Japanese Metal

Defiled – Infinite Regress Review

Defiled – Infinite Regress Review

“Metal, particularly death metal, has generally had a particularly Western bent. Originating as it did from rock and heavy blues, this is to be expected. But music never exists in a vacuum, so when artists with a different cultural background bring their experience to traditionally western cannon, the results are often quirky and interesting. Japanese death metal veterans Defiled are a case in point: while the style exists in the unmistakable sandpit of death metal, there are enough different toys that the music feels fresh and unorthodox.” Just like sand through the horror glass.

Galneryus – Into the Purgatory Review

Galneryus – Into the Purgatory Review

Galneryus is my favorite power metal band. Hell, they might just be my favorite metal band, period. I can’t call myself a ravenous fan of many artists, but Galneryus‘ enormous catalog of righteous Japanese power metal has me foaming at the mouth every time the band so much as hints that they’re entertaining the thought of a new record. The fact that I consider 2017’s Ultimate Sacrifice a low point of their career, yet still felt confident in giving it an honorable mention slot on that year’s list, should say something for their consistency.” Land of the rising fun.

Desecravity – Anathema Review

Desecravity – Anathema Review

“Japan probably isn’t top of the list of countries responsible for propagating the most volatile of technical death metal. Desecravity clearly don’t care for the geographical rank and file, however, as their hyper-proficient assault takes absolutely no prisoners. Anathema is the band’s third foray into profuse precision and exhibits a startling standard of musicianship. But, as with all overtly technical genres, there lingers an elephant in the room… What good is inimitable skill without commensurate song writing? I’ve lost count of the amount of bands I’ve heard over the years who exist, seemingly solely, as an extreme guitar clinic. No attention to structure, no time spent on foundation. Fortunately, Desecravity seem to be aware of this to some degree, but they aren’t entirely out of the woods yet…” Killed by tech.

Sigh – Heir to Despair Review

Sigh – Heir to Despair Review

“Some of the band’s previously bagged waterfowl are among the rarest and colorful to ever take flight, flashing their lavish plumage in iridescent hues and streaming with fanciful feathers. After the modern classic of In Somniphobia and Graveward‘s acceptable, if not always exciting, follow-up, the band needed something different to end this quartet with something more powerful than mere exhalation.” Where the Heir is thin.

Serenity in Murder – The Eclipse [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

Serenity in Murder – The Eclipse [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

“There’s a special little subcategory of my year-end list this year that I’m tentatively dubbing “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Finnish!” With much of that country’s melodeath old guard either disbanded, commercialized, or in an ongoing slump, it makes sense that other countries are picking up the slack. And one of the finest examples of the faux-Finn sound you’ll hear this year comes straight from Japan.” Japan to the rescue.

Heaven in Her Arms – White Halo Review

Heaven in Her Arms – White Halo Review

“The AMG Overlords are vengeful overlords. One wrong step, one missed tithe, and an underling can find oneself working in the boiler room again. Or worse yet, getting duped into a review of something unexpected. Case in point, someone we all know and love was late with a review and thus, scrambling to get back in Madam and Steel’s good graces, frantically grabbed a promo described by the Overlords as “post-something.” I’ve been had. Heaven in Her Arms are a Japanese hardcore act who incorporate some progressive elements, some death elements, and some screamo, but not really any post-something.” Post-punishment.