By the time of this writing, I must have listened to KNIFE quite a few times. It is, in fact, still playing in the background. However, the impression I got during the first listen haven’t changed. KNIFE, in comparison to other exist trace releases, is just BLAH.
What drew me to this band in the first place is attitude – exist trace just brims with it and it translates to their songs. But that said attitude is somehow lacking in KNIFE. And despite being christened as such, there is nothing cutting-edge at all with this song. Sure it has its moments (I particularly like the bass) but overall, the track felt disjointed and uninspired. KNIFE’s weakness would even be highlighted when the band’s previous hits come to mind. In my opinion, exist trace’s best songs are: JUDEA, water, Orleans no shoujo and RESONANCE. These songs are without a doubt ferocious, like a wild feline. KNIFE, in comparison, sounds like a domesticated cat. The claws are still there but they’re now buried in fluff.
The saving grace for this maxi-single is its B-side, Mirror. Again, it’s the bass that makes the track noteworthy. Mirror is a slow song that soars at just the right moments. It pretty much maintains the steady beat it employed in the intro but the bass and drum combo makes one hard-hitting sound that tends to linger even if the song has already finished. Mirror also better showcases Jyou’s stronger vocals. From the softly hummed first verse to the roaring chorus, Jyou is at her finest. You can actually hear her sigh in most parts and this effectively blends with the mood of the song.
The third track in this release is liquid (2010 vo. retake ver.). As the name implies, it is a retake of a track from the band’s 2008 album, Recreation Eve. Of this song, I have only 3 things to say: (1) the intro still sounds VERY MUCH like D’espairsRay’s Born, (2) the new ending had Jyou sounding like Amy Lee in Evanescence’s Weight of the World and finally, (3) they should have just left the original alone.