Artist: NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST
Release date: 2018/03/07
CD number: NCBL-22 (limited edition) / NCBL-23 (regular edition)
01 – Solstice
02 – WHITEOUT
03 – Live to Die -Rearrange Ver.-
04 – 無義道 (Mu Yoshimitchi)
DVD Playlist (limited edition only):
01 – BREAK THIS FAKE
02 – Calamity of Victims
03 – GENESIS
04 – Malice against
05 – V.I.P
It has been a while since NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST released something new (after their iTunes release of Live to Die in August of 2017). In March of 2018 the five guys dropped a mini-album entitled WHITEOUT, containing four songs on the regular edition and a DVD with five live songs included with the limited edition.
Is this new release still the familiar NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST as we know it, or have 尋 (Hiro), Cazqui, Daichi, Masa and Natsu taken a completely different turn altogether?
Let’s find out!
(Composed by Cazqui.)
Everything needs sort of an intro. A lot of the previous releases, including singles and mini-albums, have a sort of intro attached to them. WHITEOUT isn’t an exception. Solstice is a short intro spanning no more than 56 seconds in total. It’s a very good opener for the song that will follow with drums in the distance, ambient sounds and a saxophone played more in the foreground.
(Composed by Cazqui, lyrics by 尋 (Hiro).)
The song it’s all about with this release. Released on YouTube on February 28, exactly a week before the release of the mini-album itself as a music video, WHITEOUT shows a different side of NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST. Not only is the song a tribute to a long-time friend of guitarist Cazqui who passed away recently, it’s also a completely different setup opposed to the familiar dark and heavy sounds and visuals we’re so used to seeing from this band. The music video itself has been recorded in the snow, creating a white background mixed with the quick riffs of Cazqui’s guitar and heavy drums of Natsu’s drums and the occasional saxophone. Sound wise the song switches between quick riffs accompanied with heavy drums and powerful vocals and a more mellow type of sound with 尋 (Hiro)’s regular singing voice, both creating a unique experience that the band has not shown in this style before.
Live to Die -Rearrange Ver.-
(Composed by Masa, lyrics by 尋 (Hiro).)
Live to Die was previously released as a digital single through iTunes, and the version found on the WHITEOUT mini-album here definitely earns the title of “Rearranged Ver.”, because if you have listened to the iTunes version you will hear some clear differences with this version. If you enjoyed the song before, you probably will now as well. Especially around Cazqui’s guitar solo about three quarters into the song the sound has been clarified, but it does sound slightly like the bass has been turned down here and there. The message remains ever as powerful, and I honestly can’t tell myself if I like the original version or the rearranged version more. Let’s just call it even.
無義道 (Mu Yoshimichi)
(Composed by Daichi, lyrics by 尋 (Hiro).)
To close off a rather fast-paced mini-album there is a calmer ballad-style song. 尋 (Hiro)’s calmer and longer-stretched vocals are accompanied by longer guitar tunes from Daichi and a more tap-style guitar style of Cazqui. While it’s impossible to call this a ballad, it’s the closest name for this song’s style. It switches between faster and slower paced style and an overall more cheerful tone than the rest of the mini-album, and a good end-of-the-line closing song for this release.
Live DVD – BREAK THIS FAKE / Calamity of Victims / GENESIS / Malice against / V.I.P
Unfortunately I can push every single song together with what I have to say about this DVD, simply because it’s live video footage with studio recorded audio from previous releases over it. I’m not sure if this has been done because of the recorded audio being impossible to be used for this footage or if they wanted the best audio quality possible, but I do think this is a bit of a shame. The footage is entertaining as always, but some things don’t sync up properly (due to it being a studio recording versus a live show where impulsive things might happen) and it takes away the feelings one would get from normal live footage.
I personally had been looking forward to live versions of BREAK THIS FAKE, Calamity of Victims and Malice against, but alas! Perhaps there will be live versions in both video and audio in the future!
Overall I quite enjoyed this release, even though I had my doubts about the title song WHITEOUT before when the music video came out on YouTube. It was a different style than what I am used to from NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST and I wasn’t sure how it would fit into their portfolio as musicians. Seeing a “rearranged” version for their latest iTunes release Live to Die also scared me a little, because in my experience I’ve never been a fan of re-recordings and rearranged songs, but in this case it turned out for the better.
I’m curious to see which direction NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST will take with their next release!
Final score: 65/100.