Do As Infinity [GATES OF HEAVEN] (Fifth Album)

February 3, 2009

Gates of Heaven
Honjitsu wa Seiten Nari (本日ハ晴天ナリ, Today Will Be A Fine Day)
Hiiragi (柊, Holly)
Azayaka na Hana (アザヤカナハナ, Vivid Flower)
Mahou no Kotoba ~Would you marry me~ (魔法の言葉, Magic Words ~Would you marry me~)
Buranko (ブランコ, Swing)
D/N/A
Weeds
Field of Dreams
Kagaku no Yoru (科学の夜, Night of Science)
Thanksgiving Day

The album starts off with the rock-laced track Gates of Heaven. I normally don’t get into songs like this, but I find that I really like this song for some strange reason. Its strange because I don’t think I have ever liked this song until just now. The arrangement is a very aggressive and damn good guitar and drum ensemble, I mean I’m not much of a rock fan, its honestly a guilty pleasure of mine, but I really liked this. Tomiko’s vocal performance was pretty strong, I especially loved her voice during the chorus. This is a nice and rather engaging start to the album.

The next track on the album is the up-tempo Honjitsu wa Seiten Nari (本日ハ晴天ナリ, Today Will Be A Fine Day). This song was a bit similar to the first track only a bit more upbeat. Its one of their songs that I don’t really listen too, but when I hear it I can’t help but get into it. The arrangement was a bit more engaging than the previous track and I thought the random clapping throughout was a nice touch. Tomiko’s vocal performance was a bit charming, because though she sounded serious it really seemed like she was enjoying recording this. I don’t blame her this is a pretty fun and carefree song.

The next track on the album is the down-tempo Hiiragi (柊, Holly). Hmm? I wonder why I never really listen to this song? DAI aways seem to really surprise me with their down-tempo tracks, they are always so good. The arrangement is pretty heavy and depressing, but it does fit the song and creates a moody and rather sorrowful atmosphere. Tomiko’s vocal performance was good, I have no complaints. I mean she has a voice that can be annoying at times, because she tends to hit certain notes higher than she should and its rather obvious, but she brings a lot of depth to the songs she sings, so you hardly ever really notice.

The next track on the album is Azayaka na Hana (アザヤカナハナ, Vivid Flower). Well, this song is different. It also plays like a song I wouldn’t normally like, but Tomiko’s vocals and the light warmth and softly jazzy feel of the arrangement makes me like it anyways. I mean this song appears to be very easy-going, but its a bit serious. I didn’t expect this song to turn out the way it did, but I’m pretty pleased that it did.

The next track on the album is the lively Mahou no Kotoba ~Would you marry me~ (魔法の言葉, Magic Words ~Would you marry me~). This song is a bit surprising, because it seems almost happy in a sense, I mean not saying DAI can’t come out with happy songs, but I’m use to a more depressing undercurrent in concerns to their less woeful songs. This track carried none of that. The arrangement sounded very show tune, I could just imagine Tomiko on stage in a gaudy outfit, singing to an enthusiastic crowd. It was kind of off-putting, but interesting at the same time. I thought Tomiko’s vocal performance was pretty good too, but like I said before Tomiko has the tendency to sound louder than she should and it kind of turns me off. I’m still on the fence with this track, but I think I’m more inclined to like it.

The next track on the album is the tired Buranko (ブランコ, Swing). This song is pretty down in the tempo and gives off a very angsty vibe. The only thing I liked about this song was the arrangement. It sounds very traditional and that traditional sound always sounds good on my ears, I also really liked the guitar solo. Tomiko’s vocals ruin this song, they’re not bad, but she sings this song in such a tired and windy way that I found it impossible to pay attention to this track and my mind and interest kept wandering. I listened to it twice and both times it went completely over my head. I don’t know, its not a bad song, but Tomiko’s vocals just do nothing for my eardrums.

The next track on the album is the mid-tempo D/N/A. There isn’t much to say about this track other than it sounds awfully familiar, it really does sound like one of her other songs, especially when she gets to the chorus. If so, its a bit more tame. The arrangement was your typical DAI fare, but it made the song seem a bit dreary. Tomiko gave a good vocal performance. This song is all right, but nothing that really stands out.

The next track on the album is the dull Weeds. What a boring song, and it went completely over my head. I mean I don’t expect much from a song called ‘weeds’, but I at least expected DAI to bring it a little harder and more creative than this. It sounds too familiar, and its pretty much on the stagnant side. The arrangement plays like a slow day, I mean I like that its lead by the guitar, but its quite the boring tune. Tomiko’s vocals are decent, but she sounds a bit uninspired to me and though her voice more often than not pulls me into songs like this, I felt no connection. This track was quite underwhelming.

The next track on the album is the uncomplicated Field of Dreams. I really like the title. This song isn’t really all that interesting, but sometimes I just comes across songs that I like just because I simply like them. The arrangement is guitar based, and though its nothing we haven’t already heard its still a really nice and reflecting listen. Tomiko’s vocals do a good job conveying the whole mood and feel of the song. It doesn’t stand out much though, this is a pretty quiet song.

The next track on the album is Kagaku no Yoru (科学の夜, Night of Science). This song is a bit different, and I mean that arrangement wise because Tomiko’s vocals have been sounding the same sense the album began. The arrangement is of course guitar based, I think there’s some drums and a little synth, it was nice and brought a bit of meaning to the title, which I thought was a bit strange. Tomiko’s vocals like I said are pretty same, but she of course gave a good vocal performance. This is yet another song that doesn’t really stand out, but its an all right listen. The chorus is the high light.

The next track on the album is the oddly titled Thanksgiving Day. This is another track that doesn’t really stand out and sounds kind of muffled, but that’s probably because I had the volume down. The arrangement is typical, there was nothing really interesting about it, though it was pretty consistent. Tomiko’s vocals were fitting, she’s actually the reason why I’m inclined to like this song, even though it offers nothing. The chorus adds a bit to that as well.

The next track is a bonus Honjitsu wa Seiten Nari (a-nation Live). There’s not much to say that I haven’t already said about this song, its a good listen though.

The last track on the album is another bonus Shinjitsu No Uta (真実の詩, Song of Truth) (Mandarin Version). I thought it was neat that they did a Mandarin version, especially since the arrangement sounds so traditional Chinese, though I do believe its traditional Japanese, maybe a flute?

-GRADE: B
Rating: ** stars

Do As Infinity’s fifth album GATES OF HEAVEN is all right, but it is definitely one of their more weaker albums. The only song that really stands out is Honjitsu wa Seiten Nari, the others play nice but don’t really jump out at you and honestly if it wasn’t for Tomika’s pretty good vocal performances I doubt I would have liked half the songs on here, especially since the arrangements aren’t anything memorable. GATES OF HEAVEN should of course be listened to by all DAI fans, because it does carry some good tracks, but in all truth its somewhat of a forgettable album.

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