Following the release of Japanese solo albums, the members of TVXQ (or Tohoshinki, as they’re known in Japan) have joined forces for new EP Epitaph. The guys haven’t released a full or mini album since 2019, making this feel like a momentous occasion. Here’s hoping their recent Japanese blitz is a harbinger for upcoming work in Korea!
Epitaph sounds as if it was ripped from the same rock opera as Changmin’s rollicking Maniac from earlier this year. That remains one of my favorite 2022 songs, so a renewed focus on rock elements is very welcome. This being TVXQ, the arrangement is big and bombastic. I love when their music delivers the pomp expected of legendary performers. Epitaph feels like the duo throwing caution to the wind and really letting loose. No boring, guitar-strummed dad-pop from these guys!
The track opens with an industrial rock beat, reminiscent of the glam resurgence in the mid-90’s. Both Changmin and Yunho are well-suited to the material, capable of supplying enough vocal firepower to compete with the boisterous instrumental. This ensures a sense of character and focus as Epitaph barrels toward its chorus. The verses feel like call-and-response — that industrial drive answered by a fuller, guitar-heavy breakdown. This moves into a more restrained pre-chorus, clearing space to lend Epitaph’s grandiose centerpiece even more emphasis. The melody here is theatrical and exciting, even if it feels quite familiar. As far as I know, the song isn’t a tie-up with any series or product, but it would a great companion to any anime worth its fury.