And now for a bit of a change from the usual.
BLANKFIELD released their newest album at Comiket 79 in December, and as usual it fails to disappoint. The album is all powerful instrumental metal filled with unexpected turns and surprises.
1. Darkness Falls (Original: Night Falls ~ Evening Star)
The album starts off right away with what is easily the highlight song of the album. The song begins with a twisting, inhumanely fast piano playing the beginning of Evening Star, backed by powerful percussion and low, rapid guitar. After a few seconds, it slows down a bit before flowing into the chorus of the song, led by the electric guitar. The chaotic piano is not long missed, however, and returns soon after for an encore performance, as the song gradually slows down into an ominous, almost choral hum. For a moment, we are granted a brief reprieve as slow violins and harps come in to calm the storm before the electric guitar chorus returns. This time, however, everything becomes even more oppressive, as the song reaches a grand crescendo when the low guitars are accompanied by the sounds of explosions, sirens, gunfire, and overall chaos, ending in a final crash.
This is easily one of BLANKFIELD’s most innovative tracks, and again, probably the best on the album.
2. Border of Life (Original: Bloom Nobly, Cherry Blossoms of Sumizome ~ Border of Life)
Not much to describe here, other than BLANKFIELD’s usual fare with rapid percussion and guitars playing a powerful arrange of Border of Life. For those familiar with this arranger, this track won’t be very surprising, particularly after Darkness Falls.
Does this mean that it’s a bad song? Not in the least. As usual, BLANKFIELD delivers very well with a solid, powerful arrangement.
3. A Far East Fantasy (Original: Various Touhou songs)
Now this was a surprise. An 8-bit montage of various Touhou songs (I recognize Till When? and Old World), interspersed with random game sounds. All this serves as a lead-up to the real song, though…
4. Flowering Game Night (Original: Flowering Night)
This was unexpected, I have to admit. BLANKFIELD’s usual style is given new flavor with the main tune of Flowering Night being played by chiptune, with the guitars and drums serving only as backing. The original tune doesn’t last too long, however, and is quickly taken over by an erratic improvisation from the chiptune and guitar. The whole thing ends suddenly, with the chiptune finishing up the piece with the main tune once more. This is another personal favorite track of mine, mainly because of how it comes completely out of nowhere. Nice to see that BLANKFIELD still has some surprises.
5. Dark Road (Original: The Road of the Apotropaic God ~ Dark Road)
Back to the more familiar BLANKFIELD style, we have their wonderful arrange of Dark Road. The arrange starts out as usual, with a powerful (I keep using that word. Nothing else seems to fit.) guitar leading the main song, but one unexpected feature is the addition of what appears to be a second guitar for the chorus. I have not heard BLANKFIELD use multiple guitars on the same tune before, and it’s a welcome surprise.
Suddenly, a moment of calm appears with a short, quiet string interlude with some sort of vintage filter over it. This quickly builds up to a calm semi-techno phase that leads into the return of the guitar for the remainder of the piece. But the surprises still aren’t over, as the song seems to begin to fade out. Just before it does, however, it suddenly springs back into full force before fading out for real with some kind of techno bells to fade out.
This is nothing more than a soothing, ambient piece to calm the listener before the last two tracks. Accentuated by what sounds like faint choral chanting and church bells, it picks up with a nice beat about halfway through. Just before the end, it suddenly rushes into the intro for the next track…
7. Retrospective City (Original: Retrospective Kyoto)
Like Border of Life, this track is the staple of BLANKFIELD’s style, though perhaps with all the unusual and innovative tracks on this album, their staple is becoming more of a rarity.
8. Wriggle. (Original: Stirring an Autumn Moon ~ Mooned Insect)
And to finish off the album, we have what is likely my favorite ever arrange of Mooned Insect. The track starts out normal for BLANKFIELD, then suddenly stops about halfway through for a couple of seconds of…crickets chirping. I actually laughed out loud the first time I heard it, only to be hit once again by the rest of the song continuing as usual.
It’s been a while since I heard anything new from BLANKFIELD, and permutation suicide does not disappoint. In fact, I would say that BLANKFIELD is improving with their compositions. They’ve really started to add more things that catch the listener, pick up their attention, and surprise them in unexpected and innovative ways. This is probably one of the single best metal arrange albums I have ever heard, and I would highly recommend it to anyone with even a vague interest in the genre.