First a little background: In Japan (there are exceptions, such as Tokyo-based steampunk band Strange Artifact), much like is the case with visual kei, steampunk music compiles a wide variety of genres, unified almost solely by their look.

Unlike Western steampunk bands, they don’t have a set gimmick and steampunk lyrics, but use their look to set themselves as part of the movement while playing their own particular musical genre.

One of those artists is Eri Kitamura, the most recent Japanese artist to have discovered steampunk.

Her latest EP, Rinrei, is a revelation. Eri Kitamura has taken the best from J-pop, which her voice is perfect for, and blended it with all the best of melodic and symphonic metal. Most people may frown at that notion, but it is a mix that not only works, it is new, fresh and simply brilliant.

The only negative thing that can be said about it is that there are only six songs on Rinrei and really only three, as the three last ones are versions of the three first ones without vocals.

That said, all are tracks worth listening to and amazing songs in their own right, whether or not they include vocals.

As an added note, “Rin Urara”, the first track on the album, is also the end theme for the anime series Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryu no Rondo.

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