alice nine

 




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Singles Below
Shooting Star
Shadowplay
Daybreak
Niji no Yuki
Heart of Gold
Blue Flame
Senkou

29th May 2013
Shooting Star
Written by Rachel Yarwood

"Shooting Star" is a charming if slightly earnest ending to the trio of consecutive single releases from Visual Kei rock band Alice Nine. 
We have the return of Saga's piano, but unlike the second single "Shadowplay", the piano introduction has a much softer melody. It really compliments the track as a whole,  the song opening fully with this melancholic sounding soft rock ballad. 
Shou's vocals have an extra charm around them, soft for the verse and picking up for the chorus to coincide with the extra boost we get from the guitars (Hiroto and Tora) and Nao's drumming.
The guitar compositions and drums are slightly relaxed for "Shooting Star" as the track emphasizes quite a bit on the classical and the vocals. However there is a good, strong, bass rhythm that also remains consistent and with the additional chorus of violins the song which balances the elements of rock and ballad really well. 
"Shooting Star" is a charming and beautiful finale to the consecutive releases from Alice Nine, with a rather cinematic feel to the ending, which brings the three to a perfect close. 
"Shooting Star" will be released officially on the 29th of May in three editions, Regular, Limited A and Limited B editions. The Regular Edition will feature four tracks, "Shooting Star", "Affection" and the instrumental versions of both these tracks. The Limited Edition A will feature the same number of tracks plus an additional DVD featuring the music video and 'making of' of "Shooting Star" plus a live video.Finally, the Limited Edition B will feature the same tracks but the additional DVD will feature the music video for "Affection" and a live video. 
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17th April 2013
SHADOWPLAY
Written by Rachel Yarwood

"SHADOWPLAY" is the second of the three consecutive single releases from Alice Nine. 
As the title track of the same name opens we are greeted with a violin and piano instrumentation along with Shou on vocals. It all sounds very much like a ballad until the verse begins fully and the rest of the band enter with considerably heavier guitar (Tora, Hiroto) and drumming (Nao). 
"SHADOWPLAY" combines the classical elements of the piano, which remains through out the track as a lovely contribution, alongside the heavy rock. The pounding of the kick drums might prove to be a little too overpowering perhaps for some, but Alice Nine seem to pull this off rather well especially as Shou's vocals are so strong as well. What started out then as a melodic, could have been, ballad was very quickly transformed into a highly energetic song with a superb double guitar solo included. 
What "SHADOWPLAY" lacked in a prominent bass line, the second track on the single "Scarlet" definitely makes up as we have a great opening piece from Saga that continues most noticeably in each stanza. "Scarlet" is slightly slower in tempo as more of your classic rock song but is a very good b-side on the release. 
"SHADOWPLAY" will be released on the 17th of April and this time will only be released in two editions which are Regular and Limited Editions. The Regular Edition will feature three tracks in total, "SHADOWPLAY", "Scarlet" and "SHADOWPLAY -instrumental". The Limited Edition will feature the same tracks but will come with an additional DVD which will feature the music video of "SHADOWPLAY" and the making of. It will also have two live performances from their 2012 tour 'Court of "9"#4 Grand Finale COUNTDOWN LIVE'. 
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20th March 2013
Daybreak
Written by Rachel Yarwood

With seven different versions of "Daybreak" to choose from nobody could really blame you if you went ahead and bought every single version. There are, in total, five special editions, which feature one of the Alice Nine members on the CD cover and a different live song (which is the third track on each release). The Limited Edition comes with an additional DVD and the Regular Edition lingers amongst the rest as, well, just the regular edition but will be the one being reviewed here! However if you purchase this as an online EP then you do get the instrumental version of "Daybreak" as well as the live third track. 
So the question is... whose face do you choose and which live song beats the rest?
The single opens with "Daybreak" and the introduction alone is a fantastic build up of distant guitars before Shou's vocals enter for the first part of the verse. Saga's bass line becomes more prominent half way through the verse, with a deep and bouncing rhythm.  This works like an encouragement for the drums (Nao) and the guitars (Tora, Hiroto) to step things up a notch. 
The track continues in this way, a constant build up, before the chorus, which then explodes with even more melody. Shou's vocal work is truly exceptional, and he works this song to the greatest advantage, there is a nice mix of softer vocals during the verse and then the increase of volume and melody for the chorus along with the instrumentation. 
There is no guitar solo for this track but another climatic build-up of instruments and vocals before the final chorus. You do not even realise until the end because the consistency of "Daybreak" is just so good that you are kept entertained by this song from start to finish, the finish, which brings us right back to what we heard in the opening; the distant riff of Hiroto's guitar. 
"Himitsu" follows and surprisingly the excitement that you will have surely felt listening to "Daybreak" will not fade. This second track certainly ups the cool and the funk with an addition of acoustic guitar. Along with this we obviously have electric guitar and also violin, the effect of these together sound very good. 
There is a strong bass rhythm as well which remains constant throughout and Shou's vocals are equally as good again, mixing suave vocals with the more melodic singing, to keep in touch with the style of "Himitsu". 
"Daybreak" truly is a sound release from Alice Nine and one, which if you did purchase all editions for the extra songs, it would be money well spent. 
"Daybreak" will be released on the 20th of March in seven editions in total as mentioned. It is the first of three singles to be released over 3 months from Universal Music. 
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21st December 2011
Niji no Yuki
Written by Kitty Linton

"Niji no Yuki" is Alice Nine's newest and also their last, single release of 2011. The official release date is set for the 21st December and it will come in three editions, the Regular edition and Type A and Type B editions (the latter two coming with an additional bonus DVD). 
"Niji no Yuki", the title and first track on the new release, begins with a slow piano introduction before the band enter fully with a melodic yet downbeat sound and tempo. 
With their last single "Heart of Gold" we had the fast paced and classic rock quality of Alice Nine and now we are closing the year with something different. You can figure for yourselves what this song is going to entail from the very first few seconds, as soon as Shou begins on vocals, you are completely right in guessing that this song is going to be a ballad. 
On the other hand, as mellow as the song is to begin with, Tora and Hiroto (lead and rhythm guitar) certainly add just that bit more melody and rock quality that is more than welcomed to offset the smoother sound. Tora leads the way for the solo, shortly followed by Hiroto, giving the song, a fantastic and dramatic lift. 
The song then closes with the final lyrics from Shou, accompanied by the piano, which wraps things up perfectly for the next song, "Nemesis" (the second and relatively more upbeat track than "Niji no Yuki"), to follow on from. 
"Niji no Yuki" is a wonderful new ballad from the quintet. It is a pleasant, beautiful, and close to relaxing piece to finish the year with and holds the possibility of a strong and explosive start for their next release for 2012.
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7th September 2011
Heart of Gold
Written by Rachel Yarwood

From the very opening of "Heart of Gold" you are thrown straight into the core of Alice Nine’s brand new single with fast drum beats, an equally upbeat rhythm from the bass and attention grabbing melodies from the guitars.
This release, out on the 7th September, comes in three editions which are two limited editions (Type A and Type B) with bonus DVD footage and the regular edition which features three songs in total; "Heart of Gold", "Ray" and "Haikara Naru Rinbu Kyoku". 
Shou (vocals) gives Alice Nine fans nothing less than can be expected. His voice is exceptionally clear, hitting every note with wonderful precision and with "Heart of Gold" especially, Shou gives this song another boost of melody with fantastic charisma. 
Along with the highly uplifting vocals we get from Shou and the equally uplifting compositions from Hiroto (rhythm guitar) and Tora (lead guitar), we also have this fantastic sounding bass from Saga. The bass is resonant amongst the guitar, giving the song that bit more of a heavier edge, keeping the rhythm on high with sheer clarity. 
Nao's drumming, especially for "Heart Of Gold", gives more of a slight pop rock quality in particular as he adds this wonderfully upbeat and catchy pace to the song to compliment Shou's vocals and offset the heaviness of the bass just a notch. 
In place of a guitar solo, there is a nice crescendo of both vocals and instruments, leading us into the final section of the song, which then ends rather epically, drawing everything to a superb and definitively abrupt end with a final bash of the drums from Nao. 
"Heart Of Gold" is a nice new follow on from their last release "Blue Flame". Alice Nine never fail to impress with their catchy melodies or their beautiful and sombre ballads. It is a definite certainty that fans' expectations will be on high for the next and last single release of the year, "Niji no Yuki", which will be being released on the 21st December. Let's hope that it will be a classy way to end 2011.
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8th June 2011
Blue Flame
Written by Rachel Yarwood

The five piece are back with a sizzling new single entitled "Blue Flame", the standard edition giving their fans three brand new songs, "Blue Flame", "Zankyou White Out" and "G3".
"Blue Flame" is altogether an impressive new release from Alice Nine. They have proven that they are far from over with their earlier, heavier, rock influences as they are giving us something with more of a meaner bite to excite us yet again after a rather lengthy wait since their last single "Stargazer" in November last year. 
"Blue Flame", the title and first song on the single, begins with an upbeat sound, leaning slightly towards this glam rock element with both the drums (Nao) and the guitars (Tora / Hiroto) working especially well together to create this funky and dance-like atmosphere, whilst Shou (vocals) gives us a little bit of a pop twist to the song.
The guitar solo, to which both Tora and Hiroto share some solo time, enhances this glam rock quality even further. Both effortless, melodic and stylish, if you take your attention away for a split second then you will have missed it.
Arguably the most outstanding of the tracks on "Blue Flame" is their third song.
"G3" should of course not be mistaken as a re-master of their previous "Gokusai Gokusai Gokusai (G3)" because it has no similarities to this song at all... all but the fact that they are both heavy rock songs that are meant to get your pulses racing.
"G3" is certainly the heaviest track on the single. It includes a rapid opening and this effortless yet pounding bass line from Saga which, altogether, is sure to rate it for becoming the new song to lose yourselves rocking out to.
Alice Nine have proven themselves once again with regards to this new release.
They have given us yet another superb single, including a variety of both the old and the new styles of Alice Nine, which could prove a little hard to follow up... but with this year already being one that has shown a hell of a lot of promise from the band, there are high hopes that we can expect nothing less for the next release.
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25th August 2010
Senkou
Written by Keita Eiri-Uesugi

“Senkou” is the new release from Alice Nine.
With a slightly traditional, oriental sounding twist at the beginning, which is repeated through other intervals of the track, this release certainly seems to be slightly heavier in tone to some of their previous releases. There's stronger influences laid upon the guitar work of Tora and Hiroto during the chorus and instrumentals, before switching emphasis on the bass and drums throughout the verses.
The instrumental gives a dark and creeping sound switching from one guitarist to the other.
Nao’s tapping upon his closed hi-hat sweeps through the first verse, before laying a decent sounding drum beat through most parts of the song. He does seem to take several occasions to sweep each skin with those sticks, before flying back to keeping the song in pace. It’s an easy beat to pick out when you listen closely, and in conjunction with Saga upon bass, who has a fast tempo and plays quite speedily even if at points, the bass is rather simplistic in sound. 
Vocally, it’s the sort of song of which you would know it was Alice Nine as soon as the lyrics kick in, with Shou’s voice being as consistent as with many other releases by the band. He keeps his tone throughout, holding his notes in place well, his voice lifting for a soaring sounding chorus and rich verses.
"Senkou" is a pretty strong release for Alice Nine, especially after such a quiet period from the triple release of singles in 2008. "Stargazer" is released in a few months time and with the strengths that this track seems to already portray, it can only leave greater expectations.