Hundreds of thousands of fans were devastated last year to learn of the Visual Kei powerhouse band, DEATHGAZE, was to go on "indefinite hiatus", a term we all know to mean "disband". Fortunately enough, the vocalist and mastermind of the band decided to take up a solo project. He styles his name as 藍-AI- and dropped his solo debut single in late October this year. To say that it has all the magic of previous DEATHGAZE releases would be an understatement. Glass Sky is a formidable single. 

1. Glass Sky
2. Swallow
3. Rogatsu no Ame, Hachigatsu no Yuki

The title track itself was released several weeks before the physical single, so fans had a bit more time to digest and enjoy Ai's project and decide for themselves whether or not it was good independently of his work with the band. The consensus was that it was hardly different, which could be a blessing or a curse. The song was composed and produced in the exact same style as a DEATHGAZE song, except there was something undetectable about the mood that made it alarmingly more romantic than your typical DEATHGAZE song. Ai's vocals were powerful without being harsh, and even without understanding the lyrics you could tell there was a lot of emotion behind it.

Having that song out of the way early, it was a lot easier to know what to expect from the b-sides and less of a task to understand the nearly-six-minute "SWALLOW". Songs of this length were very atypical for DEATHGAZE who seemed to master the short, sweet, and to the point more often than not. While there was clearly thought put into the composition and detail of the song, it does become a little bit too generic after a number of listens. It's different from a DEATHGAZE ballad in artist name only. 

Finally, the lengthy-named "Rogatsu no Ame, Hachigatsu no Yuki" (or: June Rain, August Snow) is also above average in length, but below the threshold of boring. The song follows along the general theme of this release in that it, too, is a ballad. The vocal mixing on this track makes it a bit hard to understand him sometimes, but his voice is still as beautiful and melodramatic as ever. 

Overall what the single lacks is head-banging energy. We know Ai is capable of it, but this single doesn't exactly show his fun side. Depending on your personal preference, "Glass Sky" could be one of the best singles of the year. It has the power.

Please support the artist by purchasing the single here and feel free to check out the previews for Ai's next single "Karasu" by watching it on YouTube!

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