Versailles - Jubilee
Warner Music Japan
Symphonic / Neoclassical Power Metal
12 songs (65:00)
Release year: 2010
Versailles Myspace
Reviewed by Kyle

The loss of a band member’s life is always a horrible experience, perhaps even more so for the group’s fans than the deceased’s bandmates. Yes, the loss of a human life is tragic, especially when it’s someone young and full of talent and potential, but the way that the band he or she leaves behind suffers in quality because of a missing link is heartbreaking as well. So when Versailles bassist Jasmine You perished because of medical complications last August while the band was recording their follow up to Noble, I was worried for the band and its future, to say the least. But in spite of a switch to a major label and the loss of their bassist, Versailles carries ever onwards with Jubilee, a very worthy (If slightly flawed) successor to the band’s fantastic debut.

First, let’s explore the major changes in Versailles’ sound. With Jubilee, gone are almost any traces of the poppy J-Rock tracks that were scattered throughout Noble alongside the power metal songs, and the thrashy, melodeath-influenced tracks are gone as well. Here, we are presented with sixty five minutes of fast-paced neoclassical power metal, with two ballads, two interludes, and two big, epic, highly symphonic pieces that are the true highlights of Jubilee. The rest of the tracks all follow the same speedy power metal style, but unfortunately something… just something... Seems amiss. I can’t quite put my finger on it. At first I thought it was that this album isn’t quite as melodic as its predecessor, but that’s absurd; without the more aggressive songs, there’s more melody here than ever before. Maybe the reason is that the melodies that ARE present aren’t quite as cheerful sounding as the ones on Noble. But whatever the case, these songs have evolved, and now the aggressiveness shown in tracks like Second Fear from the debut is made subtly present in the power metal songs while still keeping a high level of melodic hooks present.

The two ballads featured here are very different from each other, and one is very good while the other is fairly silly. Serenade is the last proper track on the album before the outro, and I assume that this is a very fitting farewell tribute to Jasmine You. There’s sadness and longing attached to this song, as well as some beautifully sorrowful melodies on violin, but once the electric guitars kick in, you get the feeling that Versailles is still ever striving for a bright future through their painful loss. The other ballad, Amorphous, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of Serenade; it’s way, way too poppy, with only a touch J-Rock guitar riffs, and feels completely out of place in the scheme of the album. I know many of Versailles’ Japanese fans will most likely love this song, but it simply doesn’t belong on Jubilee. Perhaps the band should release an EP of more pop rock oriented material like this to satisfy fans of this style. The only other song I didn’t particularly enjoy is The Umbrella Of Glass with its slower style and bland riffs, but the rest of the album is very good.

The two epics here, God Palace and Princess, are, as stated before, the defining tracks of Jubilee. The former is surprisingly dark at the start, beginning with some truly villainous orchestrations, but becomes much lighter in tone later on with some slower J-Rock moments and a bit of cheery speed metal near the end. Princess, which was released on an EP prior to this album, fits in very well at the end of this record, sounding similar to something like The Revenant Choir from Noble; very speedy, with great melodies to boot.

On a whole, Jubilee is a rather consistent album that will surely please fans of Noble; Hizaki’s solos are better than ever, and the power metal songs are better structured than before. But a couple of things could’ve been fixed: I would’ve liked to hear more than just power metal for sixty five minutes, as Versailles has proved that they are perfectly capable of performing multiple styles of music, and I would’ve also liked to hear improved production. Why the production here sounds almost exactly the same as on Noble, when this album was released on Warner Music, is a grand mystery to me. All the same, Jubilee is definitely worth a purchase if you loved Noble as much as I did, but if you’re new to Versailles, I suggest you begin with that album rather than this one.

Killing Songs :
All except Amorphous and The Umbrella Of Glass.
Kyle quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Versailles that we have reviewed:
Versailles - Noble reviewed by Kyle and quoted 93 / 100
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