Various Artists - V-ROCK Disney

review - 11.12.2011 11:01

Disney and visual kei?!

To date, many Disney omnibus cover albums have been released and cover a variety of genres: house, J-pop, r'n'b and punk. Now, a visual kei/visual rock cover album can be added to that list. Released on September 14, V-ROCK Disney takes original, classic Disney favourites to a new level.

The omnibus cover album opens with The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Nightmare. The original, from the film "Fantasia," was used in the background during a scene where Mickey forces a magical broom to work. The feeling conveyed in the original was that something conspicuous was happening; Nightmare amplifies this feeling yet morphs this instrumental track that carries a creepier feeling which carries into the next track.

Following The Sorcerer's Apprentice is another track from Nightmare: a rockier version of the "Aladdin" classic, Friend Like Me. The lyrics can be a little difficult to fully understand and is hard take seriously as the track is filled with "Engrish," but the listener can still appreciate Nightmare’s effort and that they have captured the Disney classic rather well.

LUNA SEA vocalist Ryuichi Kawamura’s cover of Beauty and the Beast is a nice version of the sweet original ballad. The cover stands out in the omnibus album for its playful use of rockier guitar riffs during an instrumental section of the song despite a slow, mellow intro that mimics the original composition. For long-time Disney fans that also enjoy rock, this cover of Beauty and the Beast is recommended to listeners.

The next track is a cover of Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride from "Lilo and Stitch" by Penicillin. The original is far slower and has a tribal sound to it; Penicillin’s cover takes the base melody and singing in English, and turns the track into a wilder visual kei track.

Chim Chim Cher-ee by Plastic Tree sounds truest to its original counterpart. Plastic Tree adds an extra eerie, sinister tone to the vocals that isn’t heard in the original composition. This cover is perhaps the highlight of the cover album as it captures the best of the original song without copying it exactly.

A cover of This Is Halloween by Sadie offers the similar dark approach as Marilyn Manson’s cover of the original Nightmare Before Christmas track. Gritty, raw guitar riffs and chilling, off-key vocals sung in English is a fresh take on the original version of This Is Halloween. Sadie’s dark image and Mao’s low vocals fit well with this track.

A surprising pop number follows on from This Is Halloween with the track Can You Feel the Love Tonight sung by Aoi. Instead of a slow ballad like the original, Aoi applies previous musical styles when part of ayabie into this track with a light but majestic pop tone.

THE KIDDIE’s version of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious includes more synthesizers than the original and carries an unexpected wild feeling in the track. THE KIDDIE’s cover revitalizes the song and takes a new, pop-rock angle to the track most recognizable to the generation who watched the 1964 musical film, "Mary Poppins."

When You Wish Upon a Star by Ninjaman Japan is a cover that brings out easily identifiable visual kei elements such as prominent guitar lines and an interesting tempo, paired with nasal vocals. This version of When You Wish Upon a Star is very energetic as compared to the previous tracks, and to the original.

Next is CASCADE’s cover of Heigh-Ho, originally from "Snow White" where the Seven Dwarves are working the mine. The original is rather calm and minimal, but CASCADE turns the classic track into a rockier number with faint oshare kei elements that focus on happier, colourful tones within the music.

The final track is DASEIN’s visual kei-inspired cover of You'll Be in My Heart from Tarzan. The original was sung by Phil Collins in English, but DASEIN presents their version of the song completely in Japanese while still sounding similar to a power ballad from the mid-90s.

V-ROCK Disney is incredibly entertaining, for both Disney and visual kei fans alike. This sort of crossover between two unthinkable music genres and countries is unusual, so it’s worth giving it a listen.
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