NEXT: ViViX 2007-2014
NEXT: ViViX 2007-2014
July 9, 2014
Buy at Amazon Japan
NEXT: ViViX 2007-2014 is a compilation album from ViViX that compiles some of Godspeed’s (Masahiro Aoki) best original rock tunes between 2007 and 2014. In addition to previous released material, there are also new tunes written for this album and, in some cases, some of his older tunes are re-recorded. How does this solo effort turn out and is it worth picking up if you are a fan of Masahiro Aoki’s work?
The album opens and closes with the only two new compositions on the album. The title tune, “NEXT,” opens the album with a beautiful orchestral and acoustic sound before moving into some heavier guitar passage. There is a great sense of rhythm here and the play between the orchestral moments and the lead guitar really makes for an epic listen. The closing tune, “Reflection,” sports a heavy tone as well with some great guitar riffs and an excellent lead guitar. There are also some softer moments that contrast with the heavy feel of the body, but for the most part, they don’t really add much to the tune.
The rest of the tunes are selected from a variety of sources and were all composed between 2007 and 2013. The most recent tune is “Frontier,” which comes from last year’s G.O.D. Guitarists on Demand album; however, while that version featured vocals, this version replaces the lead vocals with electric guitar. It’s a great replacement and really works with the orchestration set forth in the original. Another standout entry is “crisis,” originally featured on sound sepher’s Megalomachia album and was also an entry for a contest called Guitar Idol 2010. It is an epic orchestral rock theme and features an intense guitar melody and some excellent keyboard work in the middle. “PPT_EXTREME” is a heavy metal tune with some choir backing. While it isn’t as melodically focused as some of the other tunes, it is an excellent showcase of Aoki’s range and is an extremely powerful tune.
“Spirits” is an energetic tune that features a lot of different rock influences and reminds me, in some ways, of Daisuke Ishiwatari’s various tunes from BlazBlue. The melody is definitely a highlight of the tune and the guitar solos are excellent. “Squall,” on the other hand, definitely has more of an uplifting tone to it and definitely focuses a lot more on the melody. In addition, there are some nice piano elements incorporated into the piece. “Cloudia” opens up with a beautiful piano and orchestral passage before moving into jazzy rock soundscape. While the guitar playing is top notch, I really think the accompanying instrumentation is the stronger of the two forces at play, although I do appreciate the guitar portion as well. Lastly, “Road,” has a rustic flair to it overall. It is definitely the softest track on the album, but also one of the best. I really like the Spanish flavor to the melody and the electric acoustic guitar playing is fantastic.
Overall, Masahiro Aoki’s NEXT: ViViX 2007-2014 is a nice showcase of his versatility, both as a composer and as a guitarist. While all the tunes showcase the guitar, I feel that in some cases, the guitar, despite being the lead, isn’t as strong as the accompaniment. On the whole, however, the album is definitely recommended for those fans of Masahiro Aoki’s work.
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Posted on October 21, 2014 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on October 21, 2014.