[REVIEW] Kalafina — believe (Single)

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kalafina_believe_500

 

Kalafina’s latest single, believe, was supposed to be released on 19 November 2014. Thanks to the ridiculous efficiency of CDJapan and the local postal service, I got my copy a couple of days early, and am typing out this review on 18 November 2014.

 

EMS is an expensive shipping option, but being able to get stuff early sometimes is an awesome bonus.

If you’ve been following this season’s Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] anime, you’ll have heard the short version of the title track believe, the show’s ending theme.  I’ll admit I found the TV version quite underwhelming; it seemed like a strong contender for Kalafina’s most generic-sounding song. But the single still has the rest of believe as well as two B-side tracks with which to convince me that it was worth my money.

As for whether it succeeded…

The Package

I got the Limited Edition Type B, which has its own variant cover and a bonus Blu Ray containing the PV for believe.

believefront500

believecd500

Hikaru’s really rocking that haircut

believebd500

believeback500

believepostcard

The two bonus postcards. Pretty pleased with them

The Music

Track list:
1.  believe
2.  in everything nothing
3.  lapis
4. believe ~instrumental~

 

 believe

believe managed to surprise me a little. It doesn’t have the typical structure I was expecting. The melodies of the first verse and chorus only repeat at the end of the song, with a very different verse melody and a long bridge in between.

I like the atmospheric pop-rock arrangement; strings and effects are used pretty well here. And while the melody is never really powerful enough to grab me, the singing is great. Wakana sounds a little strained sometimes, especially at her solos, but the other two are spot-on, and the harmonies are lovely.

It’s not a bad song at all; I’d happily listen to it over and over. But it’s just not very memorable.

 

in everything nothing

The song’s arrangement reminds me of Kajiura’s stuff with See Saw on Dream Field, more than it does any Kalafina song; I think it’s the prominent violin work and the distorted guitar. I love Dream Field, so I heartily approve.

I really like the dark, aggressive feel in everything nothing has throughout. Hikaru shines in darker songs (pun totally not intended) and it’s no exception here. Her voice is powerful and gorgeous in a forbidding kind of way. And the way lead shifts seamlessly between Wakana and Hikaru in the chorus, with Keiko holding everything together, is just awesome.

A great song overall. It’d be wonderful to hear more songs like this from Kalafina.

 

lapis

A ballad with Keiko in lead — love it. Okay, okay, there’s more to it than that.

Nothing really new from Kalafina, but it’s lovely nonetheless.  It could be just me, but there’s something old school about the electric guitar in the middle of the song. The arrangement is sparse for the most part; the emphasis here is on the vocals. I was afraid this song would bore me as I’m not too fond of Kalafina’s slower songs. But the wonderful vocal work, particularly Keiko’s, does a great job of holding my attention, and I find myself wishing the song was a bit longer.

It’s a lovely, soothing song. Not their best ballad, but quite a decent one.

 

The Conclusion

The TV version of believe didn’t inspire much confidence, but I’m glad that didn’t deter me from getting this single. As expected, title track doesn’t leave a strong impression, but in everything nothing makes up for it, and lapis is the cherry on top. Pretty worth it.

  • Hello Nat!
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