Intense, fast-paced, and with some of the best performances by a seiyuu unit, Kashicomi‘s “Dusk” is a highlight reel of a mini-album.
Title: Dusk Label: Kiramune Release date: 15/04/2020 Genre: Rock / Funk / Acoustic
1 - Believer 2 - 雨が止むらのまで 3 - 透き通る青 4 - 仮面の素顔 5 - us 6 - 「ありがと」 7 - Believer (off vocal) 8 - 雨が止むらのまで (off vocal) 9 - 透き通る青 (off vocal) 10 - 仮面の素顔 (off vocal) 11 - us (off vocal) 12 -「ありがと」 (off vocal)
Track by track analysis:
1 – Believer
Overdriven guitar riffs lead the way for “Believer” powerful rock tune overflowing with energy.
Everything in this song is intense, from the fast-paced snary drums to the aggressive, shredding guitar riffs, the synths accents, and even the bouncy bassline.
The tempo is fast in this song, leading to quick verses and thunderous chorus sections in which guitars go all out, drums are massive and vocals are powerful, especially with the duo tackling it in unison.
And that takes me to the vocal end, which is even more interesting than the song itself. Shoya Chiba and Sho Nogami mix clean singing with rapping parts and a couple of rawer sections to spice up things.
They were in absolute sync for this track, working wonders as a team as well as acing their respective solo sections.
Awesome way to kick off this album.
2 – 雨が止むまで
A delicate piano melody plays in the background with Kashicomi’s vocals muffled to some extent. Slowly that muffling fades away and the vocals are clear, the record spins and the listener goes for quite the emotional ride.
“Ame ga yamu made” is a rock tune with power ballad undertones, something that I love to bits and was not expecting from the duo.
There’s drama, a bit of darkness, and quite a lot of melancholy going in this song, something that the piano and guitars flesh out with relative ease.
The verses are melodic, with guitars and bass leading the way in those sections, at least for the first part, leaving a lot of open space for Chiba and Nogami’s vocals to shine.
The second part of the verses is a bit louder, with screaming guitars and powerful drums taking over while a dramatic piano melody plays in the background.
And that massive guitar solo in the bridge? Beyond awesome.
On the other hand, the chorus is bittersweet, mainly due to how Shoya Chiba and Sho Nogami deliver their performance. They went all out with an emotionally charged performance with a lot of vibrato going on.
From the instrumental to the vocals, this song checks all the boxes of a perfect rock tune.
3 – 透き通る青
Things tone down quite a bit for “Sukitoru Ao“. This song also explores ballad territory in classic semi-acoustic rock fashion.
I love the mixing for this track, keeping the acoustic guitars to your left while the cello plays to your right.
That, of course, changes a bit, as drums and overdriven electric guitars make their entrance at center stage, in front of you. For the second verse, a deep bassline makes its way to the spotlight, leading the way for this song.
The verses are emotional and the chorus is powerful without being unnecessarily loud. The solemn touch of the cello is a beautiful touch to this song as well.
On the vocal end, Chiba and Nogami deliver what is their best performance so far as a duo.
Plenty of falsetto mixed with head voice as well as gentle mid-tones. Their confidence shows in their performance, something that makes this song even more enjoyable to listen to.
4 – 仮面の素顔
“Kamen no sugao“ is an interesting rock tune that kicks off in quite the simple, stripped-down way.
It’s just an electric guitar and the vocals leading the way to the chorus, something that I consider genuinely refreshing as far as rock music performed by seiyuu goes.
Strings, a dirty bassline, and hard-hitting snary drums join in for the 2nd verse. By this time, you’re already enveloped in a deep, punchy sound that is quite engrossing.
Chiba and Nogami tap into their range for this song, delivering beautiful high notes, vibrato-filled mid-tones, as well as intense low notes in a very specific section of this song.
All while still impressing as a unit and delivering a stellar set of solo parts on top of it all.
5 – us
Aggressive guitar riffs lead the way for “us”, a high-throttle rock tune that will grab your attention from the get-go.
The verses are fast-paced and intense, with guitar, drums, and bass going loud on top of minimalistic synths. All that tension carries over to the chorus, exploding into one of the most enjoyable choruses I’ve listened to in recent years.
There’s a lot of energy pouring from that section, and it’s infectious. The last thing you know and you’ll be headbanging along to this song.
If you wanted to listen to Kashicomi tackling a rock song in a raw fashion, they deliver that in “us”.
Chiba and Nogami are mainly rough in their approach to this song, with their vocals going low and growly – especially noticeable in their solo parts – however, there’s a duality to their performance with the duo bringing as well powerful clean vocals to the chorus.
6 – ありがと
Wrapping up this mini-album is “Arigato”, song with a smooth jazz-inspired instrumental.
The verses are incredibly melodic with brass, electric guitars, a groovy bassline, and warm snary drums creating a cozy and elegant soundscape that you’ll want to lose yourself in. Legato strings and a classy piano melody add the final touches to this track.
This is a nice change of pacing for the duo as, up until now, they’d been pretty adamant about their aggressive or melancholic rock sound and offered little variety.
The guitar work in this song is absolutely amazing. From the riffs in the verses to the explosion of emotions in the chorus and that stellar guitar solo in the bridge or even those riffs in the outro, it kept guitar enthusiasts satisfied.
Vocals-wise, Kashicomi are in a league of their own.
I enjoy their transitions when performing the solo parts, their harmonies are always on point and carry a perfect amount of emotion, individually they are insanely good, displaying consistency and control over their performance and vocal range – respectively – that impresses time and time again.
I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up this CD. Top marks yet again.
Kashicomi is an underrated duo and I understand why it is but, at the same time, I don’t.
Let me get this straight: Marine Entertainment is not that fond of promoting its artists, which explains why Kashicomi is not that known among fans of seiyuu music.
At the same time, I really don’t have an explanation as to why so many people sleep on this duo. Even with the lack of promotion, if you look hard enough for seiyuu units, you’ll come across them as they are among the best currently active in the music industry.
Then, if you are a fan of theirs, you know that Kashicomi brings rock music to the table + 2 of the most underrated singers among male seiyuu – who happen to have massive vocal range and skills.
In my books, that’s a recipe for a good time and plenty of quality music.
Turns out most people don’t really care about them, which is a pity as they are incredibly talented, showing that on various occasions throughout “DUSK”.
On top of that, they have a muscled rock sound that is, more often than not, aggressive. And that, of course, is welcomed due to its rarity among music projects – solo, group, band – among seiyuu.
“DUSK” is a highlight reel of a mini-album.
Every song you choose to listen in this CD is a sure-fire winner. Rock is king for Kashicomi, taking the spotlight for 4 out of the 5 songs in this CD.
Jazz makes its appearance in “Arigato” and the duo throws it out of the park, delivering a performance that makes me wish they were actually exploring that type of music from now on.
There are plenty of high-throttle rock tunes in “DUSK”. My first recommendation is, of course “us”, song that leans a bit over punk-rock but has the edge and rawness that I love in straightforward rock music. It may also be the easiest song to listen out of all high-throttle rock tunes on this CD.
Then you have “Ame ga yamu made” which is a melancholic take on rock music, bringing goth elements into the mix, leading to what I consider as one of the best rock songs released by seiyuu in 2020.
If you’re more of an acoustic rock fan, Kashicomi got you covered. “Sukitoru Ao” and “Kamen no sugao“ are beautiful songs with quite tasteful performances on top.
If you want something with an 80s flair and more bouncy or even closer to pop music, there’s “Arigato”.
It’s a simple, loungy jazz-rock tune with delicate strings and a punchy bassline in the mix not to mention top performances by Chiba and Nogami.
This is my first ever exposure to Kashicomi, finding them after releasing a couple of singles and not having experienced their evolution to this point in “DUSK”.
I was expecting something quite different from them (at the time this review dropped, this was my first contact with their music), especially having into account how Marine Entertainment is really keen on electronica/dance music but thankfully, Kashicomi are a rock duo with a strong identity, a robust sound and outstanding vocals to boot.
Sho Nogami and Shoya Chiba make quite the awesome duo.
They’ve got previous experience working together as part of High X Joker (Nogami as the main vocal and Chiba as the leader, vocal, and guitarist).
To top it all off, Nogami brings a lot of experience from his performances as part of Tsukipro’s QUELL whereas Chiba brings his rocker edge from EROSION, and a lot of versatility from experiences with SparQlew, 8P, KiLLER KiNG, and, most recently, NOISE NOVA.
Together they have a vast range lying on top of their tenor/high baritone vocals as well as an arsenal of techniques – falsetto, vibrato, head voice, active listening – that vastly improve their performances.
Both are insanely comfortable performing whatever music genre you ask them to, which is also a massive plus, not to mention, something that shows in their performances.
All in all, Kashicomi’s “DUSK” is one of the best mini-albums I’ve listened to in the past couple of years and most certainly the best CD I’ve listened from a 2D unit in a decade.
The duo is well worth your attention because they are overflowing with talent and awesome rock tunes.
Dusk is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.