review - 01.10.2011 10:01

A rich and multilayered call for peace.

Rock guitarist and all-rounded musician SUGIZO has always written about his wish for the end of war across the world, for example in No More Machine Guns Play the Guitar and his works in his previous band The FLARE. New digital single ENOLA GAY, released 15th August, is no exception. It was originally played at his 2008 concert ~RISE TO COSMIC DANCE~ at Shibuya AX, but it is surely no coincidence that it hasn't been until three years later at a time of nuclear crisis in Japan that it has emerged in its own right. Enola Gay is the name of the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb as a weapon of war, and it notably did so in 1945 to devastate the city of Hiroshima. August 15th is also significant as the date Japan surrendered in the Second World War.

The single is, not unusually, dominated by electric guitar. There is reverse reverb and a creeping synth loop at the start, giving it a surreal quality. Heavy, thudding guitar pounds throughout periodically, giving the track an aggressive overtone. Along with a deep synth bass and some similarly vicious drumming, it initially has a cold sort of hostility. A screaming lead guitar takes the main melody, singing out starkly against the darker backing with more humanity as well as pain. Russian vocalist ORIGA also features, and her lyricless offering rings out like a prayer. The tone of the piece shifts to something altogether more hopeful when she appears — SUGIZO accompanies the vocals with a clear, repeating acoustic-electric guitar melody, the likes of which he often utilised in previous works such as Le Fou and LUNA. It flips repeatedly between the mechanical, hard rock and the uplifting improvisation of ORIGA. The two styles end up intertwining towards the end, with the cold beat, SUGIZO's wailing guitar and the soaring, undulating vocals merging to end it all on a more optimistic note. SUGIZO himself has said that it changes "into a dubstep-esque form"; while it may borrow some of the rhythms and bass from this genre be assured that it is altogether much less dark than most dubstep.

The description that has accompanied the single release states that it is "A requiem created by a song of salvation that goes beyond cries of pain." It sums up the message of it well. Since the song first appeared in the 2008 live, fans have expressed their eagerness for it to be released in some form. Now that it finally has been, it is easy to see why it has gathered such a following. A poignant juxtaposition of light and dark, it is a skillfully arranged piece and emotional message.
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