古幽靈 Ancient Spirit
唱片的兩面，可比喻成樂團歷史的分水嶺。A面是重點歌曲《Perfect World》，作為演唱會主題曲，可聽到樂團全盤功力與藝術思維。古幽靈的歌德金屬帶著強烈Lacrimosa色彩，Fraise的嗓子與台灣power metal樂隊六翼天使首任女歌手Pay很相似，其實男聲結他主導、女聲鍵琴作修飾的手法，確會令人聯想到六翼天使早期作品和現場演出的Lacrimosa，作為派台作旋律與編曲具足夠吸引力，好此道者不難投入，也相信能成為樂團宣傳自己、贏取人心的有力工具。
B面兩首相信屬早期創作，同樣無女聲及偏重型，接近本來的背景grunge/alternative甚於gothic。《Metal Money》走芬蘭等北歐地區盛行的灰暗化傳統重金屬路線，縱沒有現在標記性的女性和盛大交響，結他手功架是另一種魅力，《The End》則相反緩慢營造詭秘氛圍，其中張力在專輯中未能完全發揮，但現場時會是各成員盡情遊走噪音臨界的大好機會。
之後推出的大碟按《Perfect World》新古典方向邁進，會是最順其自然的發展。從單曲兩面可見新舊格調迴異，部份舊歌作點新編排有助融入，如《The End》最後的音牆式推進，加入女主音來點花腔式和聲，令氣氛再加陰深之餘，又可切合現在雙主音、新加女聲的歌德金屬演譯陣容，同時應改動一些原來不足或不當之處，像《Metal Money》假使會收錄在大碟中，結尾的零星鼓點一定要刪去，現在只給人demo一般未完成的感覺。另避免不到香港樂隊難克服的語言問題，創作英語歌詞時文筆文法皆有待進步。只要能改善單曲中顯露的瑕疵，器重女主音和鍵琴手這兩大特長，新歌可延續《Perfect World》的水準，首張大碟必會值得期待。
Album: Perfect World
Genre: Gothic Metal
Ancient Spirit were heading to nowhere for just so long in Hong Kong. Beginning as a grunge act, reformed and turned to gothic metal, then joint by a permanent female vocalist, all of these spent them 13 years. Staying this long is already quite an achievement amongst local bands. And such afford was not in vain finally their day had come. In early 2010 the band organized their own headlined concert in a pretty big venue, probably the first of its kind in local band scene. Unintentionally, this gig also became the release party for their first single as well as title song of the concert "Perfect World".
The two sides are like the watershed of Ancient Spirit's musical history. On A-side we have the namesake single showing the real deal and idea of the band. Lacrimosa is probably one of the biggest influences that their trails are pretty conspicuous here. Fraise's voice reminds of Pay, the first singer of Taiwanese power metal band Seraphim. Even from different regions and fields, the three bands are somehow parallel: Ancient Spirit let their heavily distorted guitars lead the way, and female voice and symphonic keyboard take supporting roles. This is nothing too far away from Seraphim did in their early albums, as well as Lacrimosa in concerts, where trading massive symphonic backdrop for guitar-oriented attack is common. "Perfect World" works perfectly as a single and promotional material. Rich melody plus orchestrated arrangement have more than enough appeal to gothic metal lovers and common audience.
It is not a difficult task to figure out the two B-sides are older songs. Both do not feature Fraise's beautiful voice, and with a more metallic edge, closer to their origin grunge/alternative rather than gothic metal. If you are into the type of "contemporary gothic metal", which is basically heavy metal in a more melancholic tone and very popular in Scandinavian countries such as Finland, could get familiar with "Metal Money" shortly. "The End" takes a sharp turn to walk a slower, prowling path in order to disturb and discomfort the ears. It however is restrained in album, but will surely be a good outlet for the band to push cacophonous thresholds further.
Since the band has expanded to a dual-vocalist lineup, a more gothic and neo-classical style sound is clearly the natural progression for the upcoming debut full length. This single already showed the difference between their new and old directions. Certain old songs may fit fine in the new repertoire after rearrangement. Adding coloratura improvisation by Fraise in the final build-up, "The End" will immediately receive a darker aura that also accompany the gothic image the band is carrying well enough. During re-editing certain flaws should also be cut or omitted. Priority is removing the drum beats in the last few seconds of "Metal Money", which in fact should never be there. The song sounds like coming out from unfinished demos or bootlegs instead of a proper official release because of that. There are also something bothering in the lyrics. Language barrier is always present and has yet been overcome by many Hong Kong bands. The writer needs to work harder than what they are doing for more impressive English lyrics.
Undoubtedly "Perfect World" is not without weakness. No matter what it successfully gives the crowd high expectation to the debut coming soon. If the mentioned issues are dealt with, and not holding back their female vocalist and keyboardist the two advantages over a lot other bands, and keeping the standard they set in this single, the debut will not disappoint and worth the wait.