Versailles - Noble
Sherow Artist Society
Symphonic, Neoclassical Power Metal With Various Other Influences
12 songs (57:22)
Release year: 2008
Versailles Myspace,
Reviewed by Kyle
Archive review

When you really love a band, it can be frustrating when said band is classified into a genre that’s really not suitable for them. Sometimes, it’s out of pure ignorance; some of us have probably heard Death Metal called “Screamo” by people who are oblivious to what metal really is, and what differentiates metal from screamo. Other times, a band can have the potential to be categorized into one of several different styles, and ultimately fall into the one that is least suitable for them. That’s exactly what happened to Power Metal band Versailles, who, due to their outrageous, gender-defying costumes, have become more well known in the Visual Kei scene than as an original, genre-transcending Power Metal band. It’s a shame, really; Noble, Versailles’ first full length, will most likely stay relatively unknown amongst the PM community, barring it from the future classic status that it could have very possibly earned.

Versailles play highly symphonic, romantic Power Metal that is heavy on neoclassical melodies. Noble is apparently a concept album that’s part one in a story that involves vampires (Entitled Vampire's Chronicle), which may not seem original after Heavenly beat them to the punch with their record Dust To Dust. This is one part of Noble that I can overlook however, as nearly all the lyrics are in Japanese. I may not know the story that this album follows, but the tale that is told through the excellent and diverse songs is more than enough for me. Here, we’re treated to a few melodic Power Metal songs (Aristocrat’s Symphony, After Cloudia, The Revenant Choir), some songs that are very Japanese in flavor (Antique In The Future, Windress, Suzerain), and even a handful of aggressive, thrashy tracks that are better described as Melodeath than Power Metal (Second Fear – Another Descendant, To The Chaos Inside).

Individually, all the tracks are great, and each one is very different from the last. Noble opens with a symphonic Prelude, which sets the tone of the album just right, but in no way prepares you for what’s about to hit you. Aristocrat’s Symphony, the first proper track, attacks you at full force, right away showcasing Versailles’ symphonic elements with a heavily orchestrated intro, punctuated by electric guitars. This gives way to an orchestrated, neoclassical melody that’s absolutely breathtaking, before that stops and the tracks explodes into full-on Power Metal, the neoclassical melody now being played by harmonized lead guitars. This same melody is later mirrored by the chorus, which does a fantastic job of showing off Kamijo’s low, beautiful voice. All other kinds of wonderful melodies and solos await you throughout the song, which is easily one of the best on Noble, but all of the songs are so densely packed and multilayered that it would be very easy to write a long paragraph (Hell, even an entire page) about each and every song.

Other highlights include Antique In The Future, with its staccato power-chord riffs reminding me of other Japanese bands like X Japan; Zombie, with its atmospheric, cheesy-horror movie-esque use of synths and heavy riffing that teeter between Thrash and Nu-Metal; The Revenant Choir, with its great chorus that is intertwined wonderfully with the bridge near the end of the song; and History Of The Other Side, which brings all of the best elements of the album together into one glorious nine minute-plus song that sums up the record quite nicely. This would’ve been the PERFECT closing to Noble, but Versailles instead decided to close it out with Episode, a simple piano ballad that, while great and quite sorrowful sounding, forces the record to close not with a bang, but a whimper.

Other than the pitiful closing, you would be very hard-pressed to find flaw with Versailles’ unique concoction of Power Metal. This is not only fantastic metal, this is fantastic MUSIC, and Noble is one of the best debut albums to ever grace my ears. I discovered it about a month ago, and havn’t stopped listening to it since. Unfortunately, shortly after I stumbled upon Versailles, their bassist, Jasmine You, died of medical complications; the details of his death haven’t been released at the time this review is written. The band had been in the final stages of recording their sophomore album; ironically, at the time of his passing, the bass tracks were being recorded. The album was originally intended for release on September 16th, 2009, but now it has been delayed because of Jasmine’s death. I hope that it’s not too long of a wait, as I’m very eager to hear what new material Versailles has in store for us. Rest in peace, Jasmine You.

Killing Songs :
Kyle quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Versailles that we have reviewed:
Versailles - Jubilee reviewed by Kyle and quoted 87 / 100
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