X!DENT – X!DENT

X!DEN† (XIDENT)

The alternative idols from South Korea X!DENT make their debut with three haunting songs where metal sound and idol culture meet.

In discussing what to review with Vlakorados, I was given a very pleasant surprise: information on the group X!DENT, a trio of girls hailing from South Korea, had recently dropped a debut single. The excitement grew further when I read on their bandcamp that they’re Seoul’s first metal idol unit (holy cow!), set on integrating their sound in the country’s famous idol culture. Composed of members HUYU, Xii, and S3ARU — who we got to know through an in-depth interview — they dropped X!DENT on June 9th.

The single contains three tracks. The first, aptly titled “Intro”, is an instrumental that sets the gothic atmosphere the rest of the set contains. By mixing sound effects like dial tone, ticking — and even a gunshot at the end — over the organ-like music, you’re fully consumed by the track’s dark nature. The following track, “X!dent”, briefly continues the feeling of the previous song before diving straight into heavy metal. Using both Korean and English lyrics, the vocals are rich and deep, with a near haunting style of delivery. At the 1:15 mark we’re introduced to a classic style of growled vocals which are always such a treat to hear from idol groups. They’re never overused, either– instead, they’re given a set verse that allows it to shine.

For me, the stand out track is the last one, “Candle”. It immediately opens with a nu-metal flair and I absolutely love how prevalent the sound of the bass guitar is. The vocal delivery here is especially ghostly in that there’s a soft edge to them. The chorus — which is super catchy — adds a funeral dirge-like atmosphere to an already dark picture. The verse the screamer gets is especially grim and completely in English — I feel it’s worth noting that the skills these girls have in multiple languages both in music (including Japanese, as they cover various Japanese groups at their live shows) and when communicating with fans is very impressive.

With this debut, X!DENT are a promising trio to keep your eye on. I’m familiar with the difficulty metal musicians have when it comes to trying to gain footing in South Korea. However, I feel as though I can say these girls have a bright future ahead of them in being not only the premiere metal idol unit, but also in leading the way for more musical possibilities for Korean idols. Let’s show them the support to grow even bigger!


340.29m/s – ACCELERATION

340.29m/s

Listen to the third mini-album from the Osaka-based group 340.29m/s titled ACCELERATION, a very enjoyable example of idol rock.

Science nerds will probably already know that 340.29m/s is the speed of sound at sea level on air; science nerds who are also idol fans will be glad to know that there is an Osaka-based group named exactly like this, or sonic mètre per second if you prefer. ACCELERATION, their latest mini-album and third one in their discography came out recently and features six tracks for 23 minutes of good idol music.

The opening track “EyeS” — which also received a music video — starts of the album in a pretty intense way, with pure rock energy bursting out through the guitars and a nice synth riff on top of them; catchiness and emotion come out especially during the chorus, but even more in the following one called “NEVER END”, in which pop end electronic influences make it somehow lighter than the previous one. For some reason, a song titled “Prologue” is the thrid in the tracklist, but let’s not nitpick too much: the piano notes give an even poppier feel to it and the bouncy bassline sustaining the refrain make it very enjoyable.

Speaking of piano and bass lines, “I love you!!” take them on another level, leaving out most of the rock elements and bringing in some jazzy pop in their place; despite being a bit unexpected, it’s one of my favorite songs of this release. The electric guitars are back in “僕らが紡ぐこれからのうた” (Songs of the Future We Weave), carrying a lot of hope-filled feelings with them, as the title suggests. The untitled (or is “-no title-” considered a title?) final track brings out even more emotions, with the rock elements emphasizing them through an intense sound which fits the powerful and poetic lyrics sung by the three idols.

If you haven’t heard of 340.29m/s before, the release of ACCELERATION may be a good chance to give them a chance, especially if rock-oriented idols are your thing.


DESURABBITS – JUMP (Type A)

DESURABBITS

Listen to JUMP, the latest album of the death pop group DESURABBITS which brings old and new together, possibly for the final time.

DESURABBITS is quite an interesting group. Comprising of four members — Karin, Yuzu, Emi, and their producer Buchou (Akira Kanzaki) — come together to create a genre known as death pop by mixing heavy metal, digital hardcore and electronica. After spending almost 8 years together, in November of 2020 they announced that they’ll be disbanding come June due to the pandemic heavily affecting their roles as a performance based unit. However, before they go, they’ve left not one but two albums in their wake: JUMP Type A and Type B.

Upon looking through their discography, it appears that both versions of the JUMP albums contain singles from throughout their long career alongside original songs. Type A contains 17 tracks and clocks in at an hour and fifteen minutes, their longest release to date. It opens with an instrumental track titled “Op.Track” that has a nu-metal style, mixing a raging band with record scratches of a turntable. “Isshunde” (“In The Blink of an Eye”), which was promoted as a single last year, comes next with a blossoming opening of string instruments. The chorus exudes a fun and energetic beat, and the girls take turns in the verses with Buchou’s screams and growls. “Mushi suru na, kimi no iro wa kimi de kimereba ii” (“Don’t ignore it, you can choose your own color”) teeters on the edge of being a ballad, but the rock instrumentation comes through much stronger, and there’s a bit of electro pop in the bridge before closing out with Buchou’s screams.

“Rayword” rips right into some heavy metal, while “Don’t Think, Feel!” has more of a thrash metal attitude to it. Buchou’s verses contain the more hardcore elements, where as sections with Karin, Emi and Yuzu are a complete switch up with the introduction of piano. “Demo, Nigenna” utilizes more of an electronic pop/rock sound. With an extremely catchy chorus, and a rap verse from Buchou around the 2:30 mark, it makes for a great song to dance to. “Sotsugyou shoujo -Mirai e-” (“Graduation Girl -Future Picture-”) is one of my favorite tracks on the album, with digital hardcore being the dominant genre at play, neat vocal effects and sweet hints of piano throughout. “Tokyo no Sukima” is a rock ballad with a more melancholic feeling, which immediately separates it from the other songs. The feeling of the song makes you want to raise your lighters (or phone flashlights) and sway to the heartfelt singing of the girls. Towards the end, there’s a key change with English lyrics!

“I’m On My Way” is another song with a heartfelt emotion in vocal delivery while still retaining a hard edge with elements of hard rock. Buchou’s verses have a sick glitch effect to them and Karin, Yuzu, and Emi’s parts all showcase gorgeous harmonization. “Magic of Butterfly -Seichou-” opens with piano, then kicks up the energy with a power metal flair. “Aikotoba” follows in the same vein but introduces traditional Japanese instruments as well, and employs quite the fun chorus.

“IdolSTAR Wars (Re-Singing Version)” is a redone version of their single from 2013, and is one of the shorter tracks on the album. Buchou’s growls take center stage in this track before the girls come in with a cuter vibe in the pre chorus and chorus. Alongside “Anger”, which features some jazz elements in the mix, and “Desuma supuringu ~Sorosoro keigo o tsukatte mimasenka~” (“It’s Spring ~Let’s try using honorifics properly~”), they make up the oldest tracks on the album. “Chaban Chaban Ban”, another favorite of mine, is a track that makes use of DESURABBITS‘ digital hardcore sound with spoken verses. The track is so much fun, especially in the way it suddenly switches up at 1:20 into dance pop. The guitar solo towards the end is absolutely killer as well.

The final two songs almost feel like a fond farewell. “I Love Desurabbits” is another heavy metal banger that has Karin, Yuzu and Emi taking center stage, with Buchou employing his screams briefly throughout (and some sick gutturals at 2:45). The lyrics feel happy, and there is a very sweet part in the beginning of the bridge expressing thanks and love. The final song, aptly titled “Last Song”, has a magical feeling with softer vocals and a dance beat, before ending with the girls saying “goodbye” and Buchou joining in for one final “We are Desurabbits”.

JUMP is quite the long journey, with almost every track coming in at four or five minutes, but it’s one worth making and a familiar road to travel for longtime DESURABBITS fans. Though the death pop unit will be leaving us in the summer, this album will serve as a fond reminder of all the memories they’ve made and the impact they’ve left on the idol scene.


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