01.06.2005. KOBAYASHII, Trances of Transparency
German band Kobayashii, although performing in the very closed style of gothic metal is well able to avoid common clichés of the genre. Certain lyrics, albeit written in their native language, are, unlike some recent Samael or new Crematory tracks, not enough to fall through into being just another reminiscence of the Rammstein style. Kobayashii is a lot closer to the core of gothic than many other Teutonic bands. That is actually quite a good thing. Without giving into the talent show act, Kobayashii is able to give the thrill without the frill. Traces Of Transparency isn’t a very varied piece, however that is probably deliberate, as the whole ensemble reaches therefore some sort of general coherence, and has a great degree of musical mastering.
Certain tracks sound very similar one to the other, like for example ‘Serpents Kiss No More’ that sounds a lot like the beginning of ‘Enter Exit Exile’. On the other hand, the latter is a very pleasant composition. The chorus and vocals are accurately poised, (like in many Kobayahshii tunes…) and makes up for a slightly shy intro. One of the downsides of the album Traces Of Transparency would however be a general feeling of shyness, of holding back on certain tracks, like ‘Episode Of Drowning’ that sadly suffers from a lack of rhythmic variety...
Fortunately, the band lets loose on the piece ‘Fire’, sounding a lot more upbeat and lively. This song is insightfully programmed right in the center of the track list. Furthermore, this tune is followed by one of the best songs on the album: the quite convincing ‘Cosmic Winter’. The intro is a little awkward but makes room for interesting guitars, and a great central electro break: pure efficiency, and originality.
Thank you Kobayashii for my personal favorite piece on this collection: ‘Bunkerworld’. Gothic fans, this is the piece for you. This is the spirit: a great electro beat in the intro, followed by a groovy riff, perfectly coupled with entertaining drums. There is a slight touch of pop on the chorus.
Moreover, Kobayashii offers more than the demonstration that goth and pop can sound good together, as if it still were necessary to give proof. Indeed, the structure of the songs and the catchy guitar riffs make the band touch that pop-ish category. The gothic touch is emphasized more by the use of sound sampling and keyboards, which are by the way always-used parcimonically and in good proportion.
Let me also add a couple of words with regards to the production of this piece: it is excellent, and perfectly coordinated to the band’s style. The balance of instruments is very good.
Altogether, aside from the last two songs on the album that seem to be a little more dispensable, the album Traces Of Transparency offers a much better musical quality than the average of most current metal releases. And unlike what Herr Brede, the Kobayashii vocalist claims at the end of ‘Bunkerworld’, these musicians are not lost, but on the contrary know very well where they are going.
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