Saturday, 20 September 2014

Review: G.L.A.M.S. - Under the Moon

About the Band: G.L.A.M.S. is the solo project of BLACKLINE frontman, Mikaru with Tetsuto on guitar and BLACKLINE drummer, Syu, on DJ. Dubbed “synthetic art,” G.L.A.M.S. kicked off activities with a seven day art exhibition in Paris in February of this year where Mikaru himself greeted fans and showcased his paintings in what could be considered the art capital of the world. In July, he announced the release of his first EP, Under the Moon, and launched a 13 stop tour that would take it all through Europe. And, he’s not stopping there. Just this month, he announced a hand-made jewelry line which is up for sale through the G.L.A.M.S. homepage.

The Packaging: Pretty standard. You get five tracks on a single disc. He did throw in a few extras for those that pre-ordered. A couple of autographed glossies from his Paris exhibition and a hand-written note that, I have to admit, made me squeal a little. Autographs are nice, but that little note just made the whole thing feel special and I love that he took the time to do it.

The Tracks: Just so you know where I’m coming from on this review, I am a HUGE fan of DiO -Distraught Overlord-. Huge. Mikaru is pretty much my favorite VK vampire ever and listening to this EP made me mourn their loss all over again. I am also….not a fan of BLACKLINE, so I came at this EP with a little bit of apprehension.

Track 1: The Other Side of the Moon

I absolutely love this track. As soon as I heard the opening riff, all my apprehension fell away and, at the sound of Mikaru’s voice, I fell in love all over again. Alternating between dark melodies and crunchy riffs, Mikaru’s sultry voice slides through it all like honey and broken glass. My grasp of the Japanese is feeble at best, but the atmosphere is mournful and maybe just a tad angry, like a relationship broken off too soon.

Track 2: Call My Name

This is the song you catch yourself singing in the shower or walking down the street. Full of catchy, hard-rock hooks and an aggressive melody that will have you moving in your seat, this one is sure to stick with you. The real stand-out for me is the drumline, punching holes in the driving guitar rhythms and cutting through the melody with razor precision.

Track 3: 12:00 A.M.

This track starts off with a piano solo that smacks of X-Japan’s Art of Life and slides right into a weeping guitar line that invokes memories of all those great 80’s power ballads I just can’t get enough of. I really can’t say enough about Mikaru’s voice in this track. It wraps around the guitar/piano counter melody with something deep and soulful. You know those songs that make you emotional, but you’re not really sure why? Yeah. This one.

Track 4: Wanderer

It’s a pop song! Like, really pop complete with repetitive hooks, bright guitars and goofy background vocals. It sort of makes me want to prance through a field handing balloons to sad-faced girls. Honestly, this is the song I skip. So…

Track 5: The Light of My Life

Another one on the poppy side. And a love song in every sense of the word. Like 12:00 AM, we start off with a piano/guitar solo to set the mood, but this one has a decidedly more upbeat feel. A celebration rather than a lamentation of love. The star of this song is a short but slick guitar solo about two thirds of the way through that compliments the sweet melody and will inspire you to raise your lighters and sway in your seat.

Overall, Under the Moon is a very well-rounded and successful first EP. I’m not sure if G.L.A.M.S. is a rock band or a pop band, but that’s not a bad thing. The first three tracks have made it on my heavy-rotation list and I am looking forward seeing what comes next.


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