Review by David Cirone
exist†trace’s new single “Spiral Daisakusen” is bound to divide fans. The all-female Japanese band known for its gothic-scary makeup and deep-riff, double-guitar rock made no secret about the style departures that frame this 3-song release, and if you hit “play” hoping to hear “Judea” or “Resonance”, you’ll be (at worse) disappointed or (at best) confused.
exist†trace announced 2 years ago that they were defining a “New World” for themselves, and you have to give them credit for sticking to it. They didn’t change their recipe as a stunt or a throwaway gimmick — they’ve launched headlong into exploring new territory and haven’t looked back.
exist†trace can still throw down hard and heavy on stage (in their last USA concert they jumped right from the pop-rock “Diamond” straight into the deep, animal growls of “Judea”) and if you’re lucky enough to see them perform live, you’ll still see their former intensity still intact in their set list. But the latest releases are definitely a departure from the “old” exist†trace, and sometimes “different” is a hard pill to swallow.
Title track “Spiral Daisakusen” is a catchy, disco-inspired song complete with tambourine and Abba-inspired harmonies, and miko’s secondary vocals have found a more natural balance here, improving her confidence from last year’s “Diamond”.
“Antique Doll” is a guitar showcase, with some early electronic programming setting the stage for nice technical work from miko and Omi and a non-stop tour-de-force on drums by Mally (and– yes!– finally a drum solo!). If you listen to “Antique Doll” following just the drum parts, you’ll be amazed how Mally keeps it going that tight and that hard without a breather.
My favorite of the three is the final track “Yume ni Kiss wo”, delivering a beautiful melody and great performance from Jyou. For all of exist†trace’s strength and occasional androgyny, a rich and feminine warmth comes out of this song, and I’ve hit replay on this song more than once before letting the CD end.