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#120: llll-Ligro- - 弔 (Tomurai)

On the topic of unfinished, unreleased albums...  

19 members have voted

  1. 1. If an album you were looking forward to was cancelled and the band broke up, which alternative would you rather prefer?

    • Release the album as is, with whatever is unfinished remaining unfinished
    • Release whatever is finished in whatever form makes sense (single, EP, live distributed release)
    • Hire session musicians to finish up whatever needs to be finished, if that is possible
    • Do nothing, because if it was not finished then it was not meant to be heard.

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Three things in life are inevitable as a visual kei fan: death, taxes, and your favorite band ending activities. If you are a fan of llll-Ligro- , then you experienced all three at the same time when they announced their second disbandment. I wasn't super into the band at the time of both of their disbandments, although they were on my radar and not on my shit list, so I can sympathize with fans who had to deal with heart break twice. Fans of yesteryear went through a similar phase with UnsraW's vocalist Yuuki, and depending on who you talk to he still hasn't gotten back to his prime ten years later. The similarities are so striking it's hard to resist the comparison. But this review isn't about UnsraW, it's about llll-Ligro- and their unreleased second album (Tomurai). The three tracks that managed to survive stand as a reminder for what could have been, and what should have been.

Before its cancellation, 弔 was announced for a 2018-05-30 release. Artwork and booklets were probably designed and pressed, but no scans other than the front exist. A track list was released but we don't know how many of the nine unreleased songs were finished. The album was delayed multiple times due to Hinata and Kazari's habit of postponing releases for the sake of quality, but Hinata's refusal to finish recording his parts due to acute chorditis implies that at least some of these songs were unfinished. As is, it will be impossible to give a full review of it, but there are several tracks we can reflect on. Those tracks are comeback single "INVICTA", live distributed single "basket case", and other promotional single "INVISIBLE INDIVIDUAL". "深閑ガラス" (Shinkan Glass) is a track played at their last live but no recording of it exists.



弔 (Tomurai)

1. Blame me (SE)
3. basket case
4. Shinkan Glass (深閑ガラス)
5. Kuroneko wa Kaku Katariki (黒猫は斯く語りき)
6. Ratai Are Hateta Hyou (裸体荒れ果てた標)
10. Mist
12. Seija no Koushin (聖者の行進)
13. Kanransha wa Adabana to (観覧車は徒花と)
14. Isho (遺書)


Despite all the material released as a part of llll-Ligro- 's first phase, "INVICTA" isn't the ball scorching metalcore banger I was expecting. The unassuming opening does a lot to disarm the listener, and on the first listen I thought this was going to be a ballad, but before long the song ratchets up the complexity and the aggression. The band dips their toes into the progressive metal waters with this one, as everything from synthesized piano keys to acoustic guitars and a generous amount of toms and cymbal crashes makes an appearance. Hinata's vocals are one of the most striking elements of the track, featuring his signature skill of deftly switching between harsh growls and pig squeals. Sometimes the transitions are so fast I'm not sure if it's all natural or studio magic, but having to perform that live is absolutely killer. It's a seven minute trip far more realized than most of their contemporaries. If every band has their magnum opus, "INVICTA" could be theirs. This must have been a product of their time as 時限式:uadjet (jigenshiki:uadjet).

"INVISIBLE INDIVIDUAL" is a much more straightforward track, and would have been the first track on the album after "Blame me", which is an SE so I don't count it. There are a lot of cool ideas here. I think my ultimate favorite part is around 3 minutes, where Hinata's clean singing is laid over his screaming, creating a great dynamic tension to push the song into it's last section. The piano motif returns again, which makes me suspect that we would have gotten at least one piano ballad on the album. There's also some pretty dope bass slaps before the eagle scream halfway through where I expected a breakdown to appear, which is what cemented my opinion of this track as an above average metalcore dirge. 


The last track that was released was "basket case", a live distributed teaser that ended up becoming their last official release. This would have followed "INVISIBLE INDIVIDUAL" and does a good job providing contrast to the first track. This wasn't uploaded anywhere else, so I'll try to give a good description of how the track sounds. "basket case" opens up with a short, distorted riff into a chorus with clean vocals with a straightforward, 'four to the floor' drum beat. The main guitar riff of the song sounds mental and the song moves at a frantic yet restrained pace, alluding to the title. Most of the singing is clean and takes place with Hinata's higher register, but mid range barks, growls, and a pig squeal makes an appearance shortly after the second verse. There's a strong emphasis on twin guitar melody for this song. The chorus has a very stereotypical visual kei melodic progression, so much so that I feel like I can place at least the first few notes of "basket case" from another song, but I can't figure out which one it is yet.

"basket case" descends into thirty seconds of noise as the track winds down to an end, and I find myself feeling saddened that the album will never be released in its entirety, and that I'll never get to hear "深閑ガラス" (Shinkan Glass). llll-Ligro-  hold the crown for visual kei bands with one of the most promising yet unfulfilled musical development arcs of all time, and that's not a title I'm keen on reassigning any time soon. Based on what I've heard, 弔 would have been the album that made a fan out of me. I just know there's a copy of the unfinished masters sitting in a vault in Japan somewhere, and perhaps a second or third copy on a hard drive, but the odds that we'll ever get to see or hear any more of this album are slim to none. At this point, I'd even take a mini-album of whatever is fit enough to be released.

A lot of unknowns remain around the members and the state of the band. Can Hinata ever sing again? Is the relationship between Hinata and Kazari too strained to imagine a third reunion? Do they even want to try or will they both move on to new, separate projects? I am reluctant to stoke the fires of hope for the remaining llll-Ligro-  fans out there, because that's just cruel, but the scene has shown with both HIZUMI (D'espairsRay) and Yuuki (UnsraW) that there's always a chance for Hinata to return.

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It's such a shame this got cancelled, it could've rivaled chedoara as vk metal album of the year. I'm still searching auction sites for basket case but having no luck, maybe one day.

Also their stuff released as Jigenshiki:uadjet is really good too. Hekiraku no Satori especially shows the direction they were heading for.

Edited by Tanishi

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