GRANRODEO goes down memory lane, bringing back 80s rock/pop melodies and top tier vocal performances to impress us in Deadly Drive.
Title: Deadly Drive
Release date: 21/02/2018
Genre: Rock/Synth Rock
1. Deadly Drive 2. マジカル・ストーリー 3. Deadly Drive (OFF VOCAL) 4. マジカル・ストーリー (OFF VOCAL)
Track by track analysis:
1. Deadly Drive
GRANRODEO bring their trumps to the table for Deadly Drive. Heavy guitar riffs welcome us to an instrumental that is far from being “heavy” per se. Double bass drums set the fast pace for an instrumental that sets itself apart from the band’s previous releases.
The intro is hard and so are some of the parts connecting the verses to the chorus sections, however the verses are focused on letting KISHOW’s vocals shine, hence the heavy bass filled section – between the bassy drums to the thunderous slap bass, that section doesn’t need much more to impress and to create a simple section that has depth at the same time that gated guitar riffs take the back seat.
Instead of going towards a raw vocal performance like in previous iterations, this time around the vocals have a variety of effects – from gating to delaying -, particularly noticeable in the backing vocals or in the verses.
Dead Drive is just perfect – not too heavy and not too pop driven, the right amount of coolness and rock blended into a great song.
Setting aside any heavy rock elements, GRANRODEO embrace a loungy, 80’s inspired synth-rock/new wave sound that we weren’t expecting would fit so well with them.
Magical Story is a fun song that will take you down the memory lane. The instrumental follows the simple formula from 80’s pop-rock – a simple looping synth, playful guitar licks, bassy drums, groovy bassline, all in a perfect mid-tempo, summery made to make the vocalist shine. GRANRODEO pull this off with ease, it was as if I was listening to a Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet album (two incredibly talented bands from the 80’s romantic new wave movement).
Still on the instrumental: the blues-y guitar solo had us wishing to listen to more of that goodness. In comparison with the previous song, KISHOW put more effort into sounding more melodic, adding his trademark vibrato, sweet mid-tones, and nailing all falsettos there were available to nail. Also, let’s not forget those smooth ad-libs.
What a enjoyable trip we had with this song.
GRANRODEO’s Deadly Drive is the single we had been waiting from them. Even though we’re major fans of GRANRODEO’s high throttle, hard rock songs, it’s always nice to find this band expanding their horizons and showing us something new or just break the routine and showcase their versatility with a song that catches their fans off guard.
The title track had the makings of a hard rock song, but it turned out to be milder than we expected. Its mildness presented us with a different dynamic in the instrumental, which we ended up loving.
GRANRODEO sure have changed their sound a couple of times throughout their career and tend to avoid sticking to one sound or formula for more than 2 consecutive releases. If the previous releases were filled with Eastern, Asian influences, this release is far from having any of that, the band has, in fact, gone in the opposite direction.
That opposite direction can be found on Magical Story, song felt like a throwback to the 80’s, a song that presented a more “friendly” or “easy to listen” sound that is perfect to convert those that aren’t still fans of GRANRODEO.
Deadly Drive presents fans with exciting instrumentals, top tier vocals, a lot of rock and trips down the memory line, all while being consistent at it. Another gem from GRANRODEO.
Deadly Drive is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.