Kyokutou Outbreak

A collaboration album featuring mostly rock/post-rock tracks, with circles such as Aftergrow and Echo Project participating.

Most collaboration albums tend to have a fair bit of variety, and Kyokutou Outbreak is no exception. This can result in the album sounding rather confused and messy if done incorrectly, though thankfully this album contains only rock/post-rock tracks, which cuts down on any possible confusion.

I like most of the arrangers featured on this album, so this was an instant hit for me. I only wish that there were less male vocals, which sadly feature in a significant portion of this album. The instrumental tracks in this are superb though, especially missimagine and uzumaki.

Of course, I’m always going to like anything that’s arranged by Hiratake(平茸).

Circle Name: 極東アウトブレイク対策本部
Album Name: 極東アウトブレイク
Website: http://echoproject.xxxxxxxx.jp/eob.html

  1. Mano – フェヒナーの色
    An alternative-rock track by Mano, quite reminiscent of Echo Project’s style in general. I like the drum patterns used in this, which lend this track a rather high-energy feel, and the timing on the guitar is great as well. The build-up and progress throughout the song is excellent as well, gives me the impression that a journey is about to begin. Excellent introductory track.
  2. シノダナオキ – wkmk
    I have no idea who this arranger is, so I can’t say anything about style for this track. It’s rather standard-sounding rock, though sadly with a healthy dose of male vocals. It’s not as bad as it could possibly be though, and the vocals are used quite excellently as well, but I still don’t like male vocals. The instrumental arranging is quite good as well, with never a dull moment in this track. Not bad at all.
  3. Girl’s short hair – 紬糸
    Another male vocal track, but this time not really as cheerful as the previous song. I’ve heard a fair number of songs by Girl’s short hair before, and they’ve mostly been plagued by male vocals as well, which disappoints me greatly. They’re rather good at making rock songs, but there’s always, always male vocals involved. There’s a few cases where it actually sounds quite good, but in this track I find it to be annoying more than anything else.
  4. 平茸 – missimagine
    Hiratake’s track. Of course it’s excellent.
    That aside, this is one of my favourite tracks by Hiratake. It’s an excellent demonstration of post-rock, with plenty of interesting elements that invoke emotion without ever needing vocals or lyrics to do it. Everything is excellent – the guitar, the drums, the title. If you haven’t listened to this yet, you should. You really should.
  5. 模倣者 – uzumaki
    This was rather interesting because it shouldn’t have been. I don’t know the arranger at all, and I never really expected anything in this album to really be better than missimagine, which is of course an excellent track. However, this track is perhaps an even better demonstration of the post-rock style, almost lapsing into ambient music at times.
    I get the feeling that most would perceive this track as being noisy, because of how loud the guitar riffs are in this. It does indeed sound quite echo-ey, but if you listen closely you will discern the melody and vocals, hidden beneath all the noise. Beauty lies within indeed.
  6. Driving Kitchen – Ancient Temple
    A much less emotional song, though a much more melodic one. Aside from having an amusing name, this circle does a rather good job of rock arranges. I like the way the original melody of Ancient Temple is played with a fair bit while still retaining its distinctive quality, and there’s a fair bit of originality thrown in as well. There’s a bit of emptiness in this track though, it seems like it could have used an additional element in there somewhere. Quite good, but not that good.
  7. Sun Flower Field – ヒカリ
    The most striking thing about this song is the excellent(non-male) vocals, with some pretty good backup instrumentals as well. This song sounds alot more like pop, though thankfully it doesn’t rely solely on the vocals to carry the song. I like the vocalist quite a bit in this one, she has quite a cute voice that gives this song a very cheerful vibe. One of the better tracks of the album.
  8. 白トカゲ – 春風の行方
    And we’re back in the land of male vocals. I don’t know why people keep using male vocals, it really irks me. The arrangement of the song is excellent, and if you listen closely there’s actually what sounds like a cute voice providing backup for the brash male vocalist, which sort of saves it I guess. The chorus bits are by far the best parts of this song, and are the only reason that I don’t hate this.
  9. 猫侍 – twinkle
    An excellent choice for the last track, with very soft lullaby-like vocals accompanying very soft instrumentals. The background instrumentals somewhat remind me of Hiratake’s style, which is always a plus. I like the slow build-up over the course of the song, which makes it alot more emotional when the climax is finally reached. Excellent outro track.

This album actually wasn’t bad at all in terms of album composition. The central rock theme holds it together, and the tracks are arranged in a way that doesn’t make the transitions from track to track jarring, which is quite rare. I rather enjoyed this album a fair bit, being quite fond of rock and post-rock and ambient music, and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes rock.

If you’re looking for circles with similar style, I would suggest checking out Aftergrow and Echo Project, both of whom I like alot.