Kazuki Kato returns with a new album and impresses fans with his bold performance and catchy instrumental pieces as he showcases his talent in a plethora of tracks. “SPICE BOX” is an album full of surprises.
So without any further ado, let’s get this review started.
More information regarding the album.
Title: SPICE BOX Label: Imperial Records Release date: 18/10/2017 Genre: J-Pop/Rock
I’ll be there
Track by track analysis:
con・fu・sion～心の叫び～ delivers us a intro lead by a piano leaving us wondering what we have waiting. This track quickly takes a turn for the best and blends in the piano with powerful guitar riffs. Kazuki‘s vocals are on point as usual. We must say that the instrumental piece with its rock elements plus the piano really give off a spooky feel to it. Although the instrumental piece in itself is relatively repetitive we cannot disregard the fact that is does not become one of those tracks that you which it was more creative. This track’s instrumental goes full-circle as it begins as ends with the same piano in solo. 5/5
Unlike the previous track, in Myself we kick off with some effects over the vocals making it sound muffled and some rhythmic riffs, as well as drums with lots of pedal. The guitar is definitely the main character in this track, not forgetting Kazuki‘s vocals and vibrato. Although at first one would believe it to be a shame to add some voice manipulating effects, the muffled outcome is befitting as it adds a little jazz to the track and it also mixes well with the rock elements of the instrumental piece. 5/5
3- Heart Beat
Heart Best kicks off with the guitar as the main focus as some underlying synth pads play in the background. Unlike the previous tracks Heart Beat is more pop/rock oriented than the other tracks. Despite the fact that Kazuki‘s performance is on point, we must point out that this track is almost a little too up beat in the chorus, good thing it did not progress from this stage because otherwise it would end up turning this track into the black sheep in this album. 4/5
This track has a vintage sound to it, resembling the 80s rock, especially the guitars and the rather simple souding drum sequence. Kazuki manages to melt us with his vibrato in this track that is all over the place. The original purpose of this track might have been good however its actual execution ended up resulting in a track with too much going on making one easily distracted. 4/5
5- I’ll be there
Making its comeback to the more rock oriented tracks, I’ll be there features powerful drums and heavy guitar riffs that follow Kazuki‘s lead. The chorus has a lot of energy and though there are some synths playing in the background one cannot bother to pay them too much attention as the main focus lies in the heavy instrumental piece with the fast tempo drums and the playful guitar. 4.5/5
6- to you
A acoustic guitar and bass playing in canon are the first one’s to make the perfect stage for Kazuki‘s vocal performance. to you is a power ballad with simple drums and main focus, if not full focus, on the acoustic guitar, at least in the intro and chorus. The small guitar solos that have we listen from time to time we an amazing choice as it brings forth even more emotion to this already fully packed of meaning instrumental piece. 4.5/5
“SPICY BOX” was a box full of surprises, for better or for worse. Although Kazuki‘s tracks are generally worth listening to, there are sometimes one or two who we wish they had been a little better, and in this case 君はFragile and Heart Beat are definitely the two runner ups in this category.
On one side of the spectrum we have Heart Beat that had the potential to be something extraordinary but the fact that the instrumental piece is not on the same footing as Kazuki‘s performance makes this track dispensable instead of being a must listen. In this sense, however 君はFragile was a little better though we can not forget that circus of a instrumental piece. It is understandable that there is always a need to show a different talent or genre in each track, yet this track is just the exaggerated aftermath of it. If you thought that 80s rock guitar’s were a good choice for Kazuki‘s performance then you are not wrong, still it is important to have in mind that that track’s instrumental is just overly busy and we can not afford to pay attention to anything else than Kazuki‘s vocals, not that that is a bad thing, we just believe that it defeats the whole purpose. If that was the plan then it was accomplished, if not they have failed miserably to create a track that otherwise could have had a lot of potential.
On the other side, we have tracks such as con・fu・sion～心の叫び～, Myself and I’ll be there that showed us a catchy rock instrumental piece with quality vocals delivered by Kazuki. con・fu・sion～心の叫び～ was indeed the best way to kick off this album, in the best fashion possible. In this track Kazuki demonstrates why he the rock genre suits him like a glove. Myself, like the latter, proved that rock, pop/rock tracks suit him the best and that is already an established fact. I’ll be there was surprisingly nice to listen to, although it came to us as a pleasant surprise we can not express our favoritism towards Kazuki‘s performance and amazing track, though simple.
This review was possible thanks MALLARD084’s sponsored copy.
“SPICY BOX” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.