Sound Horizon

6th Story: Moira

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Taking the concept of program music to its modern endpoint, Sound Horizon's Moira encapsulates a lengthy story musically, complete with sound effects, mood music, and multilingual narration. The music is fantastic, in the literal sense of the word, full of fantasy elements. There are interludes of sinister narrations, followed by European chorus portions that mix chanting with nearly angelic elements. There are portions of overwhelming techno and thrashing drums that recall work from theme-based groups like Ali Project. There are soft portions of simple dialogue, eschewing all music temporarily. The story isn't necessarily easy to follow for a listener without a handle on the Japanese language, but the music still points the way through dramatic, grandiose portions and relieved, classical portions. With the manic mix of styles, of moods, of energy and tempo levels, the album never gets tired, never gets boring. From Spanish-esque vocal rondos to menacing circus acts, there's always movement, always action happening. The sheer commitment for the listener to keep up is a daunting one with Sound Horizon, but there are benefits if the listener can indeed stay in with the album.