14 December 2012

リヴィド ~ 'Livid'

"Livid"... "Rivido"
same word, different pronunciation and language.
Why review an album in which you understand absolutely NONE of the lyrics?

Due to my limited exposure to Japanese, yes, I cannot truly comment on the lyrical style Nightmare uses throughout Livid. Yet I can still say the music is pretty darn catchy and lively. The lyrics seem to flow nicely and the vocals are quite nice. No complaints.

The two or so anime fans who read my blog may recognize Nightmare as the band that provided "The World" and "Alumina" as opening/ending themes for the first half of the Death Note series. Despite the songs' reputations for being deemed "emo J-pop" and my barely lasting to episode 20, I found Nightmare far more interesting than Maximum the Hormone. That or iTunes had their music and I liked what I heard from the samples.

Either way, the Japanese come up with really bizarre band names. @_@

Nightmare is a rock band a part of the visual kei scene... at least a little bit. The term mainly refers to the ridiculously, but nicely elaborate fashion worn by band members; however, many acts within the scene perform music that is influenced by glam rock, heavy metal, or punk rock. The decently-known X Japan is a band referred to as the leaders of this movement. Nightmare might have some influence from other bands within this genre, but they are "mainstream" and watered down enough so their music easy enough to swallow.

That being said, I will have a difficult time trying to make a fair comparison to more renowned acts on my hemisphere. Visual kei does not have a twin on our hemisphere, not really. The best way to describe Livid is like the melodic, moody air of a HIM album (like Love Metal) but add in the more radio-friendly sound of AFI's music from Sing the Sorrow to Crash Love. Sorry, I don't have much reference. :/

Okay, maybe "Sweet Pandemonium" with a faster tempo. Or "Okay, I Feel Better Now" sung in Japanese.
Maybe I need to shut up and say whether this album is worth spit.

Although in terms of song structure and melody, "Suna" reminds me greatly of AFI's "The Great Disappointment". It's not a bad thing, but that might explain my terrible comparisons.


I mainly mention AFI in terms of how a dark melody can blend nicely with rock rather than shrieky, screaming vocals. Nightmare has none of it here. Livid is very melodic and far more upbeat than the album cover looks. The music seems to flow in the same way moods change in our everyday lives. Sometimes we feel pretty confident and happy, only for our mood to slowly and gradually become mellow. Then sometimes we feel melancholic and sad, but, no fear! we somehow go through the day on a satisfied note as our mood goes in a more positive direction.

To some degree, that was what I felt with Livid from "Sanagi" to "Travel". "Underdog" and "Gianism Go" are rather upbeat oddballs next to the moody, aggressive "be buried" or "Sekishoku", which ends epically with a series of gunshots (it's far more badass than it seems). Other tracks like "Cyan" almost left me feeling depressed, only for the next song to bring back some energy and excitement. The album does not sink too far into moodiness for too long.

Although the album is solid, there really is no "wow" aspects about it except at how poetic it sounds. Again, this might be because I understand little-to-no Japanese. However, it does not change the fact that some might find the language beautiful to the ears next to German (1).

This is rather satisfying rock and it's nothing too scary. From my ears, this sounds like something that can have a decent time squeezing into some tiny niches within some music enthusiasts here. Sadly, though, I am aware that the appeal will be bare. If you don't like music sung in another language, you might turn your nose at the mention of Naitomea. Some of you might hear this and tune off completely because the singer sounds whiny. (Next to Davey Havok, Yomi beats hims senseless... I'll shut up about AFI now.)

Livid is a decent album overall and I think fans of alternative rock - or the bands I sledgehammered here - this might not be too large of a step outside your comfort zone. Just don't get too creeped out by the weird outfits that remind me a bit of a very, very sober, light version of Deathstars. Otherwise, this could be good background music for the uninterested.

I wish music was easy to review at times. I feel like I said nothing while saying too much. 

Livid is available on iTunes along with Anima, with a sound closer to pop-rock. They are the only works available at this time, but this band needs the attention. Sadly, I just might be the wrong messenger. This album is still worth trying out. Some songs can be found on Youtube, though iTunes might be your best shot. You get previews and don't lose much. :)

3.8 out of 5

Hmm... maybe Dommin is a better choice for comparison... *sigh* I give up.


(1) - No, I have nothing against Germans. I just know that some people point out how some languages are music to the ears (i.e. the Romance languages) and others sound very harsh and grating to the ears (i.e. the Germanic languages). Just getting that idea across, and I'm not trying to sound racist. Heck, I insult my own country sometimes!

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