× The Beach Boys The Beatles David Bowie BUCK-TICK The Cure Fleetwood Mac HYDE Janne Da Arc Laputa L'Arc~en~Ciel LUNA SEA MALICE MIZER MUSE The Police Porno Graffitti Rayflower S.O.A.P. Sting SURFACE TETSU69 Brian Wilson X (JAPAN) ZIGZO


There was a period of time, shortly after I discovered LUNA SEA, that I considered them my favorite band. They debuted a few years before Laruku, and had a definitely harder sound, but shared that sense of rock music with pop melody. Therefore, they seemed to rival each other for my top spot. As time went on, of course, L'Arc~en~Ciel won my heart, but LUNA SEA remains a staple in my music players. I particularly prefer their earlier sound, which had a VERY hard, aggressive, and fast style to it, yet in a distinctly unique and musical way. But I also enjoy their progression into more mainstream rock in the later albums, as well.

Album Reviews

LUNA SEA comes right out with all guns blazing. They had honed their game in the indies scene for several years before recording this album, and so they took their best material and put it to tape. The name of the game is fast. Every song just rips right along with aggressive guitar solos, furious drums, and a careful mix of sung and screamed vocals. There are a few quieter moments, SANDY TIME and MOON, both of which are great, but this album ends up clocking in under just 30 minutes. It's fast. CHESS, my favorite on this album, is a great example of LUNA SEA's early sound: it's the most intense song on the record, both in terms of BPM and the fervor of the vocal melody, and it highlights how they could craft these really insane parts into something that without a doubt resembles a melodic song. By the way, the remaster that adds the bass back in is really nice, and the 2014 re-recording of the whole album of the band is really interesting too, although some of the ferociousness is lost. This may very well be my favorite LUNA SEA album. Nothing else really quite measures up to the quality and passion of this one.

Best tracks:

IMAGE, LUNA SEA's major debut, still digs into a lot of LUNA SEA's earlier material. SEARCH FOR REASON, a great, twisted song that thunders along for 7 minutes, is more or less unchanged from their early demos. As a result, some of the songs aren't quite as great as on the last album. MECHANICAL DANCE feels like it didn't make the cut for their indies debut because they wanted to put their best onto it, but felt like including it here. The overall BPM of this album is much slower, but that's OK. The songs grow more atmospheric and moody, which LUNA SEA really excels at. VAMPIRE'S TALK is a great example; it is mostly slow and quiet, but builds up to dramatic moments expertly. If I may say so, Dejavu, a fast tune but with great pop hooks, really perfects LUNA SEA's style, and is the first song that comes to mind when I think of them. It may not be quite the same experience as their debut album, but it's still powerful.

Best tracks:
1. Dejavu

I don't think LUNA SEA knew quite where to go next. They'd achieved quite a bit of fame, but their pool of material had basically dried up. EDEN takes their sound in a new direction: it is much slower, atmospheric, and on many tracks, rather pop. The two singles, BELIEVE and IN MY DREAM, are quite radio friendly and insanely catchy. There's a few rockers, namely JESUS (excellent) and ANUBIS (OK), but most of the rest are on the slower side. LASTLY is a great song from their indies days. It's not particularly slow, but it's definitely not a rocker, and it creates a great mood, which is something LUNA SEA excels at. RECALL is a ballad featuring acoustic guitar, and it's nice but not great. This sort of peaceful mood is what I think of when I think of this album.

Best tracks:

Whereas I feel EDEN suffered from a lack of direction, MOTHER remedies that and produces 10 excellent new songs. LUNA SEA drops most of their former sound and produces dark, gritty, alternative rock with a bit of an industrial edge. In spite of a new, updated sound, unsurprisingly the best points of LUNA SEA are still there: fast, intense rock songs, although not quite as insane as some of their earlier music, and also slower, moodier songs. The 8-minute epic, GENESIS OF MIND, is an excellent sample that captures both. My favorite is the title track, however. What other band could produce this kind of ballad? It is a slow tune in 6/8 time, but it is not a love song. Rather, it is a song of crying for help, of desperation, and LUNA SEA adorns it with their moodiest and best arrangement. As an album, MOTHER is the pinnacle of LUNA SEA's new stylistic direction.

Best tracks:
3. GENESIS OF MIND ~yume no kanata e~

STYLE mostly continues the trend set by its predecessor. It's still pretty dark and moody, and slower than their older material. Song-for-song, it comes very close to MOTHER, but I think it falls a bit short in truly classic material. IN SILENCE and DESIRE are great songs, but they don't have quite the same place in LUNA SEA's discography as MOTHER and ROSIER. STYLE ends up being a nice addition to the LUNA SEA repertoire, but it doesn't hold quite the same special place as some of their former albums.

Best tracks:
3. RA-SE-N

Let's ignore the excellent a-sides on the first side of this disc. The rating is actually for the b-sides. Though only 7 songs, they are really that good. As you have probably determined, I am a big fan of LUNA SEA's slower, moodier songs, and they tend to end up as b-sides. Claustrophobia, FALLOUT, TWICE, and Ray all fit that description, and they are all excellent songs. But there's some variety. SLAVE is a fast rocker which would have been a fine addition to EDEN and has become the name for LUNA SEA's fans. RAIN is in minor key, but a little catchier and poppier than the others, and still great. LUV U is similar and similarly great. These are essential tracks and LUNA SEA fans should be sure not to miss this disc.

Best tracks:
1. Ray

This is, without a doubt, the worst LUNA SEA album. Yeah I know, it's their biggest seller by far. But that was because it was their big comeback album. Frankly, it is boring compared with any of their other albums. It is directionless and flavorless. The band mostly produced boring radio friendly rock across all tracks. OK, I've been very harsh so far. Most of the songs, taken individually, are pretty good. It's just that a whole album of this, given what LUNA SEA is capable of, is really dull. The slower, moodier stuff is almost completely gone: NO PAIN and ANOTHER are the only ones that come close, and they're some of the better songs on the album. The fast rockers are limited to UNLIKELIHOOD, which is terrible. Most of the rest blends together into this forgettable mush until you get to BREATHE, a nice, slow ballad with a beautiful melody and gentle instrumentals. I feel that the praise this album gets only comes from those who haven't really experienced LUNA SEA's other offerings.

Best tracks:
1. Time Has Come

LUNACY is the sound of a band breaking up. All the members are pulling in different directions. INORAN is introducing hip hop elements, J is going to a straight punk rock style, SUGIZO continues to do what he does. The album jumps from style to style rather abruptly, so it can make for a jarring listen. However, most of these songs are quite good, some great. We are treated to a classic, high BPM song with Be Awake, although it's kind of strangely upbeat and optimistic. We also get a nice, moody long song, Virgin Mary. Most of the rest is more radio friendly rock, but with more interesting arrangements than anything on SHINE. It's a good, if not scattered album, and an interesting way for the band to bow out.

Best tracks:
2. Sweetest Coma Again
3. white out

After the great b-sides from the first half of their career, what about this set? Not so great. Just as the quality of the albums themselves declined, so too did the b-sides. There are some slower, moodier songs, but the only one that really hits the mark is kono sekai no hate de. WITH ends up kind of boring and long. The other songs sound more or less like the tracks from their respective singles' albums. Unlike the b-sides from SINGLES I, they do sound kind of like rejects from the album. They're OK at best, boring at worst. My Lover is my personal favorite, although it's the sort of fast rock from LUNACY, and your mileage may vary.

Best tracks:
1. My Lover
3. kono sekai no hate de

Top 10 Songs

  1. Dejavu
  4. CHESS
  6. Ray
  10. ROSIER