SuG - n0iZ stAr

review - 02.06.2008 22:00

SuG's first album is definitely heavy positive noise.

Following the release of their rather well received mini-album I SCREAM PARTY, SuG comes out with their first full album. n0iZ stAr is as trendy and fashionable as the way the name is spelled; bright, colorful and wild, the album boasts ten brand new tracks that were clearly made with "heavy positive rock" in mind.

The first track, however, is anything but rock. chocoholic n0iZ is an electronic instrumental piece that goes off on a completely psychedelic tangent. Breathy, eerie chanting completes the futuristic sounding techno piece. The intro shifts perfectly into b.r.k., which opens with skipping electronic beats. Then the heavy guitar refrain kicks in, giving the song a rebellious attitude. Takeru half-shouts the verses, a new style for him that works rather well, and shows off his skills at beat boxing. Despite the new tricks he’s learned, Takeru still retains his trademark rolling of 'R' sounds.

Following is Kokuu. It opens with a heavy backbeat, and the first verse is done in a growling rap, a style that definitely suits Takeru. An electronic melody is repeated throughout the whole song, giving it an insinuating, dark atmosphere, and the entire song has a challenging tone, right down to the pounding transitions. To have Vi-Vi-Vi come next is a little strange, unless it serves as a reply to the angry song it follows. Vi-Vi-Vi is a happy and cutesy pop-rock song. The contrasting guitar play between masato and yuji is the selling point of the track; sadly, the vocals sound too sharp and strained and are a bit distracting.

Yami tsuki delay starts with a psychedelic electronic intro, which sets the mood of the dreamy, mystical song. There is a lot of vocal experimentation in this track, from the synthesized vocals during the verses to the layered rapping-singing-talking of the bridges. Takeru pulls it off well and Yami tsuki delay manages to be catchy and interesting. It ends on an abrupt note, and a soft SE intro takes us into Shikisai, an amazing track with a flowing, light melody. The swaying melody is full of longing, and a poignant guitar solo halfway through reinforces the feeling of nostalgia. Shikisai could have easily been the best track on the album but for two things: Takeru's vocals are too weak to support it, and there is a strange, whiny sounding line at the end that just ruins the beautiful mood.

Thankfully, Takeru makes up for it a little in RomantiC. His falsettos are stronger and may remind you of Isshi from Kagrra, but the real strength of this smooth, gentle track lies in MITSURU's drumming; the play of cymbals on the offbeat make the song appealing.

Then the slower tracks are left behind as SeiyokuHoLiC bursts into life. Heavy and hard with a pulsing beat, SeiyokuHoLiC contains a fast, wailing guitar solo, and the synthesized vocals are used perfectly to highlight Takeru’s own vocal strengths. It is a strong song from SuG and one that will definitely be put on repeat. CRIMSON SODA rounds out the hard, headbanging section. The drums are quick and relentless, the lyrics are practically snarled and the slamming guitars are perfect. The song is loud and energetic with a driving rhythm and wonderful in its straightforwardness.

Uesto Faaito Sto~ri~ (which can be read West Fight Story, but is written in hiragana) seems to be a play on the musical West Side Story, and the retro sounding intro definitely reflects this. The opening guitar and bass lines are teasing with their stop and go play, and then the song becomes fast, cheerful and bouncy. The guitars drive the melody and the playful, bright style is a textbook example of "heavy positive rock." pikaLIFE continues in the same trend. Though it sounds a little like Oreshiki Continue, pikaLIFE has a faster pace and manages to stand on its own. With a rolling beat and sparkling guitar play, the optimistic track is perfect as the ending of the album.

n0iZ stAr shows how SuG has grown as a band. Their compositions have gotten more complex, even as they continue to hone their style and sound. But, n0iZ stAr still has its ups and downs, and the problem is Takeru. If he's good, the song is great, but if he falters it can bring down the entire track. Hopefully, with some time, Takeru will figure out what works for him. In the meantime, n0iZ stAr remains what every band's first album should be: imperfect, but noise worth listening to.
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