Sho Onoda “diamond x pearl” (Review)

VAZZROCK

A haunting performance and tastefully crafted instrumentals made Sho Onoda (Yukitoshi Kikuchi) and this release shine.

Title: VAZZROCK bi-color series 2nd season Onoda Sho-diamond x pearl-
Label: Tsukipro/Movic
Release date: 26/07/2019
Genre: Pop/Rock

Tracklist:

1:ドラマ「きれいな男」
2:ドラマ「きれいな男?」
3:ドラマ「意外に普通の男です」
4:Utopia
5:雨垂れ
6:Utopia -off vocal-
7:雨垂れ -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

4 – Utopia

Distant, melancholic guitar riffs set the tone for this dreamy pop-rock tune. The verses are slow paced, with snary drums leading the way, strings setting a dramatic tone, minimalistic synths giving it an ethereal touch and the bass enveloping everything in deep melodies. The chorus explores the emotions in the verses and expands on those, with muffled, overdriven guitars taking over the emotional chorus, winking at early 00’s nu-metal, slow paced, heavy bass drum-driven rhythms, all carrying a power and emotion that leave the listener speechless.

On the vocal side, Kikuchi delivered a haunting performance. His unique singing tone shone in this performance, quietly, delicately and hauntingly grabbing the listener’s attention. Impressive beyond words. 5/5

5 – 雨垂れ

Also channeling early 00’s rock is Amadare. Simple synth and piano melodies blend with dark, overdriven guitar riffs. The pacing is comfortable, the instrumentalization is simple in the verses and once again intense in the chorus. The whole song works extremely well with the vocals in charge of performing this duet song. The out to is dreamy and nostalgic, bringing a bit of 90’s j-pop and city pop, creating a unique soundscape that you can never get enough of. The Kikuchi-Kobayashi duo impressed with an emotional, balanced performance. As a whole this song sounds so unique and the performance is really the cherry on top. 5/5

Final rating:

The bi-color series’ 2nd season is underway and another great entry joins its ranks. Onoda Sho-diamond x pearl- sheds a new light on the character, its style and approach to music.

While his 1st entry in the first season of the bi-color series was ambitious yet in execution it was underwhelming, this release exceeds all expectations.

Utopia is a haunting song with dark, melancholic melodies and an extremely slow pace that sticks with you. The way it was sang and its instrumentalization make it one of the best songs in the VAZZROCK franchise. It just sinks in and takes over the listener. Outstanding performance by Kikuchi, showing a lot of growth in his performance with a renowned control over his unique tone and props to the composer for making a song that perfectly fits with his voice tone.

If that was not enough to impress you, 雨垂れ (Amadare) is another great song. The instrumental has a mix of early 90’s pop elements exuding from the overall composition, some city-pop in the ethereal neon-evocative synths and a guitar riffs that bring back the early 00’s emo/nu-metal era. But if this description sounds confusing, the end result isn’t. Every single piece fits perfectly with the all the others, the vocals of the KikuchiKobayashi duo work wonders.

Kikuchi was joined by the voice of Ouka Kira, Yusuke Kobayashi, and the end result was stunning. Although both are owners of a higher register, both are equally unique in the way they use it and how playful they are with their range. Kobayashi is a skilled singer with control over his vocals whereas Kikuchi has one of the most unique singing tones we’ve listened to but lacking a bit of control or technique.

This time around, Yukitoshi Kikuchi delivered a solid performance that explored with a bit of depth his unique singing tone and range.

All in all, this entry in the 2nd bi-color series exceeds all expectations. Its unique, nods at a lot of music genres, incorporates those and executes them perfectly and the vocals worked wonderfully. Outstanding release that will be hard to top.

Onoda Sho-diamond x pearl- is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

"VAZZROCK" bi-color Series 2nd Season / Sho Onoda (Yukitoshi Kikuchi) & Ouka Kira (Yusuke Kobayashi)
Sho Onoda (Yukitoshi Kikuchi) & Ouka Kira (Yusuke Kobayashi)

Author: midorin

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. After a 6 month stint in Macau SAR, I am back to being based in Cascais, Portugal. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to completely focus on writing about male seiyuu music.

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