With their latest European tour LOKA also presented their newest album QUATTRO. I’m so glad I get to review this album. LOKA’s first album CRISS x CROSS was an amazing record in my opinion. So with QUATTRO I was really curious if they’d continue on the same “note”, or if they would present a new sound or two.
Let’s start off with the playlist.
1.SEITEN NO AKATSUKI
3.BREATHE ME OUT THE SHADOW
We’ll of course start with SEITEN NO AKATSUKI. It’s an intro with traditional Japanese sounds, but with a slight modern influence due to the sound effects which have woven themselves through the intro. A woman’s voice who sings a whole lot of aaahaaaahaaaa. Not unpleasant, but strange. The intro doesn’t give a good full picture of the rest of the album. I personally think the intro is more a message than a real music number. Near the end you hear the singer sing his message through. All in all a nice little intro, but not really a good reflection of the rest of the album.
After the sound effects and drums from the intro ARISE gives you a real LOKA vibe. Solid, hard, and a tight melody. A power-song with a strong message behind it. The vocals are tight and is pleasantly on the ears. What I like about this song is that you can really hear that the drums are being played with force. Aside from that nice and tight drum work I also really like the ending of the song being sang in both English and Japanese. This is something LOKA doesn’t do often, but for this listener in particular it’s a big plus.
BREATHE ME OUT THE SHADOW is a whole mouthful, but you hear this sentence make it’s return in the song itself a lot too. It’s shouted at you by multiple voices like a battle cry. Right at the start of the song you’re instantly overwhelmed by the music. Like a galloping horse it washes over you with drums and guitar play, instantly putting down a strong feeling with this song. After about two minutes there’s a sort pause in between with a piano piece. Personally I think this is a but unusual, but if you keep listening you’ll hear a complete thunderstorm of guitars and drums. A delightful piece of metal, if I may say so myself. After the thunderstorm they add the piano to the drums and the guitar play, combining the two parts of the song. Very nicely done for the end of the song.
The fourth number will be a bit more known among the LOKA fans. The first song chosen by LOKA for a music video from this album is FROM YESTERDAY. The intro is a tight little guitar riff which almost instantly gets complicated by the drums. The use of the violin is very nice. It almost gives this song a classic feel. What’s nice about this song is the bass who adds a super neat flow to the song right after the intro. From almost hectic to a calmer feel. Make no mistake, despite this last sentence it’s still a really nice rock song.
11TH HOUR is the fifth track of the album. And man, what a nice song this is! It starts off fast and loud, instantly giving you the urge to jump and bang your head. What I noticed in the previous tracks also returns in this one. A strong message in the lyrics. The emphasis is put on “what doesn’t kill you makes you strong”. A very powerful message which will surely speak to many people. Positive in a tight metal jacket. Very nice to sing/scream along to in the bathroom.
With DAEDALUS we’re already half way there. This song almost feels like a dance-track due to many computer generated effects and an upbeat tempo from the drums and guitars. I feel like the bass is pushed to the back at the start of the song, but it returned at the first verse and became very audible. It doesn’t really give me the ultra powerful LOKA feeling, but regardless this still is a very nice dance-track and a fun change of pace in the album. I think it’s really cool that they managed to combine a guitar solo with a bit of rap. This gives a new vibe to the song.
Up next is GHOST. The seventh song starts with a powerful piece of guitar and drums, although these are mixed with a synthesizer sound. Then the rapping starts and I’m no longer feeling this song. It’s not that I don’t appreciate rap, but I just can’t get around the idea of it sounding too much of a gangster rap to me. The chrous wins me back though, with good vocals and lyrics-wise it almost seems like the words are sang against the rap. The beatbox sound has been pushed to the background and the drums, bass and guitar brought back to the front. Unfortunately this song is not my favorite.
And then there was TSUBASA TRIGGER. With number eight on the counter I’m getting all cheerful and happy again. This song has it all. An intro with drums and filter effects which blend into a powerful pounding sound. Tight guitar play and a delightful bass line. The vocals grab multiple styles here. Grunts, filter, screaming and those delicious melodic sounds. Just like before there are also English and Japanese lyrics in this song. Just before the three minutes mark you’ll get a really nice, calm rhythm with mainly drums, guitar and a super chill bass line. Really nice to hear the vocals join in with this relaxed rhythm. Starting off as headbanging and flowing into slowly nodding until the rhythm picks up again and gives you the feeling of a discharge that you can feel deep inside of you. This is a song that you can keep on listening. A pure and delicious LOKA sound.
The before last song is EDEN. This song grabs you immediately and gives you a nice and positive feeling. Hands up in the air and dancing along to the beat of the music. The lyrics in this song are again a strong message. Forget your problems and feel how you want to feel. With this song I can visualize a whole festival going wild, so I’m not going to waste much time on words here. This is a listen and dance-type of song.
And then we landed at the last song of the album. MAYBE is closing song. And how do you surprise your audience from an unexpected corner after an album filled with electric guitars and synthesizer effects? LOKA has chosen an acoustic guitar play, a peppy bass line and tight drums. Very basic compared to the rest of the album. But so satisfying to listen to. The vocals are beautiful and really come forward in this song. A surprising and “feel good” closing of this album.
All in all QUATTRO is a nice and listenable album. It has the LOKA vibe hat I am used to from their previous album. All while being renewing and LOKA adding new elements to support their sound. Actually, I’m only curious to new work from LOKA, and I hope they’ll continue to develop their sound. Until then I can happily entertain myself with the two albums that they have made already. The album is now available through CD Japan.