Review | Gaku Oguro “hematite×amethyst”

VAZZROCK
VAZZROCK

Gaku Oguro‘s hematite×amethyst showcases a massive upgrade on the vocals on top of an eclectic pair of songs.

Oguro Gaku -hematitexamethyst-
Title: 大黒岳-hematite×amethyst-
Label: Tsukipro/Movic 
Release date: 29/05/2020
Genre: Rock/Electronic-rock

Tracklist:

1 - ドラマ「真夜中の散策者」
2 - ドラマ「静かな夜に」 
3 -「Secret Spice」 (solo)
4 -「一夜一夜に燃えてゆけ」 (duet)
5 - Secret Spice -off vocal- 
6 - 一夜一夜に燃えてゆけ -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

3 – Secret Spice

Resounding bass-drum driven drums and punk-rock inspired guitar riffs lead the way for Secret Spice.

The verses are slow paced, with electric guitar riffs split between both your ears – if you’re using headphones -, piano in the back and the drums at center with Takuya Masumoto’s vocals. When listening to this song, it seems that you are with the best seats in the house to listen to it, up close and personal.

The chorus is simple, with drums and guitars picking up the pace but never going all out fast. The slower guitar riffs, in a way, replace acoustic guitars in giving the track a laidback yet cozy feel.

I couldn’t help but to feel a warmth coming from this track, something you’d get from a campfire outing with friends, for example.

On the vocal end, Takuya Masumoto goes for a simple – yet massive – performance, resorting to sweet falsetto and robust mid tones to give life to his performance while, at the same time, showcasing a renewed consistency and confidence.


2 – 一夜一夜に燃えてゆけ

The pacing quickens up for the playful electronic-rock tune, Ichiya ichiya ni moete yuke.

This is a high-tension electronic-rock tune that adds some late 90s J-pop vibes and traditional Japanese music on top.

The blend between electric guitars, a shamisen-like instrument in the background – or, if it is not a real shamisen, a synthesized version of it -, a simple electro beat, brass and that tension and urgency in the pacing that you get from 90s J-pop tunes (T.M.Revolution is a good example of that) make this track an energy drainer.

A nice touch with the pizzicato strings in the bridge, alongside those shamisen melodies it sounds classy and exotic.

Everything goes by insanely fast and tension never fades away from the track. While extremely enjoyable to listen to, this is not a track that I’d put on repeat because it drains your energy quickly with its intensity.

Two of the deepest voices in the VAZZROCK franchise team up and what do we all get?

A solid performance that is mostly set in a low to mid toned register. A notice though that Tarusuke Shingaki does go a bit higher than usual for this performance – not noticeable high but still sounding higher than what he usually does with VAZZY -, adding more depth to the vocal performance while Takuya Masumoto goes for those big and rounded deep vocals.

Solid effort from the duo.


Final considerations

Gaku Oguro’s entry wraps up the 2nd season of the bi-color series in an awesome fashion.

In comparison with his entry in the 1st season, hematite×amethyst is a massive upgrade. Consistency in both the instrumentals and vocals make this release standout.

Secret Spice explores punk-rock territory yet not deeply. The song has those undertones, particularly noticeable in the tight drums and guitar combo in the intro and verses, but soon it develops into a completely different thing, displaying a sweet undertone. What could have been a dull track ended up standing out in this release. Takuya Masumoto went for a solid performance for this track.

Ichiya ichiya ni Moete Yuke is the kind of song of “good big or good home” vibe. Everything about this track is intense but that intensity isn’t annoying – just a bit draining as it carries a lot of energy but feeds off the listener’s energy and excitement.

It is incredibly entertaining, managing that while mixing a lot of elements that you’d normally not find together in the song. Vocals were off the charts in this track

hematite×amethyst is a great pick up if you like your music releases to be eclectic. Here you will find elements of various sub-genres of rock – such as punk-rock, acoustic rock, electro-rock – as well as traditional Japanese music on top.

This is a fun release, one that goes by pretty quickly and will leave you drained – yet the good kind of “drained”.


Oguro Gaku -hematite×amethyst- is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

"VAZZROCK" bi-color Series 2nd Season / Gaku Oguro (Takuya Masumoto) & Takaaki Mamiya (Tarusuke Shingaki)
 
Gaku Oguro (Takuya Masumoto) & Takaaki Mamiya (Tarusuke Shingaki)

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Secret Spice
一夜一夜に燃えてゆけ
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. A year later, 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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