Review | ESMERALDA “ENLIGHTRIBE side.ESMERALDA -The ignition-”

Filled with high-octane bangers, ESMERALDA don’t spare anyone with their dark and heavy first entry in the ENLIGHTRIBE franchise.

Brief introduction

ENLIGHTRIBE is being marketed as a full-scale rock x character project.

At the moment there are no details on how big a scale it will be or if it will be a mixed media project like ARGONAVIS from BanG Dream is.

However, what is known is that the bands will work just like on DIG-ROCK which is to say that, out of the whole cast, only the seiyuu voicing the vocals will sing for their respective bands, whereas the other members will participate in drama tracks.

ENLIGHTRIBE counts with 3 bands in its lineup: FAM, SHIFTYZ and ESMERALDA.

For more details on this project, make sure to check this guide.


Title: ENLIGHTRIBE side.ESMERALDA -The ignition-
Release date: 12/03/2021
Label: Movic
Genre: Rock / Alternative metal / Punk-rock


1 - Gleam
2 - Liberation
3 - drama track side.ESMERALDA #1
4 - Gleam -Instrumental-
5 - Liberation -Instrumental-

1 – Gleam

Aggressive guitar riffs and incisive double-bass drums shine in ESMERALDA’s “Gleam”. The intro will, for sure, make quite the big impression, channeling a lot of visual-kei vibes in its wake.

The verses have a unique duality to them, being quiet and introspective in its early stages while being insanely intense in their second half leading to the chorus.

Those finger snaps and slow bass notes leading up to the explosive chorus are perfect, making the tension rise a whole lot.

The chorus is brief but incredibly intense, guitars are low tuned, having a robust sound throughout, matching the deep bass line and drums, all delivering an impactful performance.

The bridge is beautiful, with all instruments going away to create a dreamy atmosphere. Pure, delicate and beautiful, that section builds up into an emotional section. Strings softly join in to raise the emotional tone to “Gleam”,

On the vocal end, Junta Terashima delivers a masterclass. His low and mid-tones breathe life into “Gleam” something that, by the end of the song, with strings joining in, will make chills run down your spine.

2 – Liberation

Wrapping up this release we have “Liberation”, song counts with a dreamy intro but quickly, the dynamics change and the song goes hard.

The verses bring a bit of prog-rock vibes to the table, focusing a lot in the slow-paced melodies while still packing quite the punch.

However, that doesn’t carry over the chorus, in which the drums go ballistic, the pace increases to match them, with the guitars shredding like crazy on top of those double-bass drums and a punchy bass line.

Synths have a spot in this song, adding up to the dark, distant ambience that this song has going on.

Expect a high-octane guitar solo in this song, matching the intensity of the rest of the instrumental as well as Junta Terashima’s powerful performance.

Final considerations

Wow. Just… WOW.

ESMERALDA hit everyone with a powerful rock sound with influences of visual-kei metal and prog-rock. Their melodies are slow paced their core is fast and intense.

Just like with FAM, there’s a big focus on the bass sound, with ESMERALDA’s “Gleam” and “Liberation” being big adepts of incorporating bass elements. The work on drums is off the charts and, for me, a highlight in this CD.

The intensity, the speed, those rhythms and the depth those added to the song had me quite impressed.

It’s not often that fans of 2D rock music get a band that is a big fan of making their drummers go wild on double-bass. Thankfully, there’s plenty of that with ESMERALDA so far.

Junta Terashima once again showcases his massive talents as a singer, delivering 2 masterful performances. He’s criminally underrated as a singer and I really can’t understand why.

In Tsukipro’s Growth, he’s easily one of the best singers in the lineup, in ESMERALDA he’s a powerful, charismatic frontman with a real intense yet dark vibe going.

His vocals fit perfectly with rock music, with Terashima going for a comfortable performance riding on top of his mid-tones. When required to go up or down the scale, he did so without a hiccup, keeping up his energy throughout.

I hope that fans of 2D music are curious enough to check ESMERALDA and discover – or have a new found fondness – for Junta Terashima’s singing skills. The man can sing and impress, he just needs people to notice him.

The best song in this release is “Gleam”.

The intro is impactful, the progression is memorable, the verses are well structured, carrying a crazy amount of tension into the chorus and the chorus? Albeit brief, it is a headbanger through and through. The guitars scream, the drums go wild, the bass is memorable, the strings will make chills run down your spine.

Everything, including Junta Terashima’s outstanding performance, are perfect in “Gleam”.

Many of you will probably say that you enjoy “Liberation” far better. Fair game, I am just as big a punk-rock fan as I am a metal and hardrock one to choose that song over “Gleam” as the best song in this CD.

Bottom line: both songs are awesome and, if you haven’t checked ESMERALDA – or ENLIGHTRIBE as a whole – yet and love rock music, especially shredding, hard-hitting rock music, you can’t miss “ENLIGHTRIBE side.ESMERALDA -The ignition-“.

ESMERALDA arrived and set fire to the stage with an intense performance.

ENLIGHTRIBE side.ESMERALDA -The ignition- is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Also, the only person managing everything The Hand That Feeds HQ related. In 2011, I stumbled upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus". Since then I have been writing about male seiyuu music. You may find me writing almost essays whenever music is really good (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). I also host the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).