Awake review by L'Arc~en~Ciel

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  • Released: Sep 20, 2005
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (120 votes)
L'Arc~en~Ciel: Awake
3

Sound — 7
This album is much heavier than most of its previous ones. It is still fairly commercial when you compare it with other J-rock bands like Dir En grey. The album has excellent instrumentation and harmony. Most notable is that in "Ophelia." It's not any typical rock piece, the piano figures highly and brings the song to appropriate climaxes. It sounds intense without being heavy. Other than that, there are standard rock pieces inside, "Killing Me" or "Existence." The solos (guitar) require average technique but they complement the song well. It has a certain ad hoc feel to it, but each note falls in the correct place. The riffs don't exactly figure highly, what makes this album stands out is its harmony and instrumentation. Their style is pretty understated, and their complexity lies in the more subtle portions of the song.

Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are in Japanese so I have little idea! However, english verses pepper the album, and I would say that they're passable. English is not Hyde's (the vocalist and songwriter) native language anyway. Hyde definitely has a voice of his own. His crescendoes figure highly as well as vocal strength. Though not as finessed as many '80s hair metal vocalists, what figures highly is his vocals' originality.

Overall Impression — 8
L'Arc En Ciel (and I guess every other band) are in their own ballpark and it'll not be useful to compare them with any other artist. Not too good pieces (in my opinion) are "Awake," "Lost Heaven," in a sense they're a little generic. And are more or less aimed at a general audience. To a lesser extent "As One" because it sounds a little like generic American nu-metal, hardcore. Even though I quite like it being the heaviest song within the album. I like the songwriting, the instrumentation etc. But overall, it's still quite a standard rock album, and doesn't break much new ground. That's the downside, I think. I would get the album again if its lost. One thing I like about it is how the band balances complexity, subtelity and accessibility into one album, something few have done.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    NightwishAngel
    L'Arc is my top favorite band from Japan. They mix up alternative rock, hard rock and pop; and they do it really well. As being a die-hard fan, L'Arc~En~Ciel is a band that rock fans might wanna check out
    vincenttt
    yeah. i agree with you. as of now, they are my favorite band.. Hyde's vocals, and Tetsu's bass playing, he is a genius when it comes to creating bass music, ive never seen an american band or english band that play (or create music of) bass guitar the way tetsu is doing..
    Oxalis
    Yeah i agree. I think everyone in the band has amazing talent and skill.
    Candelabra
    Vincenttt has hit the nail on the head. Tetsu is by far one of the edgiest and most skilled bassists around today. He does things others wouldn't even dream of and takes the Bass Guitar into a whole new dimension. All the guys in this band are fantastic at what they do and this album, as well as all of their others, definitely deserves a listen.
    OMMad
    ken is a huge inspiration for me... his solos sound very organic and almost improv'd (except for on the pop songs like ready steady go and nexus 4). great understated talent.
    giofreak20
    KEN IS REALLY GREAT HIS MY IDOL!!! HIS GUITAR PLAYING IS REALLY GREAT AND FOR TETSU HIS BASS PLAYING IS INSATIABLE HEHE HE REALLY LOVE THE SLIDES
    jal_jal2001
    If you like Tetsu's bass in AWAKE, you must listed to the song Wind of Gold in their older album. This is by far the best bass line he created and a great fun for those who play covers of their song!