Ryu-5150 - Yonshiki Gakuten -Dainishou-
Symphonic / Neoclassical Power Metal / Black Metal
12 songs (58:56)
Release year: 2011
Reviewed by Kyle
Surprise of the month

Well, this is an interesting one. Normally I actually know something about a band’s background before I review an album of theirs – hometown, history, members, etc. – but Ryu-5150 is such an obscure band that I can only find information in Japanese. Literally, all I know about this band is that it plays a form of symphonic power metal and that it hails from Japan. That’s it. R5150’s albums are easy enough to find and download online (in fact, if you put the band’s name in on Google all you’ll find are download links), but no one has bothered to divulge any information in English. But since when has that sort of thing mattered when it comes to one’s ability to enjoy a band?

If you can push past the ludicrous manga cover art, power metal fans will be pleasantly surprised to find a diverse and addictive power metal release in this album, Yonshiki Gakuten -Dainishou-. Taking cues from other J-power metal bands (most notably Versailles), R5150 here has made an album that is technically impressive and chock full of infectious melodies. There are several narrative sections (such as those found on the latest Rhapsody of Fire EP), but as these are also performed in Japanese I can only assume they’re in place because this is a concept album. There are at least three vocalists present (one male and two female), which adds to the conceptual feel. One nice touch is that multiple themes are carried throughout the album; for example, the gorgeous chorus first heard in Osanai Rensei comes up again at the end of Omoide no Basho, and melodies heard in the first two songs make an appearance in the last two tracks of the album. It’s not much, but it’s a nice touch all the same.

Though Yonshiki Gakuten -Dainishou- is, overall, a very well-crafted Japanese power metal release, a jarring smattering of black metal crops up – shrieks, minor chords and all - in tracks four and five, Akumatachi no Koushin and 000 no Tatakai. The former is almost entirely black metal (in the vein of Bal-Sagoth), and while it’s an adequate song it feels completely out of place in the scheme of the album. The latter track, however, does a surprisingly good job of blending black and power metal styles. If Sigh and Versailles were to have a metal baby, it would probably emerge from the wound wailing this song. It’s a bit of a shame that more experimentation wasn’t done in this vein; it works well for the band, and admittedly the band’s symphonic power metal shtick grows predictable (such is the way of many J-power metal bands). Yet symphonic power metal nuts should find Ryu-5150 a delightful band all the same; the vocals are impressive, the instrumentation is solid, and the songs are memorable. If any of this sounds interesting to you, download this one now.

Pros: A very solid symphonic power metal album all-around; good ballads; idea of black metal implementation is interesting.

Cons: The black metal parts don't consistently work well; predictable for fans of this style.

Killing Songs :
Hakushokuwaisei, Aikokushatachi no Daikoushin, 000 no Tatakai
Kyle quoted 83 / 100
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