Reol: ‘Gokusaishiki’ – Album Review

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Released: July 29, 2015

Japanese band REOL have made some progressive and dope hits tracks last year, especially with Sigma, a collection of hard-pumping EDM bangers that pushed the enveloped as far as sonic delivery. To me, every single breath, note and sound on the album was bomb-as-hell; every number was like sugar-coated ecstasy, an even the low-tempo songs managed to become an addictive little treat! But before this, the vocalist member Reol—yes, the band is REOL and her name is Reol…—released her debut solo album Gokusaishiki, which featured “collaborations” by the other members Giga-P and Okiku.

And I’m sure your all wondering, “Wait, if they collaborated with Reol, isn’t it a REOL album?” Well, kinda. But ultimately, the record is split into two sections; the original hits made by all three REOL peeps, and the other half being shiny constructions of cover songs made famous by a numerous amount of Vocaloids in Japan. Think of it like two of your favourite scoops of ice-creams on a cone; now that would be an appetising sight for me! It has a few instrumental tunes, such as the gentle electronics of “Nil” and “Orderly”. They have a very classic video-game soundtrack vibe, but also channels your typical Lolita-cuteness and J-pop penetration. But that’s very much REOL; a large bunch of everything, cornered with a sophisticated yet progressive application of electronic dance music with lingers of different music elements.

One thing the singer does do amazingly well is serving the more heavy-weight numbers at the start, such as the insane EDM thrillers “Minasoko Yuuhodou” and title track, a few slick rock moments like the classic-rock sounding “Seimei-San” and the summery “Halcyon”. The singer even goes a little aristocratic with the elegant composition “Mede:Mede”, and even channels a rather experimental sound in “Syrup”, where her singing literally sounds like an atmospheric number taken from a Perfume album (JPN anyone?). But my absolute jam, and many of you guys would bloody agree on, is “Logic Agent”, the lead single off the record. Strangely, when I first heard the song, I somehow felt like I had heard it somewhere WAY BACK in the past, and since I’ve been listening to a lot of Anime-based numbers, I’ve never really been shook or blown to smithereens by tracks in this type of genre. But I can tell you now that this song had me up in flames! To my account, I’ve never heard anything emotional, catchy and strong-willed than this superb rock anthem, which is in fact a cover-song made famous by Niki. My goodness, the gurl channels a wide range of vocal deliveries, and only gives her upmost best effort when it hits the chorus sections. Uhhhhhhhh, pure fire my ears can only hear, I REPEAT, FIRE TO MY EARS!

Unfortunately, there is a small issue on the record. It’s not that any tracks here are bad… like damn, every bloody number on here is pretty dope. But when you compare it to other entries like “Minasoko Yuuhodou” or “Logic Agent”, then you can see the quality isn’t up to a maximum potential, and the placement with some solid-as-hell bangers all listed near the end of the record, cutting its cohesiveness completely in half. I really enjoyed the clucky R&B-electronic hit “Ra Tan”, but with it placed just after the middle section, it doesn’t get the recognition it should’ve achieved. Same goes to “Midnight Stroller”; while I think it’s more like a darker and twisted sister (no, not the band…) to “Minasoko Yuuhodou”, the monotonous structure from start to finish isn’t the… well, bright number here. And again, the broadway-like execution of “Roxy” doesn’t get the same recognition like the first half, which is a shame. The only track I thought was crap was the frantic horror story of “Yakusoku no Ao”… like, gurls and boyz, NEXT!

I actually don’t mind the latter songs “Monster” and “Some” near the end though, because they bring the mood down to the VERY last drop but still managed to give a kick here and there. The former number is a classic rock instrumentation that showcases a very high-pitched performance by Reol herself, while “Some” is a ballad… Yes y’all, a ballad. Never thought of it at the beginning, since I purchased Sigma first, but it’s a ballad. It’s nice and gentle, but at times, her vocals shine a lot more through its raw and stripped sound, which makes it slightly uneven.

Of course the record had bared some flaws and little over-produced moments, but I have to say, the debut of Reol is by far one of the most interesting records I’ve had my hands wrapped around. I mean, look at that? Many people of contemporary EDM culture (or I just could be me?) would have preferred Sigma a lot more due to its blood-rushing sound, but Gokusaishiki is honestly just as great. Interestingly enough, Reol literally can work in any genre now. She, alongside her band with Giga-P and Okiku, have a huge roller-coaster to board, so hopefully they’re ready. Because these two records are… B. A. N. G. E. R. S.

Track list (Bold means best tracks):

  1. Nil
  2. Gokusaishiki
  3. Seimei-San
  4. Minasoko Yuuhodou
  5. Halcyon
  6. Logic Agent ~Liam’s favorite~
  7. Orderly
  8. Mede:Mede
  9. Syrup
  10. Ra – Tan
  11. Midnight Stroller
  12. Behind the Night
  13. Roxy
  14. Yakusoku no Ao
  15. Monster
  16. Some

 

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