Kashicomi brings one of the most technical lineups to the spotlight with an aggressive brand of rock that no other seiyuu unit dares try in “Am”.
Title: Am Label: Marine Entertainment Release date: 20/02/2019 Genre: Rock
1 - LOVELESS 2 - ブラックアウト 3 - Fly High! 4 - You are my only star 5 - 桜色レイン 6 - Chance! 7 - LOVELESS (instrumental) 8 - ブラックアウト (instrumental) 9 - Fly High! (instrumental) 10 - You are my only star (instrumental) 11 - 桜色レイン (instrumental) 12 - Chance! (instrumental)
Track by track analysis:
1 – LOVELESS
Dirty guitar riffs and a relentless rimshot rhythm set an aggressive tone for “LOVELESS”.
The verses are all about the rock & roll sound, being explosive and intense at all times.
The guitars have a slight decadence on top, dripping into the pensive bassline and enhanced by the vocals of Shoya Chiba and Sho Nogami.
The transition to the chorus is smooth, making great use of the rhythm to not give away the change it underwent.
When you notice, you’re already on the bridge.
Do expect a dirty guitar solo to shine in the bridge of this tune, always with a punchy bassline accompanying it.
On the vocal end, Chiba and Nogami work in perfect harmony in the chorus, however, do expect their vocals to be as clear as day through the performance, being easy to tell apart even when in unison.
With the right edge and energy, the duo delivers a strong intro to this mini-album.
2 – ブラックアウト
“Blackout” follows suit with a fast-paced punk-rock-inspired sound very keen on its punchy bassline.
The verses are all about its slow-paced bassline, with guitars serving as the set dressing for this performance.
When you get to the chorus, the song explodes. The guitars go ballistic in their low chords, hard-hitting drums take the lead and the bassline creates a lot of depth to this track.
“Blackout” shines exactly in this groovy rock sound with relentless bass and drums work. This is a monstrous tune for that alone. When the track gets to the bridge, the guitar solo goes bonkers and you get a really satisfying melody that unleashes the remaining tension in the song.
As far as the vocals go, Chiba and Nogami showcase their chemistry in the chorus – once again in unison, however, one in which each voice is easily perceptible -, powerfully tackling those emotional mid-tones, at times rising in their scale and never falling behind the other.
Individually, you can expect both to bring a lot of energy and excitement to this performance, helping flourish this song into the blast it is.
3 – Fly High!
Shredding guitar riffs and insanely speedy drums kick off “Fly High!”. The sound is aggressive, the tempo is fast, and the vocals pack quite the punch. This is the kind of song you want to headbang along to.
The verses are all about its relentless snary drums and shredding guitar riffs, creating an edgy stage in which Sho Nogami and Shoya Chiba power through with their vibrato-filled vocals.
The tension is so high that when you get to the chorus, the instrument that unleashes that tension is, actually, a synth.
In the outro, expect a muffled, overdriven guitar solo that complements the… have you noticed how the drums never took a break?
4 – You are my only star
“You are my only star” brings a softer, semi-acoustic sound to the spotlight.
Acoustic guitars slowly trail the way through this song, being complemented by electric guitar riffs.
In the background during the verses are sweet piano melodies, a groovy bassline – yet one that adds a heartbeat to this song – and simple drums.
The chorus carries over that sweetness and makes the best out of it enhancing it with gentle melodies on the vocal end. The crescendos, legato parts, and harmonies shine in this part.
When you get to the bridge, you are greeted by a guitar solo that perfectly blends with the instrumental.
Kashicomi went for a sweet performance and really got it here.
5 – 桜色レイン
A distant piano melody paints a dreamy soundscape in “Sakurairo Rain”.
Slowly, strings enter the scene, carefully joining the instrumental as the bassy drums and melancholic guitar riffs add the final touches to this nostalgic instrumental.
There are a couple of guitar solos going on in this song, something that I absolutely love yet I was not expecting to find them in this song.
When the song gets to the chorus, it’s almost as if you’re enveloped in a beautiful drizzle of Sakura petals. It feels nostalgic yet it puts a massive smile on your face.
The performance demands a bit more on the emotional range of Nogami and Chiba. What you get is a gentle mix of mid-to-high tones as both tenors bring their own unique take on this emotional tune.
While far from their best acoustic tune with a ballad twist, “Sakurairo Rain” is well worth your time for its soundscape.
6 – Chance!
Wrapping up this mini-album is “Chance!”, tune that brings to the spotlight an upbeat pop-rock sound.
In a way, this song has a festive vibe to it, bringing bells into it right from the start. The synths also bring that edge to the spotlight, making this a song that is perfect to be played during winter.
The chorus cranks up the emotions, bringing legato strings into the mix alongside delicate piano melodies.
On the vocal end, Shoya Chiba opted for performing this song on a higher, youthful tone, contrasting with Sho Nogami’s mid-toned low tenor vocals.
Sweet song with a perfect sound and tone made for winter.
Kashicomi’s 1st mini-album shines with its powerful rock sound and energetic vocals.
“Am” is at its best when it is all about its fast-paced, aggressive rock sound. It’s exactly in those moments that Sho Nogami and Shoya Chiba are at their best as well – although there are no moments in which they deliver a performance that wasn’t perfect.
Stand out tunes in this mini-album include “Blackout” and “Fly High!”.
Relentless drums – ones that make me respect the drummer a whole lot because it’s not only technicality but stamina put to the test -, shredding guitar riffs and groovy basslines make this single a blast to listen to.
At the same time, these elements set Kashicomi apart from all other active seiyuu units out there.
In the middle of a set of shredding rock tunes, you will find a couple of semi-acoustic songs in “You are my only star” and “Sakurairo Rain”.
These tracks add a different air to Kashicomi from relentless rockers to emotional ones. Technicality by both singers is at full display and even if some of those songs failed to hit the mark perfectly, you will find a set of awesome performances in there.
“Chance!” wraps up this CD in a hopeful tone, almost like asking the listener to get them a chance, because they deserve it.
As far as vocals go, the Shoya Chiba – Sho Nogami combo is one well worth stopping everything and checking out what they are doing.
Both are stellar, technical singers with loads of experience under their belts. Individually, they are in the talk about the best singers among male seiyuu.
And as a unit, they’ve gelled so well that it’s quite impressive. They’re both tenors however with different tones and ranges which makes it so that they can always sound different – complementing each other – but if need be, they can power their way together and sound like a unit.
Shoya Chiba brings a raspy-meets-nasal singing tone with tons of versatility in performing rock music whereas Sho Nogami is known as a power vocal high tenor from his work with QUELL in the TSUKIPRO franchise.
Together, Chiba and Nogami have, right from the start, some of the best and most technical vocals among seiyuu with experience that more than proves their quality. Pair that with rock and you get a winning recipe for this group.
All in all, Kashicomi’s “Am” is a strong welcome to the sound of what is one of the best seiyuu units to date.
“Am” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.