Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hizaki - Dance with grace

A More Collaborative Effort

Dance with Grace continues in the style of the previous EP, Maiden Ritual. The biggest difference this time around is the much longer and more extensive list of guest musicians. One considerable upgrade is the presence of an actual drummer (although some of the bass kicks sound pretty weird). I'd also say that the guest vocalists are better. Each track has a different vocalist, and my favorite is easily Yoshi. He has a very nice, clean tone and pretty good control of his voice. Of course, he has the mandatory, over-the-top vibrato, but uses it in a more sparing and restraining manner. I also liked Masaki's voice quite a bit on track four. The other guys are all okay, but Yoshi stood out the most to me by a fair margin.

Naturally, the main draw here is Hizaki's guitar playing. As usual, he delivers the high-octane, neoclassical-styled power metal you want. However, there is one twist on Dance with Grace. The bizarrely titled song, sister's sex features some more aggressive thrashy riffing and surprised me quite a bit when I first heard it. The vocalist here, Maaya, does only highly distorted screams and growls to match. It's not a bad idea, but the vocal effects seem pretty excessive and a bit distracting. Nothing dealbreaking, but I feel this one could have been executed better.

Unfortunately, there is no instrumental number on this EP which is the biggest loss to me. Every song on here is excellent Japanese-styled power metal, but I'm a pretty big fan of Hizaki's instrumental songs. Nonetheless, there's still plenty of great neoclassical soloing here. A slight step down to me, but highly enjoyable nonetheless.

Rating: 83/100.

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