Versailles - Noble 3.5/5
2. Aristocrat's symphony
3. Antique in the future
4. Second fear - another descendant
6. After cloudia
8. The revenant choir
9. To the chaos inside
11. History of the other side
Versailles is a new Japanese symphonic/neo-classical power metal band and 'Noble' is their full-length debut. For those who live in Japan, this CD is surely a big deal, as it contains 3 members from the popular Hizaki Grace Project, the solo project (with additional members) of the exceptional guitarist Hizaki. Along with Hizaki, guitarist Teru and Bassist Jasmine You are the other members that are in both Hizaki Grace Project and Versailles. Yuki is the band's drummer, and the vocalist is Kamijo. I should mention that both Versailles and Hizaki Grace Project are associated with the Japanese movement "visual kei", which involves eccentric looks (including make-up, costumes, etc.). To my eyes, it's basically guys dressing up like girls.
'Noble' is a Japanese-language CD, and as you've probably anticipated, Kamijo is not one of the best power metal vocalists out there and he's comparable to the vocalists from Concerto Moon, Galneryus and Seven Seas. My favorite vocalist from these bands is Keiichi "Marshal K" from Seven Seas (I also like Yama-B from Galneryus), but I don't consider any of them to be fantastic (simply put, Japan isn't known for providing the best vocalists in power metal), though I will definitely add that all of them have grown on me and Kamijo is no exception. So I do not feel his performance brings the overall quality of the CD down too much, and he actually fits the music.
As for the CD's musical side, it's neo-classical power metal in the style of Concerto Moon, Galneryus and Seven Seas, but much of the CD is fairly symphonic too, so I will also throw in Masterpeace (another Japanese band) and Kyrie Eleison for additional comparisons. Bluntly, the music on 'Noble' is excellent! If you have and like the CDs from these other bands, not only will you know exactly what to expect, you will be really impressed. Though I've complained in a few other reviews (and this one) about the lack of high quality vocalists from Japan, the amount of high quality musicians (especially guitarists) more than balances things out.
'Noble' is a very consistent CD as far as quality, and there is a lot of speed present and plenty of awesome guitar work too, so I can't really pick a few favorite songs. That said, special mention must be made of the beautiful closer "Episode", which is a piano oriented slow song with a wonderful melody. It provides a pleasant finish to a mostly fast and aggressive CD. Overall, I like this CD a lot and can easily call it great, but in the end, it's probably only recommended to fans of the other Japanese bands mentioned in this review.
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