It’s about damn time, Taka! He’s finally gracing us with a full vocal album 1.5 years after his last one,Caramel Crunch. This time around, we only have Show Ikeda and Futoumeido on vocals. It’s a shame that there’s no Mei Ayakura or Nachi, but i’m not going to complain since I’m happy with the two other returning vocalists.
The crossfade sounded very good to my ears, and is a great indication that the album will turn out fantastic. Like Sepia Recollections, this is an original alternative metal album with vocals.
- Reconstruction – The album opens up with a guitar rift that brought back some nostalgia from Sepia Recollections. The entire track sounds good, but it honestly feels like an arrangement of Sepia’s Introduction.
- Little Wing – The second track continues off where Reconstruction left off, just like Photostand from Sepia. The overall feel of the song is very similar as well, especially with Show Ikeda . Doesn’t the opening verse around 0:42 sound just like the one on Four Resolution’s Never Despair? Hmm…
- Deception – It’s the first track with Taka and Futomeido! My first impression is that the two of them work pretty well together. It does seem like Taka likes to open his guitar solos with the same rift though. Check out 2:33 on this track, and 2:30 on Sepia’s Requiem.
- Revolution Again – I loved the quiet section starting at 2:04, which led into a pretty sweet guitar solo! I wish that the the ending of the song didn’t cut off so abruptly.
- Dividing Line – Ahh, it’s a softer track this time around with some acoustic guitar. Futomeido really hits her notes well on this track. The guitar solo was really well done and while the drums were simplistic during that segment, it still works out. The background guitar rift does sound a bit like the one on Caramel Crunch‘s 夕焼け though.
- Missing Pieces – We’re finally back to Show Ikeda with this track. This track feels the most like alternative metal to me. I like the chorus lines at 1:39 but it really reminds me of Nachi Sakaue’s chorus lines on Sepia’s Unfinished Dream. The guitar solo on this track was good.
- Insomnia – Taka opens up this track with some heavier guitars than on his other tracks. The rhythm guitar lines are pretty cool on this track, but I wish they could be heard a bit more clearly.
- Next Wind – Right from the start, it reminded me of Sepia’s Good-Bye. Once you hear the chorus lines, it’s immediately apparent. I did like the choral vocals in the background though.
I’m a little bit conflicted about this album. While I think it’s pretty good overall, it ended up being too similar to Sepia Recollections. Yes, it’s supposed to be a sequel of sorts but the overall structure of the album is basically the same. There’s the intro track which then transitions smoothly onto the second track. Then there’s more metal until track 5 on both albums, in which there’s a softer track with acoustic guitars. Then lastly, there’s a bittersweet sounding track to end both albums.
In addition, there were many instances where I found similar guitar rifts being re-used from Taka’s older albums. There may have been more, but I haven’t listened to his latest albums enough to notice. That being said, I don’t think that most people would have noticed it to begin with unless they listen to a lot of Taka’s albums.
To be fair, Taka does release an album every comiket and reitaisai so I can understand it being hard to come up with new material within his tight release schedule. Personally I would have rather have a touhou vocal album than an original one. At least that way, there would have been less of an incentive to re-use his older work. I think Taka is at his best when he makes touhou arrangements, and I would love to hear more of his softer acoustic guitar work as well.
The songs that were more original though, were all pretty good. My favorite tracks ended up being Dividing Line and Missing Pieces even though they shared similarities to their respective tracks from Sepia. While I would have liked to have some more vocalist variety, Futomeido and Show Ikeda did some pretty good work here. They’re both staples that I hope will show up again in the future.
I really wanted this album to be special. Four Resolutions and Acoustic Episode were Taka’s first original and touhou vocal EPs. Sepia Recollections and Caramel Crunchwere Taka’s first full original and touhou vocal albums. So where does this leave Angel’s Wings? Even though Angel’s Wings is good on its own, it’s unfortunately nothing more than a nostalgic sequel to Sepia Recollections.