Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ophelia's Opinion: The Decline of exist†trace

For me, exist†trace started out as a decent female rock group. They were far from perfect in the beginning. Each woman was talented in her area, but there was a lack of polish to the group as a whole. What else would one expect of a new band? Obviously, they're not going to start off with everything in place for instant success. They're going to struggle and grow with each release instead.

It was Jyou's voice that stood out for me. She had strong, clear vocals even when she wasn't screaming or growling. Most female rock musicians seem to think that they have to sound masculine in order to stand up to their male counterparts. I don't think Jyou ever truly got sucked into that ideal. The band seemed solid with quite a future ahead of them.

I was excited to see more of them when singles like True and The Last Daybreak came out. This was what I wanted to hear from them. They were strong songs that showcased these talented women in the right ways. The growling and screaming had been brought to a minimum which was perfectly fine with me. Jyou's vocals are much better when she's not putting stress on her voice.
Then the band took a break from releasing after The Last Daybreak. Their next release was the album Virgin. I was excited to hear that they were releasing something new. That was...until I saw the pv for Ginger. It was a huge disappointment. The problem wasn't that the band had changed their musical style. It was simply that Miko's voice grates on my nerves. I liked exist†trace for Jyou's strong vocals, not the squeaky sound of Miko's voice. It's vocals like Miko's that prevent me from really getting into the majority of pop music.
I was hoping that this was just a temporary thing. The dual vocals just don't work in my opinion. I used to listen to exist†trace a lot. With the release of Diamond, I simply don't anymore. If I happen to listen to anything by them, it's always pre-Virgin. We all have a point where we simply outgrow bands. This is different though. If they hadn't added Miko on vocals, I'd still be one of the fans waiting for their every release.
I've heard the arguments about this. 'Miko is their lead guitarist. She writes all their music so they have to let her sing.' That's simply not true. Yes, she may be their main writer, but there is no reason in the world that they are required to allow her to do anything. They still have a very capable vocalist. There's absolutely no need for Miko to step up and sing anything at all aside from backing vocals. She's simply not a good singer. Sure, she wants to express herself more as an artist. Why can't she just do a solo project like normal artists? It feels like to me, Miko has gotten a swollen ego. She's even standing in front of Jyou in the promo photos for the band. From the interview with the band where they talk about this, it seemed as if Jyou wasn't consulted on Miko's decision to a vocalist for the group. She stated that she was a little confused when she heard the news. That doesn't scream that it was a mutual decision for the whole group.
Whatever happened, exist†trace has lost something important for me with the addition of Miko on vocals. I'd much rather she step back, close her mouth and play her guitar. Her vocals are terrible on recording and terrible live. I could barely get through one minute of Kuchibiru from their new single. What's happening to this band? I can't be the only former fan who's disappointed by the way things have gone with their new direction. What are your thoughts?

If you like what you read, drop us a comment or an email to let us know your thoughts. You can reach me at and Miko at We're both available if you'd like to request a review of music, movies or anime.

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