2017 Ketchup: Firesphere – Requiem (2017)




Darksign Records

Let me ask you a question. Do you like theatrical power metal in the vein of Kamelot, Avantasia or Nightwish? Okay, well do you also like electronic pop music and hard rock? Not so much? Well, this odd act decided to throw both of them on the same album, so you get a heavy Kamelot inspired number called “Behind These Eyes” only to follow up with some weird industrial pop track by the name of “Silent Darkness” which lasts around eight minutes and should really throw listeners off balance. Then we have another slightly heavy moment on “In The Silence” which rolls into “Tonight” a full-on ballad. Now if this formula sounds familiar, it should. The band cite that they’re going for the cinematic performance nature of X-Japan, but I just don’t think there’s anything out there that can compete with such an act. One of the characters even goes by the name of Tsukime, even though I keep thinking that it is supposed to be Tsukihime which would go with the Type Moon title of the same name. In truth, it’s not a terrible idea and would work well on the stage if done with the all the props and costuming required of such a performance, but I just don’t think that the album itself sells the concept as well as something like X-Japan. I’m surprised that something like BabyMetal made it over here to be honest, but to sell people a western version of X-Japan is just going to be so difficult. I guess I could compare it to the western live action anime adaptations that have been getting so much praise from the anime community as of late (sarcasm). Even some of the composition seems to look to the east, which is a bit striking. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this concept, I just don’t expect it to work as well as X-Japan did over there. Though those were much different times. X-Japan struck when the iron was hot and I just don’t feel that the iron is hot anymore, especially considering how otakus and weebs feel about western approaches to Japanese culture.

(12 Tracks, 54:00)


Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)



2 Responses

  1. Ken Pike

    Thanks for the review. A 7 out of ten is pretty good in my book so, it’s appreciated. After reading the review though, I felt the need to make a few clarifications because, I feel, the reviewer was a bit off target. The female vocalist in the band is actually Japanese from Tokyo so, she’s the real thing. While the concept for the band is originally derived from the Japanese model of big music and big visuals in performance, the band is not trying to be another X Japan or any other Visual Kei/J Rock band for that matter. It is an American based band and we are being what we are. The idea was simply to be different from the majority of stuff currently on the market. That’s exactly why there is a mixture of industrial metal, techno and cinematic soundtrack. If that is “odd” that’s cool because that equates to being different much like Ghost which can be considered “odd”. But, the band is able to reach a far more diverse group of listners which we see at our concerts. Personally, I don’t think the band sounds anything like Kamelot or X Japan. I think we sound like Firesphere but, that’s my opinion. Anyway, we sincerely do appreciate the review. Any press is beneficial press so, thank you.

    • Eric May

      My apologies, I had no idea she was Japanese. I couldn’t discern it in the vocal tone, having listened to a lot of Japanese female fronted rock and metal on the regular.

      I thank you for the clarification, and this might just be more from the press release and band info than the listen itself, which seemed to suggest that sort of visual kei style. There’s not nothing remotely wrong with it, I was just worried about the backlash that occurs when hardcore fans of Japanese culture find out someone is “appropriating” it for the west. An example would be the live action Ghost In The Shell, and currently Alita: Battle Angel. GITS suffered mainly due to what many purists claimed was appropriation, whitewash and several other lovely little terms in today’s millennial culture. I personally enjoyed the film.

      It’s not just movies though, as western manga, westernized games with a Japanese style and even OELVN (original English language visual novels) always seem to get bad responses from the same community. It’s to be expected though, because they are purists. I think that having a Japanese member of the band could possibly dissuade this kind of thinking, but it’s a bit disheartening that we have to even discuss it at all. People were not like this when I was young, but they are now, so there is little you can do about it. Hopefully, people will be able to cast all of this aside and not throw a fit should your act ever become as popular as BabyMetal or Ghost in the future. We can hope, anyway. Best of luck to you in the future.

      -The Grim Lord (Yes, it was me who wrote this review.)


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