ROCK DOWN‘s Sho Onoda kicks off the 3rd season of the bi-color CD series with an eclectic entry in “-diamond×hematite-“.
ROCK DOWN consists of Yukitoshi Kikuchi (leader), Yoshiaki Hasegawa, Takuya Sato, Taito Ban,Takuya Masumoto, Keisuke Koumoto.
Title: 小野田 翔-diamond×hematite- Label: MOVIC Release date: 26/03/2021 Genre: Electro-Rock/Pop
1 - DRAMA「Let's go for a ride.」 2 - DRAMA「星降る丘で」 3 - Shining visions [solo song] 4 - Endless Night [duet song] 5 - Shining visions -off vocal- 6 - Endless Night -off vocal-
Track by track analysis:
3 – Shining visions
Delicate piano and refined violin melodies make quite the entrance in “Shining visions”. However, don’t expect that intensity and energy to carry over to the verses, at least not in the same way.
There’s 2 parts to the verses.
A quieter section, with strings and piano painting a beautiful soundscape and then, the middle-section leading to the pre-chorus. That section rises in tension, bringing a simple EDM beat and dirty synths into the mix, later exploding into the colorful chorus.
Kikuchi’s gentle vocals fit this piece like a glove.
He trails slowly and confidently through the verses – showcasing a lot of control over his singing tone -, culminating into a strong performance in the chorus. This is among his best solo performances in the VAZZROCK franchise.
4 – Endless Night
To wrap up this single, “Endless Night” goes the picturesque route.
Acoustic guitars are urgent, the beat is dark, there’s mystery in the piano melodies while the bassline takes centerstage, creating quite the unique song – a first in the VAZZROCK franchise.
The verses are short – or will give you the impression of being short – while exuding quite the dramatic vibe. Things don’t necessarily change much when you get to the chorus but I feel that the slightly key change for this part made it sound more hopeful than what is behind it.
On the vocal end, Yukitoshi Kikuchi (Sho Onoda) and Takuya Masumoto (Gaku Oguro) team up to deliver a mellow performance. The contrast between Kikuchi’s higher-toned vocals and Masumoto’s deep, robust lower-toned vocals works wonders at fleshing out the picturesque tone of this song.
The first entry in the 3rd season of the bi-color series in the VAZZROCK franchise is here and it is helmed by ROCK DOWN’s leader Sho Onoda (voiced by Yukitoshi Kikuchi).
“Shining visions” embraces those classical, dramatic elements that have been at the core of Onoda’s music however it gives those a twist by adding a danceable layer to it, making the song lean more towards EDM with rock elements rather than the usual electronic-rock that the character is known for.
“Endless Night” does have a picturesque vibe to it that you could say, in a way, takes inspiration from Growth (lyrical pop unit part of the Tsukipro franchise)’s trademark sound however, I felt like the execution was a too bland. There’s no twist to the song, no real part in which tension rises into a satisfying climax (like, once again, Growth are able to achieve with picturesque music) thus, although an enjoyable song, I feel like its attempt at the genre was rather bland.
As you may be aware by now, especially if this is not the first time you check VAZZROCK’s music, Kikuchi has quite the unique high singing tone.
Over the course of 2 years, he’s managed to improve a lot his singing and made his unique tone work in situations in which most people were certain it wouldn’t.
Sho Onoda’s “diamond×hematite” shows that growth on the vocal end for Kikuchi. He shows confidence throughout, there’s consistency in his performance, his long notes are rock solid (which shows that his control and stamina improved) and, when the time came to perform the duet song “Endless Night” he was harmonizing with such an ease that impressed me.
All in all, Sho Onoda’s “diamond×hematite” is a solid entry in the 3rd season of the bi-color series. Not brilliant but showcasing a lot of growth on Kikuchi’s side while setting an interesting tone for this CD series.
Onoda Sho -diamond×hematite- is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.