Sound — 9
Over a year ago, Japan's latest export Coldrain released their 3rd studio album "The Revelation," recorded and produced once again with recording legend David Bendeth at his House of Loud, the aim of the album was to help the band evolve and break into the international post-hardcore scene. Fast-foward to today, and after supporting bands in Europe and making their name in the European festival scene, the band are now releasing the album to an international market with the thanks to Hopeless Records. The international version of the album has some big changes to the original album originally put out. In order to get us all up-to-date with their releases, the band took 5 of the 6 tracks of their latest EP release from Japan ("Until the End") and put them on the album, taking way some of the less favourite tracks from the original album track listing (for those wondering, the one track from the EP that they left off the album happens to be a slow song, which being they kept the slow tracks from the album, would not fit well). For this review, I will take the international track listening for the album.
"The Revelation" continues on from where the band left with their last EP, which was also recorded and produced at the House of Loud with David, and adds to what the band offers with a heavier feel. The band while making the album wanted to make the heavy tracks heavier and the melody parts better, and it shows. Right off the bat you are presented with two iconic tracks off the album, starting with "The War Is On," you are given a slow intro, showing off vocalist Masato's smooth clean vocals, which jumps straight into some heavy track work on the guitars and heavy vocals from Masato, showing that the band is able to mix the melodies with the heavy licks. The track also hits you with a strong solo by the hands of lead guitarist Yokochi, which is arguably one of his best work. Once you have been treated to a track which showcases the band, you are then hit with the album titled track, which has been described by some as the best post hardcore track around right now, and its easy to see why, the track is full of energy, showcasing some of the improved riff work by the guitars, and backed up by the screams of Masato. Within 10 minuets of listening to the album, you are given a strong indication of what the album, and the band, is capable of. Following on from the first two tracks you are meat with the same energy in the tracks with an up tempo song "Fade Away," a crowd jumping "Given Up on You" and a high energy "Evolve." If that isn't enough to lick your lips, the band were able to make "Voiceless," which is a classic example of a song that gets the crowd to sing along with the band.
During the production of the album, the band started to play around adding backing tracks of strings, keyboards and synths with catchy results, songs like "Fade Away," "Behind the Curtain" and "Chasing Dreams" are perhaps the first 3 tracks you get a good listen to the backing tracks. The clever thing about what the band and David Benedth did was not to overdo the effects, and only add them to parts which lacked "music," like the intro and the start of the final chorus of "Behind the Curtain."
Outside of the vocal work, the rest of the band brings some of their best work the band has given. Drummer Katsuma could be called the unsung hero of the album, His kicks may not be heard to people who don't listen out for the drums, but the power of them helps glue together a strong performance from the rest of the band. Bass players in Japan are usually popular, flamboyant and very technical, bassist Ryo is not this, however he doesn't need to, his work on controlling the tempos are perfect on the album. Guitarists Sugi (rhythm) and Yokochi (lead) went for a new feel on the album by changing their guitar setups with heavier gauges and more effects and it all paid off for the end product, Sugi managed to produce riffs which while they may not stand the test of time like other classics, they are able to get any crowd on their feet to his music. Yokochi's lead work is almost a thing of beauty, on this album the band decided to play around with adding more solo's and Yoko brought some great solo's to the table using a vast collection of effects. Some of these effects are clear to hear and add to the track, like the start lead to "Aware and Awake," and the echoing from "War Is On."
Lyrics — 7
One of the problems with Japanese bands when doing English vocals is the grammar and the flow of the lyrics. Coldrain break this usual fad, and it all comes down to vocalist Masato, who happens to be half American and half Japanese. Masato doesn't throw any tricks at you, his lyrics are somewhat simple, but at the same time powerful. At the same time you are left taken back at his clean accent while singing, you are then met by his strong vocals and his uncanny ability to mix clean vocals with the heavy screams. The best way to describe his vocals would almost be to call him a modern day Chester Bennington. Masato would do an entire album using his clean vocals and it would still be great, and the same for his heavier work, but he is able to mix them up with great success. With this album his work was a vast improvement from old albums. If you were to listen to their back catalogue and pick apart Masato's vocals and lyrics, you can see how throughout time his work has come on steps, with this album bring his best work with a lot more flow with his work.
Despite simple lyrics, the delivery of them are what matters, examples can be taken from tracks like "Evolve" - "I've given all I have each day and night / So until death I swear I'll stand and fight / This is me at the edge." The power of the lyrics are on full display on the slower track from the album "Chasing Dreams" - "There is no road to possibility/ There is nowhere to what we can achieve/ So I'll be the fool that still believes/ We can make a difference in this world/ Chasing our dreams." The band also have a lot of lyrics that will sure to get the crowd singing along with the band, with examples like Voiceless, where the crowd will be on their feet screaming "wake up, wake up... Stand up, stand up."
Overall Impression — 9
Overall the band flew to America to make this album with a couple points in mind: to produce an album that they could play live, get the crowd jumping and produce a lot of energy, and also, to produce an album that they could break the international scene with. The band has achieved both with this album. "The Revelation" could be argued as one of the best post-hardcore albums being released this year, it boasts some of the top post-hardcore tracks that will be around for a couple years like the self-titled album, "The Revelation" and "Evolve." The album is more about the emergence of a fresh post-hardcore band and less about a new Japanese band wanting to break into the music scene outside of their home country. And while this could be argued as their best work to date in Japan, it has to be consider a strong debut album (despite all their old albums and EP's are on iTunes) which is bound to help the band break into the international scene and cement their place as the next big band.