Review by David Cirone
Yousei Teikoku’s Shadow Corps(e) is easily the best Japanese rock album released this year. Tightly constructed songwriting, heavy metal riffs, and epic vocals from Fairy Empire’s ruler Yui combine into an album you’ll cycle back on repeat the second it’s over. You won’t want this metal onslaught to end.
Diving into a heavier sound than 2013’s Pax Vesania, this new album is an aggressive step in a self-described new chapter for Yousei Teikoku. Fully embracing their metal side, there’s no attempt to mix in a pop sound or easy hook as a safety net. Empress Yui and her band are ruling this empire with an iron fist. The whole album is undeniably epic, starting from the monster riffs in opening tracks “D Chronicle” and “Yami-iro Corsage” (from the upcoming game Valiant Knights) driving through the to the relentless force of the title track “Shadow Corps”.
Yui’s haunting sonic seduction on “Zenya no Kemono’ is her most confident performance to date, nakedly emotional and dangerous, fitting the song’s theme of a beast emerging from from the shadows. Bonus points for expert mixing on this album, where Yui’s higher-ranged voice balances just on top of the band’s lower-end guitar and drums. The band gets their own moment to shine in the superb instrumental track “ancient moonlit battleground”.
Overall, Shadow Corps(e)‘s best achievement is its ability to capture the band’s powerful live sound. Listen to the crowd chants on “infection” to prepare yourself for your next Yousei Teikoku concert. Your eardrums have been warned: this band just got LOUD.