Art Of Life

X-Japan - Art Of Life ©1993 MMG
1. Art Of Life

For a band whose fate was tragically sealed with the bizarre suicide of guitarist Hide, the reality behind Art of Life is one of those cruel ironies that both elevates a work to higher levels of ingenuity, while making it painfully more difficult to endure. The 30 minute "Art of Life" single is either an over-wrought musical melodrama, or a flawless power-prog exercise in excellence, depending on your perspective. For me, that Stratovarius-like tendency for affecting, emotional vocal melodies cannot be ignored, an ability that has always seemingly come with ease for this oft-ignored band. Traces of thrash for sure, but X characterize prog-metal at it's best, like if an unfromaged Dream Theater decided to pen songs as opposed to riff collages, or Mindcrime era Queensryche with a more soaring, songful edge. Western prog fans unfamiliar with these guys would do well in seeking them out.

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 12/1998

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