REVIEW: exist†trace's Royal Straight Magic

The last time I had listened to this band was quite some time ago. They had released an album that was largely inspired by jazz/rock crossover and I wasn't exactly into it. Even though previously I had enjoyed their work immensely, I stopped listening to them. Of course, everyone deserves a second chance, and this year they have released another new EP entitled Royal Straight Magic, which is the exact phrase I use to describe Madonna's hold over me. 

1. Psychedelic Black Night
2. Royal Straight Magic
3. 夜明けの光
4. 君と雨と秘密
5. Get Back
6. Sky
In a bizarrely gender-bending genre of music, exist†trace is a band composed of females who fit into the world of Visual Kei by having their look be cis-women who somehow look like drag queens.  If there's anything that people should find entertaining, it's that thought in and of itself. They do make it work, however, and due to this uniqueness they really have conquered the genre in their own right and have achieved a respectable popularity.

That being said, their newest 6-song release starts of with an incredibly upbeat track called "Psychedelic Black Night," which has some of the same rhythmic patterns as previous jazz/rock songs, but mostly it has a new sort of punk-with-a-side-of-acid feel. In other words, 'Psychedelic' was an excellent choice to describe the 'black night.' The track has excellent energy and will absolutely be a tune to hear played live. The title track is up next and starts with a really strong beat. Again, there is unimaginable energy, but the vocal performance is somehow less impressive. She hits the correct notes where there are notes to be hit, but a lot of the song's energy comes from the way the lyrics are half-sung/half-spoken. What I do love singularly about the track are the riffs and the overall composition. It goes to show that not everything has to be about the vocalist.

"Yoake no Hikari," or "The Dawn's Light," is up next and is a vaguely mid-tempo pop/punk ballad of sorts. It certainly has an entirely different feel than the previous two tracks in that it is fundamentally a different genre in the way it's composed. If visual rock songs that are used to intro rom/com animes are your thing, then this is a good song for you. Every element of the band works in harmony to create music that is very agreeable to most listening ears, which is a good or bad thing depending on your definition of the word "generic," however the song is quite enjoyable. "Kimi to Ame to Himitsu" is the immediate follow up and for good reason. We seem to be progressively losing energy and gaining emotion. The previous track is only a ballad in comparison to the previous two tracks, this one is actually a power ballad. She displays her full range of vocal prowess on this track and puts real emotion behind it. The overall song structure is pretty typical and has some good riffs and a decent beat, but this one where we focus on the vocal talent and lyrical content. However, the title of the track is a bit weird to translate. "The Rain and A Secret With You" is a bit of a mouthful in English. 

"Get Back," coincidentally gets us back to the energy. They follow a bit of a trend in the use of electronica in the background of the overall punk-rock-esque track a la the GazettE circa the Toxic era. This one definitely has the catchy factor behind it, the lyrical content is hook-focused and likely meant to be another live-favorite. The EP's finale, "Sky,"  seems to have taken on aspects of a few different genres and themes. Overall, that's what makes this song so "visual kei" is their refusal to stick to any one genre too stubbornly. The best part of the song, that most people would agree with, is the chorus as the melody is quite stunning and easy on the ears. The rest of the song has a lot of dissonance in the transition between punk and metal rhythms and riffs. This doesn't ruin it, however. In fact the opposite, it creates a more interesting listening experience. 

Overall the EP was quite an interesting listen. I find that hardcore fans of the group will really take to it immediately because there's a lot of signature elements the band brings to the forefront. However, I wonder how many new fans they could theoretically gain by changing the sound a few times on one release. In either case, it proves why they have become such a key figure in the VK scene today and that women rock just as much as men do! You can support the ladies by buying their newest EP here!

exist†trace Official Website:
exist†trace on iTunes:
exist†trace on Spotify:
exist†trace on Google Play:
exist†trace on Amazon MP3:
exist†trace Official International Fan Club:
Share on Google Plus
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment


Post a Comment