Versailles Fifth Anniversary Single "ROSE"

I have been a Versailles fan since the beginning and I was very happy they were able to accomplish five years of producing very awesome music. Thus, I was all over their fifth anniversary release of the single, "ROSE". I went ahead and put down the money for the limited edition collectors box-- a set that was only going to have 6,666 pieces. The box is about the size of the Holy Grail collectors box. It is covered in a red velvety material with the Versailles seal and title of the single embossed on it. In the lower left corner on the back of the box is your serial number. I am 4,838 out of the 6,666. Inside, you are greeted with the special case housing the CD and DVD and the photobook. The front of the inner case is the same as the regular edition release of the single.

The first half of the photobook contains beautiful full page shots and other photos of the members in their current outfits, along with the lyrics for the songs on the single. The second half of the book is a trip down memory lane as it contains photos from the last five years. You'll get to visually relive everything from "Lyrical Symphony" to "Noble" to "Ascendead Master" up to "Holy Grail".

The single itself is very nice. The title track, "ROSE," sort of reminded me of "God Palace". While not exactly like that, it is a standard Versailles-sounding track with music by Hizaki and lyrics by Kamijo. The second track is "Ayakashi" with music by Masashi and lyrics by Kamijo. Ayakashi is the most traditional Japanese sounding song Versailles has ever produced. Instead of invoking the image of vampires... I imagined oni and vengeful ghosts in a haunted bamboo forest. It is a very heavy sounding song with deep guitar rifts and Masashi's amazing bass work. The last two songs are re-releases from previous albums. The third song is "Love will be born again". This time, the lyrics are in Japanese. At first, it sounded strange because I am so used to hearing the song in English. It was already very touching and sad the first time it was released. However, the Japanese lyrics just make it even more poignant.

The final track of the single is the 2012 version "THE RED CARPET DAY". As one of my favorite songs ever, I was wondering what Versailles was going to do on the re-release. As soon as it starts playing, you will notice the melody is set a few notes lower. The mad organ playing has been toned down and overall, the song feels much heavier and darker. Yuki's drumming is absolutely amazing and so crisp on this release. Masashi's bass work is as intricate and breath-taking as ever. The interlude of the song has also been changed. It starts with a lonesome organ. Then, there is the new guitar rift accompanied by Yuki's mad drum beat which gives that portion a sense of urgency. Finally, it all melts back into the usual instrumental portion. Because the song is set a few notes lower, the signature "The Red Carpet Day" portion is definitely darker and more powerful thanks to deeper and more enhanced background vocals. It a beautiful rearrangement of an already energetic song.

The DVD included with the limited edition includes the history of the band from conception up until now. People who went to A-KON in 2008 will be thrilled to know they made the cut on the DVD. There was also a poignant tribute to Jasmine You. Most notably absent from the history books is Versailles's work on their mini-tv series. The second part of the DVD includes seven songs selected from the Holy Grail Grand Final in February 2012. I have had the pleasure of seeing Versailles perform live twice in my lifetime and I have seen their other live DVDs. However, none of that prepared me from the energetic and powerful performance presented on this DVD. I've never seen Kamijo put so much into a performance. His singing was spot on, the interactions between the band mates, and even the crowd just made it a very enjoyable experience. Hell, I even ended up like two songs I previously didn't care for much thanks to this DVD.

Overall, it was definitely worth it to buy the limited edition. According to CDJapan, the limited edition is now gone and there are very few copies of the regular edition left. I'd snag it while you still can. On the heels of this release, there is both good and bad news to report. In September, Versailles will release their next album. However, that album will be the band's last. By the end of 2012, Versailles will cease all activity to pursue personal activities. While I am disheartened about this, it has been a wonderful and epic five years and I am very happy I was able to participate and experience that which is Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet-. I hope in the near future they'll get back together to provide the world with more of their unique music and visual style.

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