So a friend gave me the idea to do a triple review of the three oldschool electronic touhou circles. Anyone who is into Touhou music has probably listened to something by these circles at least once. They have been around since 2003, 2008, and 2009 respectively, and have been consistently making albums since they've started. Each of these three circles have a very distinct style from each other, and I'm very glad that we have this kind of variety.
If you like EDM that mainly focuses on the drops, then Alstroemeria Records is the way to go. EastNewSound has some EDM but still retain their house and trance sound. Halozy has always been on the moe side and that hasn't changed. You'll usually find eurotrance, and upbeat stuff from them.
The first album is Alstroemeria Record's ULTRA DANCEHALL. It's their 50th full album release and marks the return of the much missed DANCEHALL series. Unfortunately, the preview didn't give me much confidence in ALR's arrangements. Next up is EastNewSound's Blind Emotion. The preview only showcased three tracks from the album and left me wondering how the rest of the album would sound like. Last is Halozy's Lucky 7, which marks their 7th year as a doujin circle. The crossfade was very promising, so I had some high expectations of the full album. Read on for the full review of these three album!
It won't come as a shock to the long time readers that I'm quite disappointed with ULTRA DANCEHALL. I was hoping for something more along the lines of ABANDONED DANCEHALL or DOMINATED DANCEHALL, but instead we got what's essentially a "POP | CULTURE 6" with some underwhelming track transitions. For the most part, the tracks sound like they're just using the touhou themes as filler for the drops (Most apparent in tracks 6 and 7). My favorite track this album goes to Ayame and Masayoshi Minoshima for RED SOUL, which ended the album on a positive note.
Overall - 2/5 - Bad
I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of work that EastNewSound managed to produce with this album. Overall, I thought that it was an improvement from their last album. It had a nice mix of older ENS styles with some surprises by Kirin. Tracks #6 and 9 were the most unique out of the album and pushed this album from being a decent album to a good one. While tracks #4, 5, 7, and 8 were pretty mediocre, tracks #1-3 were solid arrangements that make up for them.
Overall - 4/5 - Good
In a lot of ways, Lucky 7 is similar to Viva Evolution but it manages to impress me even more. Its got the perfect balance of soothing moe, upbeat eurotrance, EDM, and guest arrangements. While Crouka's track #2 is the only arrangement that doesn't quite fit it, that doesn't stop this album from being one of my new favorites. What more could I ask for?
Overall - 5/5 - As good as it gets
There hasn't been a better time to discover EastNewSound and Halozy than with their Reitaisai 13 albums. They're both my favorite albums from the respective circles in the last few years and both show promise for good albums in the future. On the other hand, Alstroemeria Records has been abysmal for me. It seems like they're making music for a much different crowd now. Their kind of EDM certainly isn't my thing and it's a shame because I love ALR's vocalists. I can safely say that if you don't like the POP | CULTURE series, then skip ULTRA DANCEHALL. If you only have time to listen to one album, then Halozy's Lucky 7 would be my recommendation.
As always, you can find these three albums on 9tensu.com or you can support the artists by importing the albums from various Japanese proxies. If you enjoyed this review, you can show your thanks and support by following this blog on Facebook/Twitter and by liking this post.
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is a full time otaku & audiophile who enjoys listening to Touhou music, playing doujin games, and reading visual novels. For more information, visit the About page.