Almost exactly a year after the release of L'Arc~en~Ciel's single Wings Flap, Don't be Afraid followed on December 21st, 2016. Three editions were released and they all featured the same five tracks. The title track of the single is used as main theme song for the live action movie "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" in Japan. One of the editions is completely dedicated to the "BIOHAZARD" franchise, as the well-known game series is titled in Japan, and this review is on this edition.
The BIOHAZARD x L'Arc~en~Ciel limited edition isn't exactly cheap at 4,600 yen, but this version comes in high-quality packaging with lots of extras. As well as the CD, a bonus Blu-ray, a poster, a storyboard booklet and a flyer for the movie, starring Milla Jovovich, are all hidden within the LP-sized digipack. The jacket artwork changes depending on the angle you're looking at it: one angle shows the four musicians as armed soldiers in some kind of videogame look and alternately they appear as zombies. The set is completed in the first press with a plastic bag, which features the soldiers on one side and the zombie version on the other. But now it's time to listen to the CD.
Soon after the first chords you'll realize that Don't be Afraid offers the familiar and beloved rock mix of L'Arc~en~Ciel — there’s no attempt at experimentation here. On the title song you're hearing powerful instruments and also a melancholic piano chord. During the refrain a hopeful, encouraging mood comes up and during the bridge ken joins in with an atmospheric guitar solo. The title track is followed by the leisurely paced ballad Cradle in the "L'Acoustic version". The piano plays a big part in this piece and is supported by soft percussion and hyde's emotional vocals. Tracks three and four offer the previously mentioned songs as instrumentals. Subsequently, there is another version of Don't be Afraid, but this one is performed entirely in English. The English version can take the Japanese one on any time, and as the language barrier is no longer a problem, you can follow the fight for courage much better.
Until this point the music titles on the two limited editions and regular CD versions are identical. However, tracks six through 36 on the "BIOHAZARD x L'Arc~en~Ciel" edition are short spoken lines which hyde, ken, tetsuya and yukihiro recorded for Biohazard® x L'Arc~en~Ciel on PlayStation® VR — including zombie growls.
The bonus Blu-ray features the music video for Don't be Afraid and the video "Don't be Afraid -Biohazard® x L'Arc~en~Ciel on PlayStation® VR-" -6 Sided Multi Video Movie- (the title track runs in the background). During the latter video you're watching six parallel monitors and L'Arc~en~Ciel fighting against several zombies. Unfortunately it’s not possible to switch to only one of the camera angles; the whole time you're staring at the six parallel running frames. However, videogame veterans will surely start to wallow in memories with "BIOHAZARD®" -20th Special History Movie-. This retrospective film shows scenes and main characters from all of the past versions of the main game. Lastly, the Blu-ray also features a trailer, "BIOHAZARD 7 resident evil" TAPE-1, for the upcoming seventh installment of the series. The total run time of the Blu-ray is 18 minutes and of course, the disk unites high quality pictures and sound.
It's true that the music of Don't be Afraid could have been a bit more aggressive in places but the track still possesses a certain drama. Even if the combination of "Resident Evil" and L'Arc~en~Ciel could have much more tension, interested fans of Don't be Afraid can at least enjoy the familiar musical quality. Fans of the games and movies will have a nice set with this special limited edition that can shorten the waiting time for the release of the next film and game.
L'Arc~en~Ciel - Don't be Afraid
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© L'Arc~en~Ciel. Provided by Live Viewing Japan.