Sunday, January 26, 2014

Demetori - Le Grimoire De Reve (2013)

Obscured by nearly every "best albums of the year" list, Demetori revealed their ninth full-length as 2013 drew to a close and quietly went about their business, never drawing attention to their newly-released music. Like other Demetori albums, Le Grimoire De Reve puttered along unnoticed but was still critically acclaimed, at least by diehard fans of the band. The record handily topped Begierde Des Zauberer as a supposed return to form and put the two-piece back on the map, but one question naturally entered curious onlooker's minds: is Le Grimoire De Reve really another winner?

One listen tells all--Demetori's songwriting has not changed, for better or for worse. At the core of each composition is a passionately arranged interpretation of Touhou music that hundreds, if not thousands, of Japanese bands dedicate their careers to, as a tribute to their favorite video games. The idea is truly foreign to the majority of new listeners, but the final product is often nothing short of brilliant and translates well into a heavy metal setting.

And, as expected, Le Grimoire De Reve is another solid release from Demetori, though it overlaps with previous efforts. Indeed, because 100% of Demetori's past work is based on Touhou's sprawling compositions, similarities are inevitable and, at this point, anticipated. But while Begierde Des Zauberer faced harsh criticism for sharing too many common traits with prior albums, Le Grimoire De Reve is even more reminiscent of Il Mondo dove e finito il Tempo, Offering to the Sukhavati, and Nada Upasana Pundarika, perhaps the best-known records in the band's discography.

When approached aggressively, however, power metal isn't the most dynamic musical genre and appears stock around the edges. Because of the limitations, Demetori's music tends to feel familiar, regardless of album, making Le Grimoire De Reve no exception to the rule. It's seamlessly strung together just as one would expect of Demetori, with no surprises or eye-opening moments; it's simply consistent across the board, in the style fans have come to expect.

And therein lies Demetori's strength: familiarity from release to release. For nine albums, the two-piece has dreamed up adventurous music that sparks a sense of, "hey! I've heard this before!," making their body of work unparalleled in doujin circles. Contrary to the popular belief, the closeness shared between the material isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it fosters an identity for the musicians and gives them a sound to run with, which is exactly what Demetori has done up to this point. So, to answer the question, yes, Le Grimoire De Reve is another winner, just as long as one doesn't expect anything other than Demetori.

-TMA

18 comments:

  1. Loved this album so much... You can clearly tell that Masaru's playing has improved even further.

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    1. Absolutely! Since the first Demetori release, Masaru has gotten so much better. And that's not only with playing; his arrangements have gotten better, too. I'm crossing my fingers for original music in the same style he plays with Demetori.

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  2. Yeah, he's been putting in more cool guitar solos and making his arranges less repetitive. Nice review BTW. I feel like since he does a lot of power metal with Demetori, he might do djent or something if he writes original stuff, but you never know. Also, with DystopiaGround he's written a couple original songs, although they have vocals. I can't put the names since one's in Japanese and the other is bunch of weird letters, but there is one that is a bit like Offering to the Sukhavati, with an aggressive hard rock/metal style, and there is one that's more reminiscent of Sinen no Nozomu Ga Gotoshi with a pop-ish rock style. Both of them have face-melting solos though. Another, while not written by him, does have a couple awesome solos. Sorry I can't put the links here but if you're able to just search up DystopiaGround on Youtube, you'll be able to find them. Tadashi plays drums in two of them.

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  3. I do think that this album was one of the best though; Although I've thoroughly enjoyed the majority of Demetori's works, most of them just made me say "This shit is awesome". However, when I heard track 2 of this album (The Grimoire of Alice ~ Alice in Wonderland) I literally screamed in astonishment at the epicness that song holds. Really, I think it might be Demetori's best arrangement (at least power metal-wise) due to the catchy melodies, top-notch production quality, and the heavy riffs. Tadashi's drumming sounds even better, and the guitar solo really proved that Masaru is a fantastic shredder.

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  4. And I don't think BEGIERDE DES ZAUBERER was as bad as people say it was. Some of my favourite Demetori works come from that album, and it made me appreciate low tunings and the more extreme styles that I wasn't exposed to much before. I'll agree it probably wasn't as good as Man'enjushaka, but for example, UN Owen was her? is probably the best death metal song I've heard, and I've always had a strong dislike towards extreme metal and hardcore, even when I used to listen to western metal bands before getting into Japanese bands like Demetori. Just saying.

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  5. I get the feeling that if they finally do instrumental metal material, it will be more oriented towards progressive or hardcore styles, or even jazzy stuff (Based on the fact that Demetori started off with more progressive stuff, and most of Masaru's influences according to him happen to be progressive metal bands like Dream Theater, and some of his favourites appear to be jazz bands. He also wrote a song for DystopiaGround that was pretty post-hardcore influenced.) rather than the usual power-thrash. So, I'm a little bit iffy on original stuff, considering I like progressive metal but strongly dislike hardcore. And well, they've only experimented with jazz styles. I don't know how it would be if they did jazz for real. What do you think?

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    1. Hi, Sarin, I want to thank you for all your comments, and my apologies for the delay. I agree that, if Demetori does original material that it will be progressive, but I still think Masaru will be firmly rooted in progressive/thrashy power metal. I also don't think it's out of the question that he will try his hand at a djent-esque style again (see parts of "Crazy Xenomorph" as an example.).

      It would certainly be interesting if he chose to go jazzy on us--Masaru seems like a multifaceted player, so anything is possible. As long as the compositions are well put together and flow smoothly, I have no problem with the style he chooses; though I have to admit that I detest post-hardcore. Now, if he wants to go with old school hardcore music, that's something I can stand behind.

      As always, thanks for keeping me updated with Masaru's projects.

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    2. I also don't get the hate for BEGIERDE DES ZAUBERER, even though it is somewhat similar to previous albums. Le Grimoire De Reve is, too, and I don't understand why fans can't see that.

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  6. Sorry for pestering you with all these comments. I don't want to pressure you, so take your time to answer. And thanks for your opinion. I'm hoping Masaru will do some thrashy power like usual if does original stuff.

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  7. I believe the reason people were hating on BEGIERDE DES ZAUBERER was because it sounded much too similar to Man'enjushaka ~ Nada Upasana Pundarika, what with all the low tunings and similar guitar riffs and progressions, but personally I think that's a load of nonsense, seeing as Man'enjushaka sounds much more progressive and relaxed to me, more reminiscent of prog metal, while ZAUBERER is very aggressive and extreme; there is clearly more thrash influence. And while they utilise similar styles, one can easily tell the difference between the two albums. Another reason why people were disliking ZAUBERER was apparently because of the "awful tracklist", but I also think that's rubbish as well, considering most of the songs used in ZAUBERER are fairly popular and pretty catchy. I don't see the problem here. One last reason I heard people say was that it was too generic. Honestly, I wanted to slap those people. I don't exactly see how combining power metal, thrash metal, progressive metal, and a little bit of hardcore, all mixed with catchy video game music into a single small album, complete with fantastic audio quality and professional musicianship isn't goddamn brilliant and awesome, if you'll pardon my language. Demetori outdoes themselves with every album, in my opinion.

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  8. I still think it's a fantastic album, no matter what they say. Heck, two of my favourite Demetori arrangements come from that album alone (Magus Night ~ Frenzy Night and Desire Drive ~ Desire Dream). And it's one of the heaviest things I've heard. I've been inspired to start writing my own original instrumental metal pieces after hearing that album, along with Man'enjushaka. I've got a full-length album in progress just because of Demetori's brilliant metal works in BEGIERDE DES ZAUBERER. It just goes to show you how many people fail to see the awesomeness hidden within some things.

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    1. Absolutely. BDZ is probably my favorite right behind Offering to The Sukhavati, which, to me, is the most unique in Demetori's discography. There's something so mesmerizing about that record that I just can't seem to get away from it. It's arranged perfectly, the music is catchy, and the guitar tone is great. I guess I can also say all of that about BDZ.

      The one thing about BDZ that really gets me is that, production-wise, it literally sounds exactly the same as Nada Upasana Pundarika. That makes me think many of the songs were left over from Nada's recording sessions.

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  9. Yup, Sukhavati definitely was great, it had this sort of nostalgic and catchy feel to it, to me at least. For people who've only heard ZAUBERER, it kind of has a relaxing, anime-ish feel rather than the aggressive boss battle-esque ZAUBERER. But still, I think ZAUBERER was fairly experimental; the track Love-coloured Master Spark ~ FInal Sorcery was heavy as hell but still retaining the catchy hard rock style of Sukhavati and U.N. Owen was her? was pretty death metal to me, and I don't even like death metal, yet I still enjoyed it to an extent. I have to say I love Masaru's guitar tone in general. It's clear and crisp, yet raw, and not too fat and obnoxious, if I were to describe it. And he also proves that people can play hard rock and heavy metal with a Fender, which apparently some people don't believe; He sure proved that in Il Mondo, Sukhavati, and Le Grimoire de Reve.

    Well, what you said about ZAUBERER sounding the same as Man'enjushaka production-wise, I'm not sure if I agree. It's true that track-wise, both albums make use of Masaru's eight-string (Ibanez 2288 Prestige, btw), and because of course, it's Touhou music, the melody patterns and progressions are similar, and also that both albums, while one being prog and the other being more thrash-power, they are both powermetal influenced and therefore use similar riffs. But if we're talking about quality specially, for one, the guitars in Man'enjushaka sounds a lot more raw and muddied while ZAUBERER's guitars are more crunchy and clear, which is probably due to an improvement with recording and mastering the eight-string. There is also a subtle difference in the drum sound, regarding that Tadashi probably changes the way his drums sound every album. I know these are only small things, but I suppose I just wanted to point it out. And there are probably things I'm missing, but whatever.

    BTW I am a metal guitarist and music producer too (although young and amateur), so I wanted to see about buying Masaru's eight-string, and it costs over $2000. @#$%!

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    1. Listening to the two records back to back, it's true that there are slight differences, but they are still very similar sounding (for me, at least). A few tweaks here and there, and you have a slightly different sounding production. To me, both albums are similarly muddy sounding, but it's funny how people hear differently.

      Quite a few metal bands use Fenders. Iron Maiden has done it for years, for example!

      I also play guitar and produce my music. We can check another shared interest off the list.

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  10. http://www.square-enix.co.jp/music/sem/page/rebirth2_sen/
    Managed to get this in here.
    Definitely check out this album, by jdk BAND with Masaru playing electric guitar in all tracks. One track even has a cool acoustic guitar solo. And it was released only this February, so I can guarantee that the quality and instrumentation is pure awesome. Well, it isn't metal, but very good anyways. The solos are pure badass.
    BTW Track 8 is the most metal.

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    1. Track eight is quite good so far. Thanks for the heads-up.

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  11. If you're interested in getting it, it's available on iTunes for something like ten bucks.

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  12. True, both albums are muddied, but I don't understand how you could play fast power metal riffs with such a low tuning (he uses freaking F# Standard) and not sound muddied. Even with Masaru's guitar being a top-notch eight-string, (it probably has some excellent pickups) and that he is very good at mastering his pieces. It still sounds slightly muddy either way. I'm interested in getting a seven and tuning it to around the same tuning he uses, but for one, the seven I'm getting is good but not extremely high-end, and I'll be tuning it down which will naturally distort the sound, and even I can have my song mastered well, it probably won't match Demetori's quality.

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