Okay folks, here it is. The “rare” album from Silver Forest, EXTRA BITTER II.

EXTRA BITTER II

So, what’s the deal with this album?
Well, some internet folks and Silver Forest fans were trying to get their hands on this limited edition CD which was only distributed at 500 Yen during Reitaisai 8 (2011). To further complicate their cause, it was assumed that all were sold out during the event, and according to Silver Forest, there would be no resale.

Silver Forest’s announcement of EXTRA BITTER II. The last statement’s the one says the album’s a limited edition.

 

Screenshot from a torrent site. That rumor is quite far from the truth.

Who or what is Silver Forest?

Silver Forest is a vocal arrange group which produces Touhou fan music, with Kero ⑨ Destiny(nico: ケロ ⑨ destinyas one of its notable songs. The dōjin circle disbanded on May 31, 2012, when one its singers, さゆり (Sayuri), was in poor health (while sales continued). The group was revived on December 7, 2013, without her. Silver Forest has produced 41 albums so far.

How did you get that CD if it was only sold at Reitaisai 8?

I had my own ways. I assure you, though, this is not a fake. (Maybe)
Shout-out to Mana Aurelius and Mangakaninaru.

 

So, tell me about EXTRA BITTER II.

“This (…) is such a mixed bag. If it was a literal bag that you could stick your hand in, it would be filled with gold nuggets and snapping turtles.”
-Ross Scott

Alright, I borrowed that quote from a certain show. But this perfectly sums up my opinion about EXTRA BITTER II. Let’s take a look at the songs first. Since these are fan songs, I’d include the parent song titles as well.

  • 02. (3:43)

I already had a sneaky feeling that some of them could be found elsewhere in other albums, but hey, this one is for the fans. Getting this is not cheap, but it’s time to bust this one anyway. More on that later.

Either way, off to how well these songs are.

 

Judgement Time!

The snapping turtles:

  • master of doll was painful to listen to at first, but that agony wears off after my third audit. I don’t like how three syllabuses were “sung” followed by 2 seconds of scratchy electric solo as the “chorus”. But it’s Euro Trance… I think I’m not into that, or it was poorly written. Was it deliberate?
  • Plastic Mountain… how is this a Techno? There’s little or no segment of the song where I’m even willing to dance to it. It’s more like Onkyokei with Kayōkyoku and synthesizers. This could have been an “okay” song, but the genre mislabeling downgraded my opinion of it.

The okay ones:

  • (Hollyhock) is not a bad pop song, however its style is not unique and there’s not much that is impressive about. I hate the lengthy outro (55 seconds!).
  • 星の砂 (Star Dust) is also a generic J-Pop/Rock song, and it’s way too short. It was over before I realized it. The tone is generally soft, however the climax is neat, until the 10 second outro followed immediately. 🙁

 The gold nuggets:

  • 萃夢想歌 (A Song of Gathering Dreams) is an upbeat song, perhaps close to folk rock… but this one, too, could be mislabeled, but not so much to hurl it into the previous class. I personally enjoy listening to traditional instruments, but if they’re well-accompanied by or accompany electric instruments, even better. Fusion’s nice. What’s Utaware Pop anyway? It’s not related to that eroge or anime, right?
  • sweetest one has piano played throughout with beats and bass from a synthesizer, sometimes with synthesized violin in the background. The song is very pleasing, but the tempo is a wee-bit too fast, as evident by the beats. The vocals give a cute impression. I mean, it’s based on Inaba Tewi.

 

Bait and Switch? Or Razzle-dazzle?

So, what was that intuition I had while researching? Well…

  1. master of doll is a vocalized version of a 2007 instrumental track from GRAZE, and then re-released in 妖しき夢のラプソディー (Rhapsody of a Supernatural Dream) and Silver Forest 2006-2012 BEST Ⅱ.
    SFNC-0004Ayashiki_yume_no_rhapsody447px-SF_Best_II
  2. (Hollyhock) is a vocalized version of a 2010 instrumental track from 黄昏シューティングスター (Twilight Shooting Star), later re-released in Vermillion Summer.
    SFNC-0021SFNC-0030
  3. 萃夢想歌 (A Song of Gathering Dreams) was a 2008 song from Reincarnation, later performed by a different singer for EXTRA BITTER II and Vermillion Summer, and was re-released in Silver Forest 2006-2012 BEST I.
    SFNC-0011SFNC-0030448px-SF_Best_I
  4. Plastic Mountain is a vocalized version of a 2010 instrumental track from 黄昏シューティングスター (Twilight Shooting Star), later re-released in Vermillion Summer.
    SFNC-0021SFNC-0030
  5. sweetest one was later re-released in Vermillion Summer.
    SFNC-0030
  6. 星の砂 (Star Dust) is a vocalized version of a 2009 instrumental track from 東方Starry-Eyed (Touhou Starry-Eyed), also re-released in Vermillion Summer.
    SFNC-0020SFNC-0030

Okay, so either they are vocal arrangements of old songs, or were re-released in another album.
Good heavens, what were the fans paying for?! This is some marketing crap! Actually, this isn’t the first time they’d pulled off this trick. No wonder there are pirates.

 

A Bitter Conclusion

Speaking of pirates, no, I won’t be pirating this for you, or else Ani-Culture.net would be facing a lawsuit by some random third-party copyright “advocate”. Well, if you do happen to pirate or own a copy of the aforementioned albums, you might just find ’em. I won’t be surprised if the songs are found on a particular video sharing site, though.

EXTRA BITTER II is truly a mixed bag, otherwise, it’s part of Silver Forest’s marketing gimmick with commissioning high-profile artists for their album arts. To be fair, many of Silver Forest’s songs are pretty good.
When I chanced upon the album, I was thinking of a continuation of this (2:40) or this (1:31).

Extra Bitters

A comparison between the 3 albums with “EXTRA BITTER”.

But no, EXTRA BITTER II is not worthy of attention within the Touhou fan-music community. Heck, I bought it just to close the case. Sorry folks, it ain’t worth your hype.

P.S: This one’s for the chocolate/beer-lovers. Is extra bitter chocolate/beer nice?

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