After the release of the het album V/A in 2009, it has been silent around GOATBED for a while. But in 2012 that silence came to an end when it became known that GOATBED was taking care of the music for the soundtrack of the Nitro+ChiRAL BL game DRAMAtical Murder. Later that year an album dropped for the fans: HELLBLAU. The formation of GOATBED had changed by that time too: vocalist Shuuji had put his hands together with his younger brother Yuuji, who had been active behind the scenes before, to produce a different sound than we were familiar with. The music is best categorised as techno (or synthpop), but if this will impress the older fans remains to be seen.
05. Hard Liminal
06. Only finally there is free END+
07. KA NA SHI MI NO A N JI
The cover of the regular edition of HELLBLAU isn’t anywhere near the colour blue, but is black and white- with the emphasis on white. With the limited edition the emphasis is on black. On both covers, the front is graced with Shuuji, and the back with his brother Yuuji. On the cover of the regular edition, more colours are mentioned in written format, all in German, but that is the only German you’ll find on the album other than the title song. On the DVD -included with the limited edition- you can find the music video for HELLBLAU, but if you’re not interested in this the regular edition is more than enough for you. Even if it doesn’t matter much in terms of price.
On the album HELLBLAU you’ll find a few songs you might recognize from the game DRAMAtical Murder: Paramidia+ and Only finally there is free END+. The plus signs in the titles are there to indicate that there have been (small) adjustments made to these songs. D.O.G.M.A, on the other hand, is based on the background music the duo has made for the game mentioned before, which will probably be very recognisable for the absolute lovers of the video game. It’s also a great way to introduce yourself to the new sound of GOATBED, as well as reeling in some fans of the DRAMATICAL Murder game lovers.
The album has a few instrumental songs: M-D and Hard Liminal. In both cases, you can really let yourself go with the music, especially Hard Liminal. The songs have been placed in the middle of the album, not directly after each other, but that doesn’t appear to have been a bad choice. The songs are very good on their own and don’t have to be considered to be “fillers” for the album or a break between the non-instrumental songs.
Throughout the whole album, you can hear that GOATBED has completely discarded the new wave genre and turned completely to the electronic music world. From the very start, the dance-like beats come through the speakers. It’s also obvious that GOATBED dares to incorporate more English lyrics with some Japanese here and there. The question remains if listeners will hear that they aren’t counting to 8 in Only finally there is free END+, but that the words “Heaven Aid” follow after 6. Aside from that, some lyrics might be slightly inaccurate, but this doesn’t harm the music in any way.
On the older albums it was obvious that the vocalist of GOATBED -Shuuji Ishii- likes to bring forward the inspiration of old music; usually in cover songs. This idea doesn’t seem to have been abandoned in HELLBLAU either, like for example the title song HELLBLAU seems to have references to the Brain Eno albums Here Come the Warm Yets and Music for Airports.
The most impressive and possibly most emotional song of the album is KA NA SHI MI NO A N JI. If you take a look at the lyrics you’ll see it’s simply a repeat of the title and the questions “Are you sad? Is sadness performed?”. This is repeated regularly in the song itself, but the combination of the melody and the lyrics do make you leave with a feeling that’s less than happy, and it’s also the ending of the CD itself.
The ones who are mostly familiar with the older music of GOATBED might be surprised by HELLBLAU. The 80’s vibe has disappeared, but techno has taken its place. And it seems to be well interpreted by the gentlemen themselves: the music is attractive, mostly because it’s very catchy. For the fans of the DRAMAtical Murder game it’s a great way to hear more from GOATBED, and for the older fans it might take a bit of getting used to, but the familiar attraction GOATBED has is still there.