Hello MikuDB! Today, I’ll be reviewing another album that I’ve been waiting quite some time to listen to. It was only available in physical form for a while, but the artist recently made a digital version available, so I bought it up! I’ve been excited for this album because I really love the producer, annyahoo (AKA あんやほ), so this review doubles as an artist recommendation. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Megami no Akuma Suuhai (女神の悪魔崇拝) by annyahoo is a thrash metal album using the Utauloid Hakaine Maiko (flower and Miku are also credited as chorus vocalists, but I can only identify one song with them). This is probably one of the most metal Vocaloid/Utauloid albums I have come across. As you may or may not know, much of what the Vocaloid community considers metal may not pass for metal in some of the broader metal community. The heavy use of electronics, pop vocals, and soft choruses by artists like Yuyoyuppe and OkameP would place some of their work more in the range of metal fusion or alternative metal, and their style might even be considered punk or hardcore. In no way am I trying to discredit these artists. I really enjoy their music, and not all of their songs are as I just described, but the point I’m trying to make is that metaloid uses different standards than mainstream metal, and straight metal is more difficult to find in Vocaloid music. There are certainly individual songs scattered in some artists’ albums and NND lists that fit the bill, but full albums of heavy metal are hard to come by.
That is why I love this album (and annyahoo for that matter). Megami no Akuma Suuhai is undoubtably thrash metal. It is filled with fast-paced drumming, heavy riffs, ear-splitting solos, and Maiko’s harsh, angry voice. Most of the songs are very short and speedy with atypical song structures, save a few slower songs that focus on a riff. Like myself, annyahoo is a fan of the quintessential thrash metal band Slayer, and the influence he takes from them is clear in this album. Some of the riffs sound like they could fit right into a Slayer song, and annyahoo’s fast, chaotic guitar solos definitely take after the band.
Of course, if you hate thrash metal or metal in general, you will not like this album. There’s not really much more I can say on that.
The metal-ness of this album lies not solely in the music, but also its general aesthetic. As you can see from the image at the top of this review, the spookiness of the album art has been notched up. To be more serious, I find that the dark, messy, deformed image evokes the feel of a metal album and its dark themes. Although none of the album is in English, you can still tell from rough Google translations that the titles and lyrics of the album go with the heavy metal aesthetic. The album and first song title, Megami no Akuma Suuhai, translates into something like “Devil Worship of the Goddess”, while a quick look at the lyrics hints at themes centering around strange cults, grotesque surgery, and other generally evil-sounding things like blowing up frogs with firecrackers. I understand that not all metal music uses freakish imagery and horrid themes, but they are undeniably tied to the culture of extreme metal.
Now we come to what I believe will be the biggest point of contention for those who are still interested in listening to this album: the sound quality (distinct from the performance of the instrumentation). To put it bluntly, it’s not very good. The whole album is lo-fi, but I think the main problem is the mixing. The vocals tend to stay a consistently good volume, but I think the drums are commonly too quiet, and the guitars vary in loudness. Generally, I believe the album gets better sound quality as the songs progress, but even that is not really a good thing, as it means that the mixing is inconsistent. I’ll remind you that I downloaded the album right from the artists’ Booth page, so this is how it comes. Audiophiles may have trouble with this one.
Personally, I don’t really mind too much. Sound quality is not a major issue for me, as long as I can hear everything well enough. I also like to think that it gives the album an underground, raw feel. This may just be my silly justification because I like the music so much, but the producer has released many songs and an EP with higher production quality in the past, so I wonder why there was a drop for this album. It’s possible that he left it like this intentionally for effect, but I don’t know.
Although the production quality is lo-fi, the actual performance of the music is great. The guitar sound is on point for the style. I can’t be certain if the drums are programed or not, but the snare makes it sound like they might be. Even so, they’re well done for programed drums. I’ve complained about harsh vocals from Vocaloids in the past (applies to Utaus as well), but Hakaine Maiko was made precisely for the growling and screaming in these songs, and annyahoo uses her to good effect.
I’ve already said this, but I love this album. I got into Vocaloid by listening to Vocaloid metal like UtsuP, XenonP, and Caz. When I began listening to annyahoo, his library of songs were of an assortment of genres, and I enjoyed them all, but I was very hopeful that he would make more metal. He released an excellent thrash metal EP called 延命人間 e.p., and then this album, which I could only get recently. He also has another album called APOCALYPSE, which is mostly metal, but is blended with some other genres.
If you love metal, especially thrash, I would recommend giving all of his albums a try, and perhaps also go through his NND list if you want more. All of his albums can be purchased from his Booth. I don’t believe there is any way to stream the full albums, but crossfades are on Booth as well, and a few of the songs can be streamed on NND or YouTube (just follow VocaDB links).
Thank you for reading! Please feel free to share you opinions and recommendations!