Pre-Album Praise: Raglaia

After singer Rami left Aldious, the band quickly lost most of its appeal to me. Sure, Yoshi and Toki can still embarrass many men with their riffs, but Rami’s replacement Re:NO despite a decent voice lacked any semblance of power, watering Aldious down to something that is sometimes dangerously close to a girl group with somewhat heavy guitars. Not that Rami was all power all the time, but she had a sense of dynamics that made some of the band’s songs – most notably the brilliant ‘Luft’ – a delight to listen to.

Since health issues were cited as the reason why Rami stepped down, something in the back of my mind always kept wondering what happened to her. Then suddenly, after three years of not hearing anything about her, she surfaced with the first single ‘Breaking Dawn’ of her new band Raglaia. Of course, I’m not sure how her health is treating her these days, but her voice sounds downright amazing, while guitarist and producer K-A-Z has provided her with a heavier, more contemporary Metal vibe than we may have gotten used to from Rami. It definitely pushes her to her most powerful and versatile performances thus far.

Where the debut single served its purpose of awakening interest in the band, it’s their brand new single ‘Promises’ that really shows Raglaia firing on all cylinders. ‘Breaking Dawn’ featured a two good songs and one great – ‘Outer Dark’ to be exact – but ‘Promises’ is an all killer, no filler deal. With as much variation as a three-song single can offer. The amazing title track has a recognizable, almost catchy feel despite K-A-Z’s fairly intricate guitar work, while the other video ‘Aching Memories’ has the guitarist battling drummer Youth-K!!! (also in Aion) for who can attack their instrument most brutally.

Rounding out the release is ‘Strings Of Fate’. A good, epic power ballad. It is strong in atmosphere and especially in the way it builds up tension. The guitar solo is surprisingly heartfelt by Japanese measures – a lot of Japanese Metal features lots of notes instead – and Rami’s voice paints a desolate picture. All of this makes me very curious what the debut album of the band will sound like. From what I understood it’s either finished or near completion, so hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer than until late 2015 or early 2016.

In conclusion, I can only say I hope that Raglaia will get the honest chance they deserve. And not just based on the looks of the two ladies in the band. Sure, Rami is beautiful and bassist Ery is adorable, but the music on offer here is something fresh, powerful, energetic and melodically irresistible. Surprisingly contemporary in production and riffing as well. The heavier work might just appeal to fans of melodic Death Metal, as long as they don’t mind the clean vocals.

As a result, it’s quite possible to listen to all of the band’s material without ever even thinking of Rami’s former band; this is a whole different beast. And if this beast can maintain the momentum displayed on ‘Promises’, they might just turn into one of Japan’s more interesting recent bands.

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