Review | VS AMBIVALENZ “Still On Journey”

“Still on Journey” serves as a perfect farewell to the 14-member lineup of VS AMBIVALENZ, leaving a trail of nostalgia and awesome tunes in its wake.

VS AMBIVALENZ "Still On Journey"
Title: Still On Journey
Release date: 15/10/2022
Label: NIZISTA
Genre: Pop/R&B

Tracklist:

1 - Opening Drama Track [Hello, GLANZ!!~vol.4~]
2 - Still On Journey
3 - Close to you
4 - HAPPY GRADUATION
5 - Private & Secret Drama Track

Track by track analysis:

2 – Still On Journey

Marching drums and ethereal synths slowly open the curtains to the hopeful and bright turn “Still on Journey”.

The verses however are quiet, with a shaker, a simple bass drum, and finger snap percussion leading the way.

In the background, pizzicato strings make their entrance, carefully painting the soundscape in front of you.

The chorus is, yet again, a highlight for VS AMBIVALENZ. The way the soundscape opens and the colors in front of you are magical.

Legato strings crescendo into this part, then remain in the background to add an ethereal vibe to this part.

The vocals rise in tension, leading you by hand to a wide, hopeful, and happy soundscape in which the piano hits seem like stars twinkling on the horizon.

When the 2nd verse arrives, the pizzicato strings are back but a snare also joins in the percussion, adding more power to this song.

But instead of moving from the verse to the chorus again, the song brings us to a beautiful bridge.

In this part, Ayumu Murase is an absolute unit with the beautiful high notes, being the perfect contrast to the warm vocals by the rest of the group.

It feels like a goodbye and a thank you. And it is beautiful.

3 – Close to you

A reverberating piano melody paints the background, echoing in the soundscape. Slowly, a dirty snare and bells join in, taking you to the chorus as electric guitars add the final touches.

In an R&B pop fashion, the beat sort of shuffles as the baseline adds emotion to the instrumental as part of VS AMBIVALENZ performs this, oddly, brief part.

The chorus is sweet yet incredibly melancholic. And the vocals reflect that with Tasuku Hatanaka bringing his long notes and vibrato to crank up the tension as Ayumu Murase goes for those long long notes in the background.

With the R&B instrumental and this top performance, it’s impossible not to feel chills run down your spine when the outro arrives and you get highlight after highlight on the vocal end.

This is a rare R&B tune in VS AMBIVALENZ’s repertoire but such a good one that makes me wish the group would venture more into this music genre.

4 – HAPPY GRADUATION

And wrapping up this release is “HAPPY GRADUATION”, song that brings to the spotlight washy synths and a danceable EDM sound.

The soundscape is wide, courtesy of the piano melody playing in the background.

The verses are simple, getting increasingly busy as you get closer to the chorus.

They keep up a good tempo while being upbeat and all happy-go-lucky about their sound.

The chorus is going to be a banger in a live setting, bringing everyone to perform in unison in there as the synths go crazy in the background.

The work on the vocal end is quite interesting, starting from the dynamic between the members and their voice tones.

Makoto Furukawa is mostly leading this song with both his booming low baritone vocals but also in a youthful tone, shifting both characters he voices for this lineup. He makes quite a big impact given that the rest of the lineup doesn’t fall in the baritone vocal range or isn’t performing in such range.

Alongside him are Shintaro Asanuma and Kengo Kawanishi that are showing just how versatile and stable they are throughout a performance. They add a lot of color and emotion to the overall performance.


Final considerations

The VS AMBIVALENZ franchise bids goodbye to this first chapter featuring 14 members in the best way possible.

“Still on Journey” paints a hopeful soundscape in front of the listener while showcasing the best of the group’s 14 vocals in a variety of songs that not only sound tasteful throughout but also that perfectly highlight the talents of all singers.

The group continues to impress with its focus on giving enough time for each vocalist to shine while keeping the instrumental engaging and fun without any of the cheesiness that is commonly found in other 2D idol projects.

As a result, the matchups within songs are made to complement the overall performance without overwhelming the listener or taking away the spotlight from the performances themselves.

There is no definitive highlight in this CD however, “Still on Journey” and “Close to you” stood out as the best songs.

A cohesive sound, refreshing in its presentation and vocal matchups, as well as the individual work by all members, made those songs stand out to me.

As it is, VS AMBIVALENZ’s “Still on Journey” is the perfect goodbye to the 14-member lineup, leaving a bit of nostalgia in the air while looking at the future with 7 members – as XlamV – with hope and a smile on the face.

What is VS AMBIVALENZ?

VS AMBIVALENZ is a 2D music project by NIZISTA (best known for HANDEAD ANTHEM). It has a pretty unique format in which only 7 out of the 14 members will be chosen by you, the listener, for the final lineup.

As of 2023, the final lineup was already chosen and XlamV, the group featuring the final 7-member lineup, made its debut.

The cast includes Shintaro Asanuma, Makoto Furukawa, Chiaki Kobayashi, Reiou Tsuchida, Tasuku Hatanaka, Kengo Kawanishi and Ayumu Murase.

To get to know more about this project, please refer to THTFHQ’s extended article about VS AMBIVALENZ.


Still On Journey” is exclusively available at Nizista, TOWER RECORDS, and Animate Japan’s stores.


Still On Journey” is available for streaming on Spotify.


Do not support piracy. Remember to support VS AMBIVALENZ by streaming via official outlets.

Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder, content creator, and music reviewer. Basically, the only person managing everything at The Hand That Feeds HQ. Stumbling upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" in 2011 was the start of this journey. If music is thought-provoking or deep, you may find her writing almost essays (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). She's the producer and host of the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Still On Journey
Close to you
HAPPY GRADUATION

SUMMARY

"Still on Journey" serves as a perfect farewell to the 14 member lineup of VS AMBIVALENZ, leaving a trail of nostalgia in its wake. As the group transitions into a new era with 7 members - known as XlamV - there is an air of excitement and anticipation for what the future holds. "Still on Journey" creates a hopeful soundscape that not only delights the listener but also serves as a testament to the group's musical vocal prowess. The album's cohesive sound, coupled with the impressive vocal matchups, creates an enchanting experience for listeners. With "Still on Journey," the franchise bids farewell to its first chapter - and 7 of the 14 members - while paving the way for a promising future.

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"Still on Journey" serves as a perfect farewell to the 14 member lineup of VS AMBIVALENZ, leaving a trail of nostalgia in its wake. As the group transitions into a new era with 7 members - known as XlamV - there is an air of excitement and anticipation for what the future holds. "Still on Journey" creates a hopeful soundscape that not only delights the listener but also serves as a testament to the group's musical vocal prowess. The album's cohesive sound, coupled with the impressive vocal matchups, creates an enchanting experience for listeners. With "Still on Journey," the franchise bids farewell to its first chapter - and 7 of the 14 members - while paving the way for a promising future. Review | VS AMBIVALENZ "Still On Journey"