Carbonic Acid – COUNTDOWN

review - 26.09.2015 10:01

With this, his first original album, guitarist Jinya reveals himself to be one of Japanese metal's best kept secrets.

Jinya has to be one of Japanese metal’s best kept secrets. The guitarist started Carbonic Acid in 2009 while still a high school student, and released a couple of “Touhou Project” arrange albums during 2010. From 2011 on, the project fell almost dormant while Jinya, then known as Tansan, focused on live and guest work with Unlucky Morpheus and other doujin bands. Released on April 26th 2015, COUNTDOWN is not only the first album from Carbonic Acid in five years, but besides a demo in 2012, is Jinya’s first release of original material.

After the obligatory overture, the album begins in earnest with Resolution, a quasi-symphonic power metal number that shows just how far Jinya’s guitar abilities have come since 2010. Fans of “doujin” metal may be reminded of Unlucky Morpheus, an impression only heightened by Jinya’s dexterous shredding and the presence of Tenge “Fuki” Fuyuki belting out the verses. The rest of the first half veers in a melodic rock direction. Fuyuki reins her voice in accordingly, but the solos still soar over the synth-driven melodies of COUNTDOWN and Asagakurumaeni.

Metal gets a second look-in with Desire, a new version of a song originally released on the Unlucky Morpheus release Miseria Kills Slaughterously. Possibly because Jinya composed it back in 2013, the song’s guitar work is a shade less flamboyant than Resolution, and it could be said to work best as yet another showcase for Fuyuki’s awesome voice.

At the onset of seventh track Gyoan ni hirugaere, another slice of melodic rock, COUNTDOWN looks as if its second half will follow the same pattern as its first. But it doesn’t. Instead, Jinya ditches the keyboards and neoclassical flourishes and closes the album with a song modelled on classic heavy metal. The combination of beefy but uncomplicated riffs and Fuyuki’s vocals brings to mind memories of SABER TIGER, one of Japan’s first metal bands to be fronted by a female singer.

A debut album of COUNTDOWN’s quality would be an achievement for any guitarist, but even more so for someone barely into his twenties. Having a singer like Tenge Fuyuki helps, and the songstress is certainly due some credit. Still, that shouldn’t be allowed to diminish the scale of Jinya’s achievement. We can only hope his commitments with Unlucky Morpheus and UNDEAD CORPORATION don’t mean there’ll be another five-year wait for Carbonic Acid’s next album.
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