|Ao no Exorcist
|May 11, 2011
|1. CORE PRIDE
|2. Kyouchi Mantra
|3. UVER Battle Royal ~Ketahazure Mix~
Review: While the realm of UVERworld and the like may be the average J-pop consumer’s backyard, this is rather unfamiliar territory for one like me, who prefers to explore the relative unknowns. My previous experience with this band came from listening to the openings from Gundam 00 and D.Gray-Man, neither of which was to my tastes. Because of this, the last thing I expected was for Ao no Exorcist’s opening to leave a lasting impression. Yet UVERworld defies my preconceived notions by producing an opening which I have listened to over and over again. The sheer quality of their effort is evident when each listen still manages to capture my attention.
“CORE PRIDE” packs the punch I felt was missing from many of their earlier anime collaborations. The piece opens with a drum solo, rapidly followed by a bold saxophone line, a boldness further emphasized by the opening rap. There’s an air of frustration in the beginning that builds up nicely before it evolves into a sense of determination, a resolve to uphold one’s pride and principle against all odds. While the vocals aren’t exactly polished, the song does precisely what it is supposed to do, behaving almost like a rallying call with its brash and upfront delivery, for one to pursue the innocence and dreams of his youth.
While “CORE PRIDE” is easily the best opening of the 2011 spring season for me, the B-sides fail to leave much of an impression. I’ll remember “Kyouchi Mantra” as the moderately entertaining but repetitive instrumental track which acts more as an overtly long interlude than a track on its own. The interlude then makes way for another unimpressive track. While it tries hard to be deliver something exciting, the way “UVER Battle Royal ~Ketahazure Mix~” was put together was plain awkward, with the mixing being too thin to really achieve the adrenaline rush it seeks to deliver.
Though the B-sides prove to be comparatively lackluster, good OP/EDs seem to be hard to come by these days, and finding one that warrants repeated listens seems to be the exception rather than the norm. Though the amazing quality of CORE PRIDE was not sustained throughout the single, I will gladly make my peace with the sheer awesomeness of the A-side alone.
Ao no Exorcist OP – CORE PRIDE