthem for The Angel" / Eiichi Otori (Hikaru Midorikawa), Kira Sumeragi (Daisuke Ono), Nagi Mikado (Tubasa Yonaga),Eiji Otori (Yuma Uchida), Van Kiryuin (Hidenori Takahashi), Yamato Hyuga (Ryohei Kimura), Shion Amakusa (Daiki Yamashita)
Eiichi Otori (Hikaru Midorikawa), Kira Sumeragi (Daisuke Ono), Nagi Mikado (Tubasa Yonaga),Eiji Otori (Yuma Uchida), Van Kiryuin (Hidenori Takahashi), Yamato Hyuga (Ryohei Kimura), Shion Amakusa (Daiki Yamashita)

Author: Nadine Silva

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