Art Of Life review by X Japan

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  • Released: Dec 31, 1992
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.6 (44 votes)
X Japan: Art Of Life

Sound — 10
First off, this "mini-album" is really actually only a single, just shy of 30 minutes long. This single song encapsulates all that X-Japan has to offer, from beautifully orchestrated string parts, to chugging speed-metal riffs, blistering solos from Hide and Pata, prog-rock pomp and bombast, Yoshiki's excellent drumming AND piano playing, and some superb vocal work from Toshi. Every player gets a chance to shine on this song, especially Yoshiki, who not only plays drums like a madman throughout the song, but also ably plays the songs's 8-minute-long piano solo. This piano solo is amazing even on it's own, as it goes from a simple right hand melody to adding the bass parts, all the way to outright pounding. The guitarists play as if they're telepathically linked, playing flawless harmony leads, providing counterparts to each other's rhythm parts, and knowing when to shred and when not to. The band's genre is Visual Kei, the Japanese equivalent of our goth-rock/metal, yet there's hardly anything goth or "emo" about this song, as it's comparable more to Dream Theater's "A Change Of Seasons", rather than, say, MCR. Overall, this song is nearly perfect.

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are entirely in English, atypical for most Japanese rock bands. My overall impression of the singer's skills is that, though it's noticable he's singing in a language foreign to him, he does a good job of hiding his accent. The song's lyrics seem very vague and poetic. The vocal delivery is perfect.

Overall Impression — 10
This mini-album is the perfect addition to any prog-rock lover's music collection. Any fan of Dream Theater will love this song, and because of it's lyrics being in English, it's a little bit more appealing to North Americans. The only things I find bad about the song are the piano solo, which, as amazing as it is, can be a bit daunting to listen to the first few times, and the fact that a few parts of the song do drag on a long time. This is a must-buy album, and a must-buy-again album if it were stolen or lost. It's heralded as X-Japan's best work, and that is no understatement. This is their masterpiece.

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