At the risk of ruining any "metal cred" I have with you readers, one of my guilty pleasures is female-fronted Japanese power metal. I’ve covered more than a few of these in the past, but one band I keep coming back to is Aldious. Seventeen months after their last album, the quintet is back with Unlimited Diffusion.
Right off the bat, Aldious opens Unlimited Diffusion with some DragonForce-esque riffs on Utopia. Of course, once the vocals begin, you know you’re in familiar territory. Re:NO’s smooth crooning over the power metal riffs is emotive and soulful, but doesn’t come across as cheesy.
The next two songs, Lose Control and Without You (no, not that one), slow things down a bit. The former has a very groove feeling to it, while the latter is insanely catchy and obviously intended for audience participation at concerts.
The fourth track, Dilemma has a unique, bass-heavy rhythm with a plethora of breakdowns toward the end of the song. It might be my high point of the album. Moving on and keeping with the DragonForce comparison from earlier, 梅華 (Baika) feels a lot like Seasons (from The Power Within). While the DragonForce tune is more of a ballad, Aldious’s take involves a much heavier overall riff.
Don’t fret, however, because the album gets pretty ballad-heavy for the next several tracks, and your mileage here is going to vary depending on your tolerance. Fortunately, things pick up again toward the end of the album with Go Away (another album highlight) and In This World.
All things said, I don’t have any complaints about Unlimited Diffusion and quite enjoy it. Sure, it has a lot of the trappings indicative of this style, and perhaps Aldious aren’t the greatest songwriters, but everything here is overall solid and in keeping with what folks expect from this type of music.
While I maintain Yōsei Teikoku is still my favorite band in this genre, Aldious comes in a very close second. If the former is "too goth" for you, then Unlimited Diffusion might offer a more straightforward metal option.