Beauty & Decadence in Kaya’s Vampire Requiem

Review

by Kate Havas, Leela McMullen, posted January 23, 2012

Vampire Requiem is an atmospheric single composed by HIZAKI with lyrics by Kaya. With two of visual kei’s “princesses” at the helm of the project, listeners are guaranteed a beautiful result. No stranger to taking on characters in his songs, Kaya plays the role of a tormented vampire expressing the loneliness and despair of a life of darkness. The songs are based on stories written by Kaya himself, and one gets the impression that the character exists fully in Kaya’s mind, giving the songs the feel of a small part of a much larger story, like a segment of musical theater.

The first track, “Vampire Requiem,” is a dramatic and complex arrangement that works on multiple levels thanks to HIZAKI’s skill and Kaya’s expressive voice. Violin and cello accent the work along with Spanish-flavored acoustic guitar creating a rich sound that sets the song a cut above the usual gothic fare. Kaya’s voice is exquisite in conveying pain even as the seductive melody of the song invites movement and dancing, a metaphor for the tortured yet decadent world the vampire resides in.

The b-side, “Curse of Rose,” is a smooth follow-up, the opening blending almost seamlessly into the a-side. This number is more measured, with the ethereal vocalist selia lending his voice to an almost unearthly chorus. In its five minute running time, the song covers wide ground, from sharp violin to heavier runs of electric guitar that make it a complement to the previous orchestral track. Kaya’s vocal performance skills are almost unparalleled in the two tracks, creating a clear image of movement and expression in the listener’s head. Between the vocal inflection and emotional music, even those who can’t understand the lyrics will understand the vampire’s sadness.

The third and fourth tracks on the single offer the instrumental versions of the songs, both worthy of a listen in their own right. Fans of Kaya, HIZAKI, or beautiful gothic music in general would do well to give this one a listen. The single goes on sale January 25 and can be reserved online in Japan via Amazon and will be available through Amazon, itunes, and CD Japan for those overseas.

4 track CD (2 instrumental)

Track List

  1. Vampire Requiem
  2. Curse of Rose
  3. Vampire Requiem -Kaya-less ver. [instrumental]
  4. Curse of Rosem -Kaya-less ver. [instrumental]

Kate Havas first became interested in Japanese fashion and culture in college when manga, anime, and visual kei were just beginning to make their way to America. An art and English major with a love of clothes, Kate signed onto ROKKYUU in order cover fashion and report on Tokyo trends, but was quickly also recruited to the music side of things and has been having an adventure expanding her knowledge of all things VK since. Follow her on twitter at keito_kate!

Leela McMullen is a strong believer in the philosophy "no music, no life." Having traversed the range of Japanese fandoms, she found her home at last in visual kei and has made it her mission to share what she loves most with the world. Leela completed her B.A. in Japanese language from Griffith University in Gold Coast Australia. She now lives and works in Japan, striving to bring you the goods, hot from the scene. Follow her on twitter for juicy hints of upcoming articles if you've got a bit of Japanese language under your belt! http://twitter.com/#!/LeelaInTokyo

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