13 July 2006

Gilgamesh update

Thanks to Rob for this link:

Why can't these bitches sing in tune?

In other "news"..

A lot of people make hay over the fact that the hot new bands are just ripping off Dir en grey. They said it about Gazette back in the day, they say it about bands like Gilgamesh (no link 4 cop-e-catc) today. I think Gazette has a characteristic sound, but Gilgamesh.. listen to the MP3 below. The first clip is from a Gilgamesh song Kanaenu Yume. The second clip is from the track C from Dir en grey's early 2005 release Withering to Death.

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I think I speak for fans everywhere when I say "lols"

雅ーmiyaviー - 君に願いを

Needs less pussy
Needs more rock

06 May 2006

ギルガメッシュ~Gilgamesh~ 「零-ゼロ-」

These newcomers are really starting to make their mark in the indies scene around Tokyo. This single, which we will call "Zero," as it's the easiest English name for it, is another hit. This band is able to mix nu-metal and melodic chaos very well. The one downfall of this band might be just how well they do it. If we look back at Gazette roughly two years ago, they seemed to be quickly approaching the new kings of visual kei music in Japan. Now most people realize most of the songs sound the same. These songs are for the most part still good but they don't hit our atarashii bones in the slightest. This is what I believe will happen to Gilgamesh. That's just my prediction though. D/L it, don't buy it.

★★★☆☆ 3/5

26 March 2006

ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION // ファンクラフ [Fanclub]

With a geek rock band such as アジカン it's hard to gauge what is, and what isn't a strong release. Every track produced has a similar vibe that can only be described as "jumpy." Most tracks start out mellow and by the main verse have more feeling than any one song spawned from a band such as Orange Range. Now let's take a look at memorable tracks and skip the lame fillers...

Track #1 - 暗号のワルツ ("Password Waltz"): The opening drumming has a feeling of colonial music that's not heard very often in any genre of music. The beautiful bass guitar work is placed in about 30 seconds into the song. At this point the song starts coming together. It of course picks up speed and has it's share of good near-screaming strength.

Track #2 - ワールドアパート ("World Around"): This was a single before being placed on the album. I have nothing of uniquity to say about it but it surely made me happy.

Track #3 - ブラックアウト ("Blackout"): This song was first heard on the Nano-Mugen Compliation the band's label put together. This CD was produced from a concert featuring some Japanese and foreign acts. Very easy to sing along with and will make you play it out rather quickly!

Track #6 - ブルートレイン ("Blue Train"): This was also a single before being placed on the album. The feeling is calm throughout the entire song. It doesn't have much for screaming which is a good change of pace with this band.

Track #11 - タイトロープ ("Tightrope"): This song only gets a mention because it's nice to see them use an acoustic guitar in a song. This song is the essence of chill. It could easily be put on your iTunes playlist for going to sleep.

It may be assumed that the rest of the CD was not worth reviewing because it was nothing incredibly different. And to be perfectly honest, the band needs to change up it's sound next time around. This album was a better effort than the previous release, entitled ソルファ ("Solfa") though. The album still won my attention enough to write about.

★★★☆☆ 3/5

22 September 2005

Ayabie is a terrible band. (Part 2/2)

1:08:22 AM jer: oh man, that breakdown with the guitar strumming?
1:08:44 AM jer: that was a Luna Sea song
1:08:51 AM jer: WHOA
1:08:55 AM jer: riff just took my head off
1:08:57 AM the d: dude track six
1:09:00 AM the d: hot rox
1:09:09 AM jer: nice way to come down
1:09:15 AM the d: yeah
1:09:15 AM jer: the chugging should've stopped there though
1:09:22 AM the d: AUGH AUGH AUGH
1:09:28 AM the d: works okay here
1:09:29 AM jer: it killed the creepiness of that section
1:09:33 AM jer: hahahaha!
1:09:36 AM jer: Malice Mizer!
1:09:41 AM jer:
1:09:57 AM jer: I love it when you can pick indies vk bands apart like this
1:10:04 AM jer: this is the Dir part
1:10:11 AM jer: that was the PLC little bass riff
1:10:21 AM jer: like, straight ripped from Ai No Uta, almost
1:10:23 AM the d: like this part
1:10:29 AM the d: the poppy bridge vox
1:10:38 AM the d: this band does sound a lot like plc
1:10:49 AM jer: hey, this part is cool
1:10:58 AM jer: nice harmonies
1:11:06 AM the d: it's ok, their down parts aren't down enough and the up parts aren't up enough
1:11:08 AM the d: know what i mean?
1:11:11 AM jer: yeah...
1:11:19 AM jer: nice drum fill
1:11:25 AM jer: that was totally Mike Portnoy-esque
1:11:37 AM the d: WHOAHHH
1:11:38 AM the d: WHAAA?
1:11:39 AM jer: whoa!
1:11:41 AM the d: FUCK
1:11:42 AM the d: DUDE
1:11:43 AM the d: WHOAH
1:11:44 AM jer: Malice Mizer!?
1:11:47 AM the d: the guitarists are the shit in this band
1:11:49 AM jer: wtf
1:11:51 AM the d: everyone else needs to be fired
1:11:54 AM jer: hahahahhaha!
1:12:02 AM jer: no. the singer needs to be fired
1:12:05 AM jer: that's it.
1:12:17 AM jer: maybe the bassist
1:12:21 AM jer: but the drummer is good
1:12:42 AM jer: X guitars again!
1:12:50 AM the d: wow
1:12:55 AM the d: they need to do these kinds of parts moer
1:12:59 AM jer: yeah
1:13:12 AM jer: haha, Kyo ripoff part number 84
1:13:20 AM the d: AUG AUG AUG
1:13:23 AM the d: sheesh
1:13:44 AM jer: that song was TOO all-over-the-place
1:13:56 AM jer: hahaha, odedo cowboys?!
1:14:14 AM jer: MIYAVI!??!
1:14:23 AM jer: okay, not this part.
1:14:32 AM the d: nice riff
1:14:32 AM the d: shit
1:14:34 AM the d: that is drop c
1:14:37 AM jer: yeah
1:14:42 AM jer: that's why I say drop C
1:14:45 AM jer: er, miyavi
1:14:53 AM the d: nice nice nice
1:14:56 AM the d: i like this song
1:15:15 AM jer: I think their drummer fucked up a part of the lower dynamic section
1:15:20 AM jer: oh, nice part here
1:15:30 AM jer: nice hi-hat patterns
1:15:43 AM the d: perfect transition to the heavy riff
1:15:45 AM jer: woo, whammy!
1:16:02 AM the d: GREAT BREAKDOWN
1:16:13 AM the d: this is hot, six ugly stuff with better melodies
1:16:18 AM jer: hehehe
1:16:25 AM jer: Six Ugly wasn't this peppy
1:16:31 AM the d: yeah, you are right
1:16:40 AM the d: they remind me of shulla a lot in some of these songs
1:16:43 AM the d: but i really like shulla
1:16:47 AM jer: Six Ugly grooved more and was plodding in some stuff
1:16:49 AM the d: i can't say i really like this band
1:16:52 AM jer: never really listened to Shulla
1:16:53 AM the d: but this song rox
1:17:19 AM jer: I will find this fucker, and assrape him with a giant dry-ice dildo if he does that again.
1:17:20 AM the d: i like the abrupt ending
1:17:33 AM the d: nice pretty intro, track 8
1:17:34 AM jer: hmm...this drum part does NOT fit.
1:17:35 AM the d: i am prepared for shit
1:17:38 AM the d: what?
1:17:42 AM jer: whoa
1:17:44 AM jer: drop C again
1:17:45 AM the d: where is this riff coming from?
1:17:50 AM jer: yeah!?
1:17:51 AM the d: i like all the cymbals
1:17:55 AM the d: and back to the what?
1:17:57 AM the d: wha
1:18:02 AM the d: dude, seque
1:18:04 AM the d: gue
1:18:05 AM jer: okay, I do not get this song.
1:18:13 AM the d: me either
1:18:20 AM jer: the bass could be doing more interesting stuff during this part
1:18:23 AM the d: it's like "hey, this riff fell out of the sky like a house. i guess it's here now"
1:18:29 AM jer: the drums and bass suck on this tune.
1:18:46 AM the d: GAZETTE SONG
1:18:49 AM jer: hahahaha!
1:18:51 AM jer: holy shit!
1:18:54 AM jer: you're right
1:18:55 AM the d: One of my favorite gzt songs even
1:18:58 AM the d: that sorta pisses me off
1:19:02 AM jer: yeah, I totally hear it
1:19:06 AM the d: fuck the falsetto
1:19:11 AM the d: jesus this singer
1:19:12 AM the d: what a douche
1:19:16 AM jer: hahahahahahahahahahah!
1:19:26 AM jer: oh, nice part here
1:19:33 AM jer: this sort-of redeems itself
1:19:34 AM jer: but not quite
1:19:46 AM jer: guh.
1:19:55 AM jer: miyavi riff.
1:19:57 AM the d: not even
1:20:04 AM the d: lame indie numetal wannabe riff
1:20:14 AM the d: then back to ripping off that awesome gzt song
1:20:31 AM jer: yeah. I liked the gazette tune better.
1:20:39 AM jer: why don't more bands try to rip off Merry?
1:20:45 AM jer: those guys are fucked up and weird.
1:20:50 AM jer: and they have their fans
1:21:10 AM the d: this is a 2 note riff that could be played by a monkey
1:21:13 AM jer: yeah
1:21:24 AM jer: and I'm sure they do the nu-metal lurch/drop thing
1:21:36 AM the d: ick
1:21:39 AM jer: indeed
1:21:40 AM the d: ok intro
1:21:42 AM the d: what's goin on?
1:21:45 AM the d: ACH
1:21:47 AM the d: ACH
1:21:49 AM the d: GRAAAHHH
1:21:53 AM the d: ok
1:21:54 AM the d: thought so
1:22:06 AM the d: see now THIS is a deg song.
1:22:10 AM the d: this is like kisou track 24
1:22:13 AM the d: lol
1:22:16 AM jer: this sounds almost like Murder-Death-Kill by PLC meets Dir en Grey
1:22:17 AM jer: lol!
1:22:46 AM the d: this song would be good live, i think
1:22:51 AM jer: man, this album only has 2-3 quality tunes on it
1:23:01 AM jer: probably right about the live
1:23:05 AM the d: i am holding out hope for gothic speed party
1:23:16 AM jer: no, this is not doing anything for me
1:23:28 AM jer: but the tom "dun dun dun" part is cool
1:23:36 AM jer: they just chose to surround with this
1:23:38 AM jer: shit
1:23:45 AM the d: sort of representative of every derivative vk band, yanno?
1:23:45 AM jer: oh, see, now their bridge is cool
1:23:46 AM jer: wtf.
1:23:53 AM jer: yeah
1:23:57 AM jer: I'm not impressed
1:24:07 AM the d: guitarists i think
1:24:09 AM jer: at least Rentrer en Soi has a full, very solid album
1:24:09 AM the d: pluck them from the band
1:24:18 AM the d: give them a hot hot coupla songwriters
1:24:31 AM jer: oh man, overuse of the half-time
1:24:36 AM jer:
1:24:45 AM jer: er, misuse
1:24:47 AM the d: i think i wrote this album when i was 17
1:24:48 AM jer: UGH
1:24:52 AM the d: achhh
1:24:53 AM the d: achhh
1:24:54 AM jer: stupid nu-metal half-time shit
1:25:01 AM jer: no more of this KYO SHIT!
1:25:01 AM the d: plus processed aghing
1:25:08 AM jer: I love Kyo, but this is awful.
1:25:15 AM the d: this has promis
1:25:16 AM jer: give me some different screams, please.
1:25:19 AM the d: lassst track, ayabie
1:25:22 AM the d: YAY
1:25:25 AM the d: *dances*
1:25:27 AM jer: bad, key intro
1:25:32 AM jer: hahaha!
1:25:35 AM jer: this is great!
1:25:36 AM jer: lol
1:25:39 AM the d: it's so weak but so fun!
1:25:42 AM the d: like the bass
1:25:49 AM the d: oh noo
1:25:51 AM the d: dude!
1:25:54 AM jer: it's Toshiya wanna-be bass
1:25:59 AM the d: they totally pissed on that great intro, i think
1:26:02 AM jer: yeah?
1:26:04 AM jer: yeah, I agree
1:26:14 AM jer: they could've gone with the silly creepiness
1:26:18 AM the d: just brining back the intro for the bridge is lameness too
1:26:21 AM jer: hahaha, it comes back! from ze dead!
1:26:32 AM the d: ZE DEAAD I SAAEYYY
1:26:33 AM jer: man, this part is awful
1:26:43 AM jer: it would be okay if it were in a different song
1:26:48 AM jer: but they ruined that crazy part
1:26:52 AM jer: no, this part is bad too.
1:27:04 AM the d: again nice guitar lines with terrible wrapping
1:27:10 AM jer: nice little weaving part
1:27:15 AM jer: guh. this chorus is bad.
1:27:22 AM the d: whoah
1:27:25 AM the d: castlevania
1:27:32 AM the d: (i sound like keanu in this log i bet)
1:27:33 AM jer: hahahahaha!
1:27:36 AM jer: lol
1:27:37 AM the d: everything is whoah
1:27:43 AM the d: i liked the castlevania bit
1:27:44 AM jer: "I know kung-fu!"
1:27:50 AM the d: but hten we are treated to a 2-bit sugizo solo
1:27:53 AM jer: (but you actually do)
1:27:59 AM jer: yeah, or it could be Inoran
1:27:59 AM the d: why do you do thisto me, guitarist that i so roundly praised?
1:28:04 AM jer: hahahahah!
1:28:35 AM jer: there needs to be more cheesy little Malice Mizer parts.
1:28:47 AM jer: and I don't mean Lareine's version of that.
1:28:52 AM jer: 'cause they're just BAD.
1:28:55 AM the d: well, i don't think this thing is going to redeem itself in the last few minutes.
1:29:01 AM jer: mmmmm, nope
1:29:06 AM the d: Let's move on to assigning ratings to the whole album
1:29:13 AM jer: 2 good songs
1:29:15 AM jer: out of 10
1:29:24 AM jer: i would send this back, if I bought it.
1:29:29 AM the d: I give it 3.5 flaccid tranny cocks out of 10
1:29:31 AM jer: lol
1:30:00 AM the d: DONE
1:30:01 AM the d: FINALLY
1:30:04 AM jer: I'll give it 2.75 flabby doctor-fabricated weenies out of 10.
1:30:10 AM the d: Awesome.
1:30:14 AM jer: thank God.
1:30:17 AM the d: Last words, or shall we call it a review.
1:30:25 AM jer: well...the guitarists are good
1:30:31 AM jer: they usually rip off the right guitarist
1:30:33 AM jer: s
1:30:39 AM the d: the bassist has nice tone that he ripped off of the right bassist
1:30:55 AM jer: but that's the problem. they ripped off something huge in every song.
1:31:03 AM the d: and didn't always do it quite right
1:31:09 AM jer: so huge, EVERYONE could notice.
1:31:14 AM jer: and not in a fun way
1:31:18 AM the d: it was like "i like peanut butter, you like salmon, let's put the 2 together!"
1:31:21 AM jer: hahahah
1:31:45 AM jer: fun way to put an obvious reference in a song
1:31:53 AM the d: ok, i gotta run

21 September 2005

Ayabie is a terrible band. (Part 1/2)

A 2-man instant messenger review of the terrible band Ayabie's terrible album called.. something.. i can't be bothered to dig it up.
12:48:14 AM the d: ok this starts out souning like it's gonna be rockabilly
12:48:24 AM the d: or sth
12:48:27 AM the d: am i wrong?
12:48:33 AM jer: yeah, I dunno how to play it
12:48:39 AM jer: sounds like atypical bouncy visual rock
12:48:52 AM jer: er, place it
12:48:54 AM jer: not play it
12:48:55 AM the d: intro sounds like gayness
12:48:56 AM the d: but here!
12:48:59 AM the d: chugchugchug
12:49:02 AM the d: basS!
12:49:02 AM jer: the bass parts are good
12:49:06 AM jer: picked
12:49:10 AM jer: grindy
12:49:12 AM jer: good bass tone
12:49:13 AM the d: vox are a little too gay
12:49:17 AM jer: yeah.
12:49:22 AM the d: wait for track 2, seriously
12:49:24 AM the d: NICE GUITAR
12:49:29 AM jer: I hear that fucker trying to do the Kiyoharu shit.
12:49:33 AM jer: he needs to STOP IT.
12:49:38 AM jer: falsetto?
12:49:40 AM the d: falsettah
12:49:40 AM the d: haha
12:49:42 AM jer: fucking Gackt ripoff.
12:49:44 AM the d: love the falsetto
12:49:44 AM jer: ;)
12:49:45 AM the d: :)
12:49:50 AM the d: yeah, definitely derivative
12:50:00 AM jer: oh man
12:50:02 AM the d: sound kinda like vogus image at the end of the corus
12:50:08 AM the d: half-time
12:50:10 AM jer: total Pata & hide dual guitar
12:50:13 AM the d: they abuse the shit out of halftime in this song
12:50:19 AM jer: hahaha
12:50:21 AM jer: you aren't kidding
12:50:30 AM the d: you are totally right that is a pata rhythm
12:50:38 AM jer: man, how do these bands have these fucking pro recordings?!
12:50:47 AM jer: Dir's Missa was shit compared to this
12:50:49 AM jer: hahahaha
12:50:55 AM the d: this is where they rip LS
12:51:05 AM jer: aaaahahahahaha
12:51:07 AM the d: dude i LOVE this real-time CD analyzing
12:51:15 AM the d: bc we are typing we can listen to the stuff
12:51:17 AM the d: without interruption
12:51:21 AM jer: this reminds me of "Believe"
12:51:26 AM jer: from LS
12:51:30 AM the d: i am totally posting this whole chat on my lj
12:51:35 AM jer: hahahaha
12:51:55 AM jer: we almost had that going on with Luna Sea's Eden
12:51:57 AM the d: boring outro
12:52:00 AM jer: yeah
12:52:02 AM jer: it just drags
12:52:12 AM jer: bad vocals here
12:52:17 AM the d: yeah, jsut blah
12:52:30 AM jer: y'know, this guy's voice reminds me...
12:52:33 AM jer: of the singer from Kagerou
12:52:39 AM jer: a little bit
12:52:39 AM the d: nice bass again
12:53:25 AM the d: what do these vox remind you of?
12:53:33 AM jer: Gackt!?
12:53:47 AM jer: maybe with the effect on it
12:53:50 AM the d: no way, ryuichi
12:53:57 AM the d: from, um, what song
12:54:05 AM jer: oh oh oh
12:54:08 AM jer: I know what you're talking about
12:54:13 AM the d: like this ascending vox line here
12:54:28 AM jer: I don't like the lyrical syncopation here
12:54:33 AM the d: a little forced
12:54:35 AM jer: too much shit going on
12:54:37 AM jer: yeah, too forced
12:54:39 AM the d: like 'we are indies so we need to bounce and skip'
12:54:42 AM jer: lol
12:54:51 AM the d: i like they way the guitarists compose
12:54:52 AM jer: another Pata/hide solo!
12:54:53 AM jer: lol!
12:54:56 AM the d: !
12:54:58 AM jer: oh man!
12:54:59 AM the d: good breakdowns!
12:55:01 AM jer: they love their X!
12:55:05 AM the d: X and LS!
12:55:07 AM jer: I do dig this breakdown
12:55:08 AM the d: LS PART
12:55:11 AM jer: hahaha
12:55:12 AM the d: WHOAH so ripoff
12:55:24 AM jer: I can't place the name of the song it ripped off there
12:55:30 AM the d: in future?
12:56:13 AM jer: I dunno, I haven't listened to the whole Mother album that much
12:56:15 AM the d: AUGH AUGH
12:56:25 AM jer: LOL!
12:56:26 AM the d: kev is gonna upload a vid too
12:56:28 AM jer: that was comical!
12:56:35 AM jer: at the end, with all the "AUGH"s
12:56:48 AM jer: FUCK
12:56:50 AM the d: what
12:56:51 AM jer: it stopped playing
12:56:53 AM the d: hoser
12:56:55 AM the d: k
12:57:06 AM the d: we will sync again on trk 3, aikahi
12:57:07 AM the d: *gi
12:57:22 AM the d: ready?
12:57:23 AM jer: 3:57:30
12:57:26 AM the d: k
12:57:34 AM the d: bam
12:57:39 AM jer: I'm a few secs behind
12:57:43 AM the d: it's cool
12:57:49 AM the d: if it's just a few
12:58:00 AM the d: gazette-esque vox line
12:58:06 AM jer: yeah
12:58:22 AM jer: er, no, I'm a few secs ahead, no biggie
12:58:32 AM jer: I can't place who they rip off with that part
12:58:32 AM the d: i like the chugchug guitar rhythm
12:58:41 AM jer: bounce!
12:58:54 AM the d: this band has to be a fangirl favorite
12:58:56 AM jer: that part was L'arc
12:58:59 AM jer: no shit
12:59:08 AM jer: I'll bet they're all fuckable little shemales too.
12:59:21 AM jer: that they write creepy yaoi fanfic about
12:59:23 AM the d: let's listen through the end of track 5, and then I need to run to the 711
12:59:29 AM the d: and we can pick it up from there
12:59:31 AM jer: okay
12:59:44 AM jer: well, actually, I have to get some sleep, so after 5, I've gotta bail
12:59:47 AM the d: k
1:00:07 AM the d: this is the best and most inefficient way to write a review
1:00:22 AM the d: I declare this song WEAK
1:00:25 AM the d: WEAK SAUCE
1:00:26 AM jer: I dunno. this is a little too derivative for my tastes
1:00:31 AM jer: yeah, it's not doing much for me
1:00:36 AM the d: maybe they will save themselves in a couple tracks
1:00:41 AM jer: let's hope
1:00:58 AM the d: i like my gazette and res more though
1:01:03 AM jer: me too
1:01:14 AM the d: ok boring track three
1:01:15 AM the d: DIE
1:02:28 AM jer: nice drum pattern with the toms here, though
1:02:37 AM the d: yeah, their drummer is 'workmanlike'
1:02:43 AM jer: okay, again. weak.
1:02:48 AM jer: but that one part was exciting
1:02:56 AM jer: nice marching snare pattern
1:03:01 AM the d: yeah, that is nice
1:03:11 AM the d: wonder if he tracked it separate in the studio
1:03:19 AM jer: gotta love that Japanese work ethic
1:03:21 AM jer: I doubt it
1:03:31 AM the d: i like the durm patter here
1:03:34 AM jer: but I'll bet you anything this isn't one take on the drums
1:03:35 AM jer: yeah
1:03:44 AM the d: nice breakdown, too
1:03:46 AM the d: very chill
1:03:54 AM the d: then back to the 100% weakness
1:03:55 AM jer: eh, not so fond of that breakdown
1:03:57 AM jer: hahahaha
1:04:12 AM the d: one more track in tonight's session to save yourself, ayabz.
1:04:13 AM jer: oh man. gotta love the last track's title..can't wait to hear that one
1:04:18 AM jer: "Gothic Party Speed Session"
1:04:22 AM the d: Whoah!
1:04:25 AM the d: shabu for everyone!
1:04:29 AM the d: fuckin' tweaker
1:04:30 AM the d: s
1:04:30 AM jer: either that's going to be completely funny or completely LAME
1:04:33 AM jer: hahahahaha
1:04:58 AM jer: nice guitar part there!
1:05:02 AM jer: total hide!
1:05:10 AM jer: odedo cowboys
1:05:16 AM the d: yes!
1:05:22 AM the d: this song has prmise
1:05:25 AM the d: listen to that lead riff
1:05:25 AM the d: man
1:05:27 AM jer: wow, yeah, I like it so far
1:05:42 AM jer: keys in the background were good
1:05:51 AM the d: if this builds and then erupts
1:05:52 AM jer: hmm...waiting for the payoff on this section
1:05:54 AM the d: it will be so great
1:05:56 AM jer: wow
1:05:58 AM jer: this is good
1:05:59 AM the d: back to the rad intro riff
1:06:00 AM the d: yeah
1:06:02 AM the d: WHOAH
1:06:05 AM the d: Love the vox!
1:06:08 AM jer: okay, this is Psycho le Cemu
1:06:11 AM the d: Hot rhythm!
1:06:14 AM the d: well, i love dance rock
1:06:14 AM jer: totally PLC
1:06:19 AM the d: and i know you are a big homofag for them
1:06:19 AM the d: WHOAH
1:06:21 AM the d: Nice!
1:06:23 AM the d: chug chug!
1:06:24 AM jer: lol, fu :)
1:06:58 AM jer: this is PLC right here.
1:07:17 AM jer: at times their singer sounds like Daishi
1:07:22 AM the d: i don't like the fake call-and response with processing
1:07:23 AM the d: don't know why
1:07:40 AM jer: mostly, he sounds like a derivative Visual-Kei vocalist
1:07:50 AM the d: cheesy acogi
1:07:53 AM jer: hahaha, what is this part!?!?!
1:07:55 AM the d: yeah
1:07:57 AM jer: this sounds SO familiar!
1:07:58 AM the d: glayness.
1:08:00 AM the d: psh.
1:08:02 AM jer: hahaha
1:08:05 AM the d: then back to plc
1:08:12 AM the d: well, this song is better than the last couple
1:08:15 AM the d: coulda been so much more

Thrilling conclusion: tommorrow.

18 September 2005


The live tracks are shit. The title track? Well, it's basically everything good about Withering To Death, all the dreck cut out - which means they could only fill two mins fifty-five. I thought they were done for after announcing the tour with The Used, but hey, this single could definitely get some play. They've signed to a US label, Warcon, and there are even rumors of MTV play next week. This is going to blow up big, guys. They're not as elaborate and artful as they were back in the height of their progginess (MACABRE, duh), but now that they play numetal, they are by far the most elaborate and careful numetal band I can see as far as the horizon. Download this song, please. It's over at Tonberry, and it's probably going to be filling an elevator from your local mallgoth's earbuds sometime soon.

Spoiler: this song contains the lyric "One day I will fuck your parents." Ten bonus points to the lyricist. NEXT!

14 September 2005

Merry - Nu Chemical Rhetoric

I came late to the Merry party. They were featured in many of the music magazines I read while living in Japan a few years ago, and I discounted them based on a few songs I'd heard in passing. I was busy expanding my music collection in other directions, and they slipped right off of my radar. A few months ago, I met up with an old friend who compelled me to listen to his copies of their older albums, and I was shocked. The jazzy chords and vibe switching from swinging to rocking didn't clash, and I found the singer's "lounge-kyo" clean vocal style as endearing as his mid-range aggro voice.

My rapid acclimation with Merry's catalog led up to the release of their major-label debut, Nu Chemical Rhetoric. I had hoped that the band wouldn't go down the easy path of releasing an album full of watered-down and popped-up copies of their earlier work in hopes of gaining mass market approval. I expected the same swing and the same jazz-metal charge as their earlier albums...and I was partly correct.

I feel that Nu Chemical Rhetoric is about half of an album, recorded twice. Most, but not all of their stylistic range is represented, leaving us with a very slightly watered-down merry album that actually sounds like it would be quite at home as 50-75% of a better disc. It sets a nice "album tone", but doesn't depart from it enough - the throttle is held just a bit back in rockers like track 4, and while the vocal lines are memorable, they don't quite hang around your head like the best of the older Merry tracks. This is not to say that it is a weak album compared to the formulaic dreck that seems to dominate the Japanese glam-rock scene - it's still Merry doing what they do, but the highlights aren't quite as high. My friend Jeremy observed that the album sounds like it was produced in a hurry, and I wouldn't be surprised if that was exactly the case. Basically, it sounds like Merry, it's pretty good, but it sure isn't Gendai Stoic or Modern Garde.

Track-By-Track Breakdown

1. デジーノート (Digi Note)

I tend to like the little throwaway electronica tracks on rock albums. This one actually sounds a lot like it could be a Polysics song for the first 50 seconds. It shifts gears into a fairly standard Merry guitar lick with piano covering the chords. Nothing special, but not horrible.

2. 首吊りロンド (Kubitsuri Rondo - "Hanging Rondo" (as in from a noose))

Oh, how I dig that back beat on the closing hi-hat! I was hoping the intro guitar riff wouldn't stick around, and it didnt, shifting into some power chords. Nice slightly processed vocals for the verse, and the vocals rise into angsty, mic-stand gripping territory before the power chords take back the reins. The song continues along the expected path, and doesn't really take any chances with the arrangement. It feels like a great demo track, or a snapshot of the development of a great song, but I feel it would have benefited from a little bit more development.

3. 迷彩ノ紳士 (Meisai no Shinshi - "Camouflage Gentleman")

Again with the standard Merry repeating 4-bar lead guitar intro... pause and... shout! I headbanged as I wrote that sentence. The "whoah whoah" prechorus must be fun to sing along with at a show, but I feel that spot in the tune needs something that contributes a bit more. Later in the track, vocals are laid over the "whoah whoah" and I think it works better. An all-right track.

4. 溺愛の水槽 (Dekiai no Suisou - "Aquarium of fondness / water tank of doting" - you get the idea, it doesn't translate so well)

This is one of my favorite tracks, and was a single with a video. The intro provides a nice calm before the stormy horror-flick guitar lead, then back into the eye of the storm - is this a jazzy head-bopper? NO. SHOUT SHOUT POWER CHORD. Lather, rinse repeat. I like the way it yo-yos between fast-jazzy and fast-angry in the first minute or so until the vocal mood changes into a great little sing-song segment. The song continutes into chill backbeat chords, short but appropriate guitar solo, and then back to the yo-yo. The outro has one of my favorite rock devices, slow and rhythmically steady vocal lines overlaid with high-register quick-moving guitar figures.

5. 薔薇と片隅のブルース (Bara to katasumi no buruusu - "Rose And The Corner Blues")

Lounge jazz/blues time. This song is inoffensive and well executed, but it doesn't really inspire me to say more. Oh well.

6. 哀しみブルートレイン (Kanashimi Buruu Torein - "Sadness Blue Train")

Another from the mid-tempo bouncy category. I like the "lead guitar intro, ska chord chorus, lead guitar interlude" style of songwriting so often seen in Japanese rock bands, but it's at about this point in the album that you realize you've heard Merry do this before - many, many times before. There's an interesting echoey vocal bridge, and I feel the song comes close to redeeming itself near the end with a mood change to the vocals, but it really needed to differentiate the different parts of the song. Much like track 2, I feel this could have been a great song with another few weeks of work.

7. アタシは捨て猫 (Atashi Wa Suteneko - "I(feminine) Am A Stray / Abandoned Cat")

(see track 6)

8. Shambara (A demon from a hindu text, killed by Krishna - unless it has some meaning in Japanese that I am unaware of. I don't have the lyrics sheet to figure it out.)

Why does every song on this album start out the same? EVERY SONG. Same. It's like how every trance song starts with one pattern on the drum machine, and adds one more every 16 bars. I'm sick of it. After fast-forwarding through the intro, I was met with a nice quick vocal figure and some catchy jazz. That's right, you've heard me say this about other tracks on this album. I like the formula, and the albums in which every other song is the formula don't bother me. They flow well as albums that way. In this case, each one reminds you more and more of the tracks that came before, and it doesn't matter how much you like them individually. Nu Chemical Rhetoric screams out for a few rockout tracks and oddball tracks to make it listenable in album format.

9. ニセモノ天国 (Nisemono Tengoku - "Fake Heaven")

Oh hey, what's this? This track doesn't start like every other! I'm bouncing - there's a scream in there for texture - and the track's vocals evoke SADS from the first word. This is a worthy track, and I demand it be released as a single.

10. リフレイン-土曜日の涙 ( Rifurein - Doyoubi no Namida - "Refrain - Saturday's Tears")

Know what this album needs? New guitar tone, and a couple new drum patterns. A well-executed but uninspiring quas-ballad.

11. 空っぽの唄 (Karappo no Uta - "Empty Song")

Hey, happiness. I like the Plastic Tree guitar lines into the major-key vocals over the backbeat chords followed by a few seconds of shouting. I imagine myself in Merry, playing this song on guitar or singing lead, and I imagine tons of fun.

That's it. Merry's Nu Chemical Rhetoric is all right. It's also probably going to be forgotten, save for tracks 4, 9, and 11. Come on, guys, let's take our time and crank out something a little more varied next time, okay? I really liked 3 tracks, and I'll give the rest of them half credit. that's 7/11, or 64%. Merry, you barely pass. Your mother and I are disappointed.