Monday, 13 February 2017

Eigo de, onegaishimasu?

Those of you who were introduced to the balls-out batshit insanity that is BABYMETAL probably know this already, but when it comes to music, Japan is actually considerably crazier than you might be led to believe initially.

This is especially true when it comes to my beloved genre of heavy metal.

If your entire exposure to Japanese music consisted of bland J-pop played in shopping malls- not a common experience for my American readers, I know, but those of you who have been to Asia know what I'm talking about- then you probably don't think terribly much of modern Japanese music. J-pop is even more lowest-common-denominator music than your average Western boy-band.

You see, the Japanese are actually HUGE metal fans. Legends of the genre, like IRON MAIDEN, MEGADETH, and JUDAS PRIEST enjoy massive, if underground, followings throughout Japan.

And of course, it turns out that they do in fact have some very good homegrown heavy metal talent of their own.

One band, in particular, has been flying the flag of Japanese power metal high and proud for the better part of twenty years now. They're called GALNERYUS (no idea what the name means), and they combine the speed of DRAGONFORCE, the musicianship of ANGRA, and the lyrics of... well, considering that their lyrics are completely incomprehensible, I have no clue who to compare them with, other than maybe, say, GWAR?

Anyway, they're really pretty damn good.

I'm not kidding about their lyrics, by the way. I actually speak a little Japanese- not particularly well, mind you, but enough to hold a very short conversation- and I have absolutely no bloody clue what the lyrics are, even though I grew up watching and listening to Japanese anime.





4 comments:

  1. I don't know about Galneryus... Their lead guitarist sounds too technical, too much technique and not enough soul. Too much noise and not enough NOISE.

    It could be a problem with their mixer being an idiot, as is often the case, but it feels stilted and artificial, like they had a midi board resampling Yngwi instead of a lead.

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  2. Then again, it might just be all the undercutting of the bass. dropping too much bass always makes it sound shallow. New legend is the best sounding, and it doesn't sound like they dumped as much Bass.

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    1. Yes, I suspect it's just a crappy mix. I've noticed this problem with other power metal bands, whereby the skill of the guitarist gets lost in the wash thanks to a soulless and tinny mix. (Ironically, Yngwie has actually managed to do that to himself, since he produces many of his own albums, and quite a lot of them sound terrible.)

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  3. Hunh - more bands to check out.

    The only metal band I had passing familiarity with courtesy of one moderately forgettable but pretty anime (Odin, photon ship starlight), one Scott Carpenter movie, and as I recall Shaun of the Dead, was Loundness.

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