South Korean visual kei rock band VOID (보이드) is back with a new album and a new vocalist NIA! Composed of four members–vocalist NIA, guitarist J.Robyn, bassist Bi Suhyun, and drummer Shin–VOID released a full remastered album on May 13, 2021. The band made the executive decision to release the remastered album with NIA’s vocals to reset the stage in preparation for their plans for a concert. Titled ‘VOID’, the album comprises nine of the band’s best songs ranging from pop-rock to heavy rock without dipping into death-metal. The three title tracks “Move On,” “Polaris,” and “Damhong” showcase VOID’s diverse skill set and musical versatility.
The album starts with an upbeat hopeful track “Planetarium” to set the mood, and is this writer’s favorite. A pop-rock piece that starts with a delicate piano intro, it speaks of hopes and dreams, saying that it is “okay to fall,” and that they’ll “fly once again.”
Next, “Heresy Poem” starts with operatic background vocals and is reminiscent of European symphonic power rock. Placed in contrast to the strong drums, the bridge highlighting the vocals with minimal instruments is particularly beautiful. NIA’s voice is exceptional in conveying yearning throughout the piece.
“Last Romancer” is a strong contender for all-around best song. From the catchy intro beats to the brilliant pre-choruses to the powerful chorus, this is a must-listen for fans of the rock genre. Though the music itself sounds confidently buoyant, the lyrics contradict the decisive singing and lyrics about missing a lost love.
The next three songs in the album–“Dive To Black,” “Move on,” and “Impassive Chronicle“–belong to a trilogy portraying “a boy’s journey through the world of the unknown.” “Dive to Black” tells of his arrival in a world where “death prevails, a world where everything is lifeless.” The lyrics were carefully chosen and written to show “different views and values towards death for diverse religions,” as bassist Suhyun explains.
The protagonist then escapes to a new world in “Move on,” but arrives at a world “that is crumbling to pieces.” The song manages to create a sense of urgency with its fast-paced drums and guitars, as if running from the collapsing surroundings. Starting with a slower beat, it speeds up suddenly partway and continues on its fast beat chorus for the rest of the song, representing the initial arrival and continuing with the escape. “Move on” is also mostly in English, as the band wanted to acknowledge and show appreciation to their English-speaking fans.
The last song “Impassive Chronicle” represents the third world that the protagonist escapes to: a world where “everything is static.” As Suhyun explains, “the repeated riffs in the song represent the motionless loop of a stationary world.” In addition, the longer, sustained notes and solo guitar strings echoing alone highlights the feel of suspension.
In the next track “Polaris,” NIA demonstrates his ability to express both farewell and longing with his smooth vocals, which are a perfect fit for this particular track. “Polaris” is an emotive song with a slight rock ballad feel. VOID hopes to show a different side with this softer easy rock track.
“Dead End Diver” is an upbeat piece that starts on a major chord, in contrast to the minor chord often employed. However, it still manages to have a sound often found in mainstream pop-rock.
Lastly, we come to “Damhong,” a chill, softer ballad that wraps up an exciting album. With melancholy lyrics, “Damhong” tells of a difficult and lonely journey, ending with a spark of hope at the end of the rainbow as tomorrow arrives. Though VOID is a visual kei rock band, they are steadfast musicians who not only maintain a touch of their rock roots, but diversify into other areas.
Overall, this album had a good variety of songs. Congruent with the rock genre, it stays mostly pop-rock with some experimental deviations. It does not have a strong emphasis on death metal or screamo elements characteristic of some visual kei bands, which makes it more palatable to mainstream general populace. As a fan of this type of rock, this album has found a place on this writer’s playlists.
Stream their remastered album, below!