Review | Fantôme Iris “Zakuro/Kyoki no Melody”

Fantôme Iris

Still with the same drama at its core, Fantôme Iris decides to change some things around to embrace a groovy brand of rock for “Zakuro/Kyoki no Melody”.

Fantôme Iris consists of Arthur Lounsbery (on vocals), Wada Masaya, Jun Fukuyama, Tsubasa Yonaga and Taiyo Ayukawa.


Regular
Title: ザクロ/狂喜のメロディ
Label: Bushiroad Music 
Release date: 14/07/2021
Genre: Visual-kei rock

Tracklist:

1 - ザクロ
2 - 狂喜のメロディ

Track by track analysis:

1 – ザクロ

Muffled vocals, gated guitars, and drums create a unique intro to the intense rock tune “Zakuro”.

Progressing from the muffled section, the instrumental goes in full blast with guitars shredding their way through the song as drums pound in the background. The contrast from that part – early on in every verse – to the actual tension right after is quite interesting.

Actually, the verses themselves have at least 3 different parts: the crazy fun and intensity at full blast in the first part of the verse; the transition to a slightly “jazzier”, mellower part that puts the focus on the bassline, funky guitar riffs and vocals and then the part leading to the pre-chorus that cranks up the tension, however, not with the same power as the first part of the verse itself.

This alone is more than enough to add a pinch of unpredictability to the song – at least for those listening to it for the very first time – and make it an awesome song to revisit because there is so much going on that you may find new things with every new listen.

Given how rich and crafty the verses are, the chorus will be a blur to you when the song wraps up. At least, for me, that’s what happened. In contrast to the verses, the chorus is straightforward with high-throttle guitars and uptempo drums leading the way.

Now, another part that struck me was the insane guitar solo in this song. SID’s Shinji – an absolute master on guitar – absolutely rocks this section, delivering a shredding performance that will have you on the edge of your seat. The sheer quality and technicality of this part alone are worth checking this song out.

Despite the relative chaos going on in the song, Arthur Lounsbery’s performance is composed and quite calm in contrast. There’s a unique charisma in the way he’s approaching the song, never sounding overly emotional and seeming like none of that chaos affects him. As far as technique goes, Lounsbery brings vibrato to his arsenal and tackles a couple of legato sections however, the focus in this performance was on sounding incredibly melodic, something he pulled off with ease.

2 – 狂喜のメロディ

Wrapping up this single is “Kyoki no Melody”, a song that explores a slightly simpler rock sound, with a reverberating bassline leading the way.

Strings join in for part of the intro, making an appearance mid-way through the verses but those are used mostly as an accent.

This song is all about its groove, with that being a big focus in the drums – really heavy on the bass drum – and the punchy bassline that serves as the heartbeat to this track.

The chorus will have you jam along to the fancy mix of loud, low guitar riffs and strings, constantly fighting for the spotlight as the drums keep the pacing and Arthur Lounsbery skillfully tackles the differences in tempo, the slight legato endings to some words and, ultimately, breathes life to this song.

The bridge gets dramatic with the strings going for an interesting staccato section as the electric guitar blasts its way through this song with an insane solo that will hype you up.


Final considerations

Finally got my hands on a copy of Fantôme Iris’ “Zakuro/Kyoki no Melody” and all I can say is that this band knows how to put on a show. Their music is robust, groovy, and dramatic in equal measures, has depth, and keeps you into it as the stories – quite theatrical at times – unfold.

In this single – and still with SID’s Mao and Shinji in charge of songwriting – listeners find a groovy set of rock songs that crank up the pacing just a little bit, sounding slightly more aggressive than previous entries by the band.

I’m quite fond of “Zakuro” for how loud and aggressive it goes.

It’s really from 0 to 100 in tension within its intro, something that easily grabbed my attention for this single as a whole. Its 3-layered verses stand out within the song itself, adding a lot of replay value to this song.

On the other side is “Kyoki no Melody”, song that is far simpler in its composition, something that, in comparison with “Zakuro”, makes it seem slightly bland. I love its groove, something that arrived as a pleasant surprise, however, beyond that – of course, the guitar solo as well – the song doesn’t bring the same level of excitement to the spotlight.

Now, when it comes to the vocals, Arthur Lounsbery has a poise that really strikes you. While there was chaos everywhere in “Zakuro”, he delivered an unfazed performance. The contained way in which he performed the song ended up being quite cool while channeling a natural charisma that makes you, the listener, invested in his performance.

In “Kyoki no Melody” he cranked up his emotions and let himself loose, with his performance requiring him to be doing a wide variety of technical stuff in the middle of what is a fast-paced instrumental.

All in all, “Zakuro/Kyoki no Melody” is a rock-solid entry in Fantôme Iris’ repertoire, an entry that brings groove rock to their arsenal and further highlights how natural and powerful of a frontman FELIX (CV: Arthur Lounsbery) is.


Zakuro/Kyoki no Melody is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


“Zakuro/Kyoki no Melody” is available for streaming on Spotify.


Do not support piracy. Remember to support Fantôme Iris by streaming via official outlets.

SUMMARY

Still with the same drama at its core, Fantôme Iris decides to change some things around to embrace a groovy brand of rock for “Zakuro/Kyoki no Melody”. In comparison with other entries in the band's repertoire, this single focuses more on bringing "groove rock", exploring that in both tracks, with "Kyoki no Melody" bring extra punchy, something that bass lovers will have a field trip with. "Zakuro" stands out for its aggressive, intense rock sound in which guitars shred their way through high-throttle drums however, the vocals are calm. This is quite the interesting song + performance combo and a song I personally recommend you to check, especially if you love rock to be muscular and violent to a degree.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

ザクロ
狂喜のメロディ
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
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).

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