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.

Otoboke Beaver – Itekoma Hits [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Otoboke Beaver – Itekoma Hits [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“As long as it’s good, gives us reviewers joyous vibes, and is kinda sorta somewhat within proximity of our wheelhouse, we’ll give it a fair shake and coverage. Kyoto’s Otoboke Beaver‘s debut full-length, Itekoma Hits, is several miles away from our particular wheelhouse, but we see them, cheerfully smiling and waving while screaming, delivering some absolutely apeshit bonkers music that veers from pop-punk to hardcore to surf music to practically everywhere else and in-between.” It’s not metal, but then again, neither are you.

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.