Thursday 23 November 2017

Album Review: ESPRIT D'AIR - Constellations

Esprit D'Air - Constellations
01. Ignition
02. Rebirth
03. Guiding Light
04. The Hunter
05. Starstorm
06. The Awakening
07. Reminisce
08. Versus
09. Shizuku (Bonus Track)
10. Grudge (Bonus Track)
11. Deai (Bonus Track)

Esprit D'Air is a Japanese Rock band based in London. I was fortunate enough to play a show with them in London earlier this month, and they were on top form. We swapped CDs, and I've been really looking forward to giving Constellations my undivided attention.

I checked out a number of J-Rock bands when I was in Tokyo a few years ago, and the one thing they all had in common was that everything was perfect. Seriously. There is a meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of these bands, including production, performance, stage image, photo shoots, music videos... I left Japan feeling like a bit of a tramp who needed to get his act together.

Esprit D'Air are no exception to this rule. The production on Constellations is top notch, and the musicianship is stellar (forgive the pun). They've clearly spent a lot of time and huge amounts of effort on this release, and it's paid dividends.

Musically, they are a Metal band with some progressive parts, displays of brutal Metalcore, soundscape, Melodic Rock, and occasional bursts of Electronica. The album certainly draws on plenty of styles and influences, but does so in a coherent and well thought out manner that makes listening to it feel like an epic journey. I also really like how lead singer Kai switches between Japanese and English on a number of the tracks, creating an interesting dynamic for the listener (full translations are in the CD booklet).

I love the flawlessness of Esprit D'Air. There are no apparent compromises here. No dodgy notes masquerading as 'human quality'. Everything about them is at 'showroom standard'. This record may be a bit too polished or even self-indulgent for some tastes, but its quality as a piece of art is undeniable.

Constellations is an impressive album with plenty of depth and creativity, clearly showing how the band could be major players in the future, were the right label to work with them.


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