Monday, September 28, 2015

Unlucky Morpheus - Vampir (2015)

With Light Bringer's dissolution, Fuki Tenge needed an outlet to channel her creative energy full time. And what a choice she made: Unlucky Morpheus, a group that started by rearranging Touhou tunes, only to later compose completely original music. The act's 2015 release, Vampir, is the second installment in their renaissance writing original music, but like its predecessor, the record is a massive entry in the power metal field and an important one at that. What makes it important is simple: the music is well written while combining elements of metal and classical music. Power metal is no doubt the dominating sound, but bits and pieces of death metal, melodic death metal, and classical music also surface in the mix.

Because of the mix of styles, Unlucky Morpheus has often been described as neoclassical power metal, most notably with their first original album, Affected. Affected came to fruition in 2014, while Vampir came a year later, bearing uncanny similarities and production aesthetics. Both are comparable and unmistakably Unlucky Morpheus, so it's not unreasonable to surmise that the music was conceived in the same writing sessions.

Musically, from death metal, the album incorporates blast beats into a handful of tracks, like the explosive opener, "Opfer." From the melodic death metal side, harsh vocals work in tandem with Tenge's illustrious cleans on "Angreifer." And, of course, classical influence is abundant, sprinkled in just the right spots with particular thought to placement and composition. Guitars flutter up and down between notes just as a classical piece would, while Tenge's vocals effortlessly climb like an opera singer.

Unsurprisingly, the record's weakest link is the introductory track, which heads the opener, "Opfer." Unlike Demetori's latest release, however, Unlucky Morpheus' lavish, crescendoing, supplementary tracks don't feel like an afterthought. In this case, "Vampir," the track in question, builds tension with an array orchestral instruments, bells, and an eerie sounds fit for a vampires or a dark, dreary night--two themes central to the album.

At the end of the day, 2015 has been a big year for acts focused on Touhou music or those once associated with it. Demetori, Electric Red, and Crow'sClaw (although CC has great original music, too) are only a few, but with their shift to original music, Unlucky Morpheus is a step ahead--especially with an excellent vocalist at the helm. Vampir is undoubtedly a wonderful second chapter in the band's developing creative streak. Chapter three, watch out! Here comes Unlucky Morpheus!

-TMA

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