Aldnoah.Zero OP Single – heavenly blue – Review

Kalafina_-_heavenly_blue

Album Title: heavenly blue
Anime Title: Aldnoah.Zero
Artist: Kalafina
Catalog Number: SECL-1545
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: August 6, 2014
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
01. heavenly blue Kalafina 5:20
02. heavenly blue ~instrumental~ Kalafina 5:20
03. heavenly blue ~TV Size~ Kalafina 1:31

Review: Call me a hipster, but I still believe that the best days of Kalafina were their days working on the original Kara no Kyoukai movies. Sure, there have been a few good works since (“Magia” comes to mind), but nothing had the timelessness those earlier works carried. ‘Heavenly Blue’, like so many recent works, breaks no new ground. In fact, it fares even worse than usual because it is a blatant recycling of Yuki Kajiura’s other works.

Reviewing it without reference to any other work, I would of course recommend it without reservations. You cannot go wrong with Kalafina, and that statement alone is a strong testament towards their works, one of the highest praises that can be given to any artist. Even at worst, their works are enjoyable. ‘Heavenly Blue’ begins with a punctuated stanza from Hikaru and Keiko, before transitioning (somewhat abruptly) to a bridge by Wakana. The chorus, as expected, is catchy and easy on the ears. Had this been a debut single for Kalafina and Kajiura, it would be a ‘Decent’ at least.

But the problem is that when you have such potential in a band, you do not want to toss it out the window. Going along the same analogy zzeroparticle used recently, this is a case of going to a Michelin Star restaurant and asking for your premium steak well-done. People who know and love Kalafina for their musical potential will feel let down by ‘Heavenly Blue’. Prove me wrong, but the opening chorus is incredibly similar to that of ‘Obbligato’. The piece then moves on to a sequence near identical to ‘Consolation’. The following bridge resembles stanzas within ‘misterioso’, while the chorus is almost indistinguishable from that of ‘eternal blue’ by FictionJunction. It is almost as if Kajiura was told to produce something, and churned up the kind of stuff she could write instinctively at this point. The lack of new material here is appalling, and an absolute embarrassment.

What brings this down further than other generic works like ‘to the beginning’ is how it needed none of the passion and vocal skills ‘to the beginning’ demanded. The entire composition, arrangement and delivery sound like everyone was operating on auto-pilot.

‘Heavenly Blue’ is almost a textbook case of everything that can go wrong with Kalafina’s works. On the one hand, it does mean that even at worst, Kalafina remains listenable. However, given this single is yet another in a long string of disappointments that started in 2012, I really do not feel compelled to be generous in my evaluation.

Rating: Not Good

Aldnoah.Zero OP 1 – heavenly blue

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Jen

I have been a contributor to Anime Instrumentality since late 2009 (blimey...). Being a lousy musician trained in cello, keyboard and voice, I feel obliged to censure the other amateurs who have the cheek to release their rubbish to the world, and to affirm those who actually deserve their salary. Nothing gives me more joy than listening to good music, though I admit that writing scathing reviews on bad ones comes close.

8 thoughts on “Aldnoah.Zero OP Single – heavenly blue – Review

  • August 18, 2014 at 7:35 am
    Permalink

    Completely agree with the content of this review, though not necessarily its severity.

    Heads up: Kalafina’s music gets taken down pretty consistently, including from Dailymotion.

    Reply
    • August 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm
      Permalink

      @wavedash
      Thanks for that. I’m just going to use a clip of the TV size version. That should keep it on permanently.

      Reply
  • August 20, 2014 at 9:03 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you, someone who agrees.
    I love Kalafina, I even love most of their new stuff the most (To The Beginning, Hikari Furu etc.). But while this new track is by no means bad, it’s not up to Kalafina’s regular standard. It’s probably their worst from what I’ve heard, still not an awful song, but definitely not a good Kalafina song if you know what I mean…

    Reply
  • August 22, 2014 at 12:31 am
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    Can’t say I disagree with this. I mean it’s a good song as always but a little bit…colorless compared to some of the other works. Par for the course I guess. Too bad because I feel like the show has(had?) a lot of potential. We will see I guess.

    Reply
  • September 7, 2014 at 5:35 am
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    I love Aldnoah.Zero and Kalafina’s music :)

    Reply
  • November 16, 2014 at 7:04 am
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    I agree with you 100% too. In fact, I’d like to request to review Kalafina’s “Believe” ED1 for Fate Stay [UBW] 2014. I could swear that the chorus of Believe sounds exactly like chorus portion of Heavenly Blue. (Believe-1:14 mark, Heavenly Blue-0:57 mark)

    Reply
  • January 28, 2015 at 5:17 am
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    Seems like many kalafina fans not satisfied with this, but as a non-fan I find heavenly blue as the best among kalafina’s works.

    Reply
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