~Merveilles~
MALICE MIZER
98.03.18 Midi:Nette

Track List:
  1. ~de merveilles
  2. Syunikiss ~二度目の哀悼~
  3. Bel Air ヴェル・エール~空白の瞬間の中で~
  4. ILLUMINATI
  5. Brise
  6. Eege ~Sugisarishi Kaze to Tomo Ni~ エーゲ ~過ぎ去りし風と共に~
  7. Au Revoir
  8. Ju Te Veux
  9. S.CONSCIOUS
  10. Le Ciel
  11. Gekka no Yasôkyoku 月下の夜想曲
  12. Bois de Merveilles
Singles (With Videos):
  • Bel Air (97.7.19)
  • Au Revoir (97.12.3)
  • Gekka no Yasôkyoku (98.2.21)
  • ILLUMINANTI (98.5.20)
  • Le Ciel (98.9.30)
Concert Video: Books:

A great album by a great band. This release is quite a varied frenzy of high quality music. If you're searching for some good calming, energetic, quiet, LOUD, soft, beautiful, fierce, composed, disorenting, cheerful, morose, charming, and delightful songs... here's a nice place to start. Out of Malice Mizer's four released albums, Merveilles, though not necessarily the best, is probably the most marketable to new fans. Sort of a "baby's first Malice Mizer album." But it's not a toy. After this album, when Gackt went solo and Kami passed away, a lot of people gave up on the band. Therefore, this is a favorite album of many. However, Malce Mizer's next release, Bara no Seidou is serious competition...

Released only a year and half after their previous album, Voyage ~sans retour, the entire band is back for this album (a rare event for Malice Mizer). Mana continues his beautiful composing, Yu~ki contributes a track, Közi does some pop-work, and Gackt provides a pretty voice and a pretty face all whilst Kami keeps them in rhythm. The beautiful compositions masterfully intertwine violins, cellos, piano, screaming electric guitars, oboe, harp, music box, organ, harpsichords, bells, contrabasses, synth, and one of those whistle thingies that make funny noises. The group goes through baroque classical styles, to all out rock, to pop, to industrial, to whatever else they can get a grip on. Eez good.

Here's a track-by-track run down of the album. I've seen all of the music videos, so I shall include some details on those, too. If I have seen a recording of a live performance, I'll also write about that. All live information comes from the Merveilles l'espace video. It might also be important to know how the live atmosphere is set up. Here's some miserable ASCII for you:

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 |ORCHESTRA     YU~KI  |       |  KAMI       ORCHESTRA|
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   || MANA ||      || -----R-----  ||      || KOZI ||
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The stage is divided into two levels. On the far right and left, there is a string section or whatever instruments the specific song may call for. On the left is the bassist, he stays stationary and is constantly working with some pretty complex basslines. On the right, it is Kami's domain. Drums are set here. Between these two sections is a gap with a large enterance coming to a gothic pointed arch and from there, a stair case leads down to the first stage level. The guitarists Mana and Közi are on the left and right, respectively. Some songs don't call for guitar, so they roam the stage occasionally. (And ride bicycles, flirt with Gackt, etc...) Gackt walks all around whenever he's not suspended by wires... It is an elaborate set and the lighting is amazing. However, it falls a bit short of the next Bara no Seidou tour's cathedral set. Here, along with the bandmembers' appearence, is where we get the "visual" part of Visual Kei. Hooray.

~de merveilles Composed by Mana. Like other albums, the first track isn't technically a "song". It is about a minute in length, and does have some psychology behind it. It is basically a series of noises over a ghastly hum... A heartbeat, running water, a creeking door, birds chirping, a horse galloping, a dog barking, a phone ringing, a clock ticking, thunder, footsteps, a clock striking the hour... It sets a mood. A mood of waiting and of anticipation. Also, it's rather attention gathering. They're all noises that you'd turn your head toward, though you might not even know where they're coming from... It works.

Syunikiss ~二度目の哀悼~ Composed by Yu~Ki, lyrics by Gackt. The real opening track, and it is GOOD. The song begins with some violins doing their thing, and then a tidal wave of ployphonic pleasure hits. The song revolves and around violins, accordian (or a musette or SOMETHING), bells, some back up choral singing, and Gackt's excellent voice. After a breif quiet interlude in the center of the song, the entire band breaks out. Strings melt perfectly with Mana and Közi's guitars. The song hits a nice climax and hurries out. A really great track.

Live: Band in outfits from the "Gekka no Yasôkyoku" video/photoshoot. A bluelight soaked stage illuminates to a brilliant gold and the violins begin. A caped Gackt emerges at the top of a stair case with a mask and the music starts. He removes his mask and the singing commences. Gackt sings himself down the staircase and at the interlude, faces and reaches toward a shining light eminating from the arch, the only activity on stage. The next part rocks, really... Then the stage is drenched in a solid blue light (which is really nifty looking) and the intro riff is played through and Gacks sings the last verse.

Bel Air ヴェル・エール~空白の瞬間の中で~ Composed by Mana, lyrics by Gackt. This song starts out with some nice music box music accompanied by a harp. It is really calming in contrast to what comes next. Two electric guitars break in, leading a fierce melody. There are hardly any played guitar chords, it's all just lead through the chorus, lead through the verses. Very nice work there, and perfectly executed. After a breif interlude featuring the opening music box riff, the guitars snap back into action. Gackts voice really hits a point of beauty in the last verse. The song fades with the guitars, featuring...another guitar!

Music Video: Intro with two lovers in a wide open green field. The woman is unconsious in the man's (Gackt's) arms. The scene washes out and the guitars start up as we are transported into a very bright and beautiful church. Sunlight bursts through the windows onto the alter, which is covered in lit candles. Mana is in a pretty blue dress with long blond hair and a "little miss muffet" hat. I love that guitar he's got. Yu~Ki! I adore his outfit in this video. He's got one of those long pointy moustaches (red hair), a goatee, and is dressed in a bright orange plaid 20s suit, complete with charming hat and white gloves. (For some reason this appeals to me...) Közi is dressed like a clown/magician with a big poofy collar. Gackt has a nice flowing white and gold suit wearing long hair. He is... unusually remarkable pretty in this video. Like more so than regular; and that is a lot. He looks very young, as well. I think it's his teeth. He's got little girl teeth. Hehe. Kami is in a sparkly suit with his regular long hair. As the song fades to the interlude, Yu~Ki picks up a contrabass and discards his electric bass guitar. During the interlude, a sad-looking Mana with a teardrop applied to his face cranks the knob on a music box, while Közi plays the harp. After this, things get freaky. A scene switches to some occult activity for a few seconds, then to a man prepared to duel, and then to Kami in the open field spreading out three playing cards in his hand. Finally, the video fades out on the couple in the field.

ILLUMINATI Composed by Közi, lyrics by Gackt. This song is very industrial. Very electrical. It is completely synthesized, and because of this fact I'm not all to fond of it. Drum machines begin, with an occasional synth organ riff. The only thing I can point out as extraordinary in this song is Gackt's voice in during the chorus. He hits a note that really strikes me as something. At the middle of the song, there's a little synth strings part. It's an outlying track... it's something different.

Music Video: Okay, listen, this thing is insane. I don't think that I can put it into words. I don't think I WANT to. Strobelights and nudity, folks. What I gathered, after recovering from my seizure, is this, though. The entire band is apparently strapped into some mind control chairs, by the Illuminati one would surmise. They're flailing, the music is playing. Then we go into their minds. This is mostly a bad decision. It's sex overkill. You've got your sadomasochism, you've got your bondage, you've got your guys ripping out their lovers throat with their teeth...errr... It seems to be sex, then kill...Sex, then kill...some more sex...and a little more killing. Ah, don't that feel better? The high point of this video is the stupid grin on Gackt's face at the end of the video. It's so cute you could just have sex with him and then kill him.

Live: I'm not too sure on this one. I am positive that I have seen a video of this, but not recently at all. I vaguely remember that it had some bondage theme to it. That is all.

Brise Composed by Közi, lyrics by Gackt. This is such a cute little song! It's what I'd call pop, mostly. It is mostly organ and guitar. The song begins with clean guitar, and then the organ comes in for the intro. Guitar runs through the verses, and the organ catches up a little bit later. Some synth underpins the sound as the song develops. Near the end, there is a drum and bass solo as the song breaks down and then is put back together in a noisy electric guitar fashion. This ditty is just wacky... It uses thoses little cliché electrical sounds occasionally, it is amusing. Cute. This shows how different Post Gackt/Kami Malice Mizer was... Oh, and if you haven't already guessed, the title is French for "breeze". If you HAVE guessed, then you get a free passing grade on your New York State French Regents.

Live: There's a charming live performance to go along with this charming song. Since the song only requires one guitar, Mana is free to roam! (Uh oh.) He flirts with Gackt, and plots with Közi. He also tours the entire stage, visiting Yu~Ki and helping Kami with some chimes and drums. He and Közi prance around a bit. It's cute, really. At one point he runs to center stage and embraces with Gackt. Awwww. At the drum and bass part, the camera focus on Yu~Ki. I like his hair. At the breakdown, we see why you should never let a Mana some freedom! He pops out on a little bike and rides around the stage with Közi. A great performance.

Eege ~Sugisarishi Kaze to Tomo Ni~ エーゲ ~過ぎ去りし風と共に~ Composed by Mana, lyrics by Gackt. This is a nice calm song with flowing clean guitar underpinned by some soft synth. It's a good mood song. But HEY... I've heard this song before, and it DIDN'T sound like this. It was a little more produced with a more obvious second guitar, and Tetsu was singing...with different lyrics. But the same song! I'm confused. I think that version was entitled Eege ~Kai ni Sasagu~. Both were pretty songs, but I prefer Gackt's voice (and lyrics).

Au Revoir Composed by Mana, lyrics by Gackt. Now this is one of the best songs on the album. It starts with panning piano and chimes and moves on to a beautiful elegant violin riff. The song itself is composed mainly of piano through the verses, violin fills, and a chorus with piano, violin, and guitar. Gackt's vocals are soothing as usual, and the violin passes are full of beauty. I would be compelled to say that this is a featured song on the album. A nice one to check out.

Music Video: Another freaky video. It is difficult to desscribe this one, as it is more of a series of images rather than a flowing plot. If you need a translation, the basic idea of the song is "Even if I can't see you, I want to hold you and sleep". It helps to understand the song, so you can understand the video. It begins with autumn leaves uncovering a television. On the TV, there is a jagged clock. The leaves and the wind refer to the lyrics "The falling leaves that touched our shoulders returned to the sky, The screaming wind seems so lovely now." (Okay, so it has more impact when it is in Japanese.) The video then goes up and out of a window, and down a spring park path. Intermittent video clips are seen, of a set table with fruit and creme and of the inside of a living room. (On the wall of one of these rooms is a picture of the mask which Gackt dons in the liver performance of "Syunikiss".) The verse begins and we see Közi in a ruby suit walking all robot-like. His face becomes as a piece of shattered glass, and his body transforms into clock arms... Then we see Yu~Ki in an orange and black outfit (pretty interesting) moving very mechanically around the same room which we started in with the television set. The clock is in this room, too. Then we cut to a ballerina doll in a music box, which is actually Mana. Then a fallen flower which turns into Mana once more... The chorus kicks in and we see Gackt in a bright white shirt in a bright white room singing. The video turns to Közi playing his guitar with a bow, and then to Yu~Ki with his bass and Mana standing pretty with his guitar. Uh oh, here comes a Malice Mizer Motif! Butterflies. Kami wipes his hand over his mouth, each time revealing a new butterfly. This symbol was later used on his memorial box. Sad... After this, another motif! Gackt sings in the white room again, this time holding a snake (which we see more of in Malice Mizer's other work). After this, Gackt sits in a hovering chair in the room of wind and leaves, as his bandmates walk around obliviously and disappear. Then we go backwards on the exact park path that we began the video with, and the leaves recover the television. It makes sense... I swear!

Ju Te Veux Composed by Közi, lyics by Gackt. Another pop song by Közi. I believe the title should be "Je Te Veux" (I want you), since "Ju" just isn't a word. However, it is spelt that way on official Malice Mizer releases and things like that... Nothing too special here. Electric music. It can get complex for the kind of song that it is, but it just doesn't tickle my fancy at all. Nope, it doesn't do anything for me. It certainly shows some more variety, though.

S.CONSCIOUS Composed by Mana, lyrics by Gackt. Another electrical/industrial song of sorts. I'm sorry, but I just can't get into songs like these. So they may not get a very good description from me. The song is Gackt trying to speak English (in that typical "A PIZZA ALREADY, STEP ON GAS!" J-Pop style) over completely synthesized music.

Le Ciel Composed by Gackt, lyrics by Gackt. Ahhh. This feels so much better! The first song which Gackt composed that was released by Malice Mizer. This is only a prelude to the amazing things he would accomplish in his solo career. The song begins with a fluttering piano playing over a strings pad. Közi's clean delay guitar comes in and provides a beautiful base upon which the song stands. Piano plays smooth two-octave arpeggios and Mana provides a haunting faint wailing of his electric guitar. Oboe enters the scene and begins a beautiful riff. Gackt's voice is beautiful and calming, as warm strings play during the verse. This song can't really be put into words, so I shant try. It can sound like a nice song, but it is actually very sad. Gackt demonstrates this fact very well live. This has got to be one of my favorites. I don't know, it actually makes me teary now.


SORA
"Ciel" means "sky" in French, but can also mean "heaven" if you're going for depth. This is also another motif for Gakct's Malice Mizer. Look here:

  • In Brise, he sings "You come closer to this sky and dance with me."
  • In Syunikiss, he sings "You stare at the sky with your cold eyes, As if you know where to return". Here, he also pleads with the "master of the skies"...
  • In Bel Air, he sings "Trembling... Let your body come close to the sky..."
  • In Claire (off of Voyage ~sans retour), he sings "The night across my eyelids covers me and takes me to the sky".
  • In Primier Amour ("First Love" off of Voyage ~sans retour), he sings "You went away, Now I am still covering you in the sky".
  • In Tsuioku no Kakera ("A Piece of Broken Recollection" off of Voyage ~sans retour) he sings:
    No one can stop it... You begin to fall
    No one can stop it... Fall into the sky
    No one can stop it... I begin to fall with you
  • In Oasis (a Gackt solo song, does that count?), he sings "Blow, wind, lead me to the sky, before I loose you."
  • Many many other songs refer to the "limitless sky" and "looking toward the sky".
I am compelled to think that Gackt has some profound understanding of the "sky". Either the man just LIKES the sky, or he is going for something divine. I, personally, have no idea. But it is a neat consistancy. Geeze! I've spake too much about the sky here. Uh... here's some more lyrics from "Le Ciel":
I'll never forget you
Hold me tighter until I return to the sky
Your voice won't let me go
Hold me tighter so I won't disappear...

Music Video: This video is nifty. It is one of Malice Mizer's "movie" videos, as it relates a story in hand with the song. The music in the video isn't the same as the music on the album. It is less cluttered, and at some points more beautiful. It features the band in a drab colorless postapocalyptic world, with bright white clothes and instruments. They are angels. Powerless angels.

A dirty little blond western girl (about ten years old) walks through a destroyed city. Everything is in ruin, much is on fire. She looks around, sad and confused. Gackt, as a white angel, begins to sing smoothly. He has long white nails, and a long white gown. The girl collapses and continues to go through the wreckage. We meet Mana in all white with blue hair, playing the harp and Közi, in all white, playing a stringed instrument on his lap. The song picks up and we are transported to a field, with Gackt holding the unconscious girl in his arms. We then see Yu~Ki playing oboe, and Kami standing around. The girl continues to walk through the ruin and the angel Gackt walks about, brooding and powerless. Violin makes an unexpected entry into this song (it was lacking in the album version) and the girl is now conscious in the field. She looks into her hands and sees the stigmata. (Remember this, now.) She then sees, in a vision, what were her old friends. She sees herself and a past playmate, and she does not look too cheerful in the vision at all. The girl realizes that while she could have been enjoying life, she wasted it, and now there is no renewall... Tears form in her eyes. Gackt sings in the field and the girl continues to walk past the apparitions of Malice Mizer. We then see her FROLICING (GOOD GOD!) in the field, all happy. Then she sees herself happy and becomes concerned. Her second self walks towards Gackt, takes his hand and smiles. The original girl appears sad. Her second self disappears with Gackt... Meanwhile, she is still standing there in the ruin. We pan across the band to angel Gackt. He is sitting there powerless. He cannot help her...

Live: Wow. Gackt sure makes a production out of this one. If you hadn't noticed the sadness in this song, then you will if you see how he pulls this off live. He is an angel, like in the music video. Unlike in the video, however, he is in all black. Long black nails, black angel's wings, black everything. Also, HE is the one suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually. Kami starts up the music and Gackt decends to the stage, suspended by wires. His mouth looks as if it is bleeding, but upon further inspection, the source of the blood is his hands (you remember the stigmata from the PV, eh?). The rest of the band is dressed in winged costumes. Kami, Mana, and Közi like butterflies (there go your butterflies, again.) Yu~Ki is dressed like a really neat winged demon with horns. I like. When Gackt is not singing, he is staring remorsefully at his bloodstained hands or looking up with sad questioning eyes (toward the SKY, mind you). "Why is this happening to me?" With his last words, he reaches his hand out and stumbles back...

Gekka no Yasôkyoku 月下の夜想曲 Composed by Közi, lyrics by Gackt. Ahah. This is the first Malice Mizer song that I ever heard. Actually, I saw the video to it. And let me tell you, it FREAKED ME OUT somethin' good. But enough about me... I just crave attention.

Look! Közi CAN compose well! This is a great catchy song. It contains some nice organ, strings, doublebass, and, of course, harpsichord. It was good enough to be a single, and I'm quite fond of it as it was my first and all... The song itself is about two dolls that the narrator finds in an old cottage. Despite its upbeat tune, it is actually a rather sad song.

It's a beautiful night...

It's a beautiful night...Because it's a sad night, I'll smile and guide you
It's a lonely night... Because it's the last night, I'll never get rid of you two

I will never forget...

I will never forget about both of you...
Music Video: This is a pretty odd video to go along with an odd song. First of all, Gekka no Yasôkyoku is the Japanese name for the Castlevania game Symphony of the Night. Gackt is aware of this, and dons an Alucard costume for this video. The basic gist is that Alucard Gackt controls the two dolls (being Mana and Közi) as marionettes while Kami watches Yu~Ki decompose in an easy chair. You'd have to see it to properly not be able to understand it, really...

Live: I saw this a long time ago... The only notable thing I remember is that Yu~Ki used a contrabass to play this song.

Bois de Merveilles Composed by Malice Mizer, lyrics by Gackt. This is a very nice, very simple ending track. It is made of orchestrial drums, extensive strings, harp, and contrabass. Very classical, very beautiful. In French, the title means "Wood of Wonders" (wood as in a forest, but bois also means simply "wood"). In the song, Gackt appeals the the forest sprites (the faeries which will become quiet) to pardon himself and his crimes. A perfect finish


Yes, indeed, I would say that these guys were better than any three American bands duct taped together. They had something going for them. I would certainly recommend this album to anyone who is open to something new. (For example, paying $50 for an import CD.) Be aware, though, there are tons of knockoff lables that will sell you junk. In general, stay away from anything with "Anime" in the title... The only authorized publishers of Malice Mizer material are Midi:Nette (meaning "Clear Afternoon" in French) and Columbia Japan. Have a nice day.

Thank yoooooooooooou to:
The Secret World of Malice Mizer, for enlightening me. http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Studios/3507/
Sawasdee Gackt, for thier loverly translations, making me not too much of an ignorant Merkin. http://ca.geocities.com/juggajun/


Until you forgive me... I'll continue to sing

Until my voice is gone ~Bois De Merveilles