Risky Melody – Reflection (Magnifique Record/Nippon Columbia)

Monday, 6th November 2023
Rating: 8/10

Risky Melody is a Japanese metal/rock band that has existed for close to a decade now. Though in 2018, all of it’s members except vocalist Alice parted ways with the group. Since that time, Reflection marks the second full-length album for the rebooted band, and the third overall. Expect the group to provide an uplifting and energetic base to work off of, with a variety of styles over the course of the album that showcase all of its members.

Truly one thing that does really stand out across Reflection is how well balanced everything is in terms of sound and production. Compared to the usual  ‘buried in the mix’ bass, “フタシカ” feels worlds apart with the rumbling, groovy additions of Haru as the track moves along at a melodic, mid-tempo pace that soars to a rousing chorus. “All as One” later shows itself to be one of the more pop-driven tracks, allowing keyboardist Aya to really put a stamp on the heavier parts of the song, but also melding it into a hooky dance fest by the time the chorus hits. The follow-up title song cuts though and drives things firmly back into shredding territory, giving drummer Ayae and guitarist Asumi plenty to work with, and it might have one of the heaviest energy of the entire release, merging with some synths to give it an added dose of energy.  As far as Alice’s vocals go, you might as well pick any track, as she has plenty of time to showcase her talents. Her vocals never hit that higher octaves that tend to accompany similar acts of this sort, giving her an edge in grittiness that one might not expect with the cover art. Take the adrenaline-fueled “To Survive’ as a prime example, with its fist-in-the-air anthem of a chorus, which Alice really shines on. But she can also pull off more melodic cuts with grace, as “Keep on Running” providing evidence of her more elegant side without it getting too mellow.

Truly, Reflection takes some great care to provide an album where you aren’t hooked by one thing, but by all of them. There’s enough oomph behind the riffing and melodies to grab metal fans, but it’s catchy and modern enough to hook in just as much of a fanbase from the rock/pop world as well. Risky Melody provide solid material that easily sinks into your brain and effectively settles there for an extended period. It’s catchy for sure, but there’s so much to enjoy and take in that it’s not going to get old by any means.

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