Mar 072014

Our fellow blogger Full Metal Attorney published a new post on his site today entitled, in intentional Buzzfeed-speak, “7 Metal Bands That Will Blow Your Mind”. He began it this way:

I’ve been reading about Babymetal since No Clean Singing first covered them two years ago. Now I’m starting to read about them everywhere, and it’s blowing the minds of regular people. Even my six-year-old son–who has grown up completely immersed in pop music and extreme metal–had a “WTF?” look on his face: “Why are those girls there?” You’re right, son, it doesn’t make any sense.

It hadn’t occurred to me that Babymetal would be so interesting to non-metalheads (outside of J-pop fans, anyway). So I started thinking: What else might blow the mind of a normal person? Metalheads, this list isn’t really for you: Share it with your friends.

And he then proceeded to provide a list — a list of bands who in very different ways have combined musical elements with “mainstream appeal” (my words) and elements more familiar to metalheads. The idea struck me as one that might generate some discussion here at NCS.

So, no, this isn’t yet another NCS post about Babymetal (because they’re even getting coverage from the likes of USA Today as well as currently holding down a spot on iTunes Top 10 Rock Albums chart in 7 countries — the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan and Sweden). Those of you who think Babymetal are the greatest threat to our way of life since the fluoridation of water can relax.

Feb 262014

(Right here, right now, DGR reviews the just-released debut album by Japan’s Babymetal.)

I don’t like Japanese idol music and J-pop. It’s probably one of my least favorite things out there. We often like to sit on our high horses and jaw all day about how all pop music sounds the same, how there are formulas and the artists are becoming so increasingly transparent that you can practically see the marketing department that put them together pulling the strings. Yet, Japan has been doing this for years with their pop music — consistently forming girl groups around gimmicks and novelty, as well as teaming them together in some unholy mish-mash whether they actually get along or not, singing talent aside. They’ve gotten very good at constructing groups and finding formulas and then hammering them into the ground. It’s everything I’ve despised about pop music, cranked up to eleven and made so obvious that you can’t even act like you’re being lied to. You like it because of those reasons. You know what you’re getting into from the get-go most of the time.

So when Babymetal were initially revealed — a combination of pop idol music and heavy metal, like a mad, unholy experiment consisting of throwing darts at a board to come up with another talent group to manage and grind into the ground, as if the girls weren’t human — the eye-roll was tremendous. And when the song “Doki Doki Morning” came out, the groans grew even louder. Yet, over time the group have morphed into something entirely different from the way they began, something that I’m not quite sure the management knows how to handle.

Feb 112014

Culled here from the ever-flowing effluent of the interhole are four new ear- and eye-pleasing treats, with a bit of impressionistic verbiage. The songs have nothing in common, except my liking for them.

MANTAR

Mantar (above) are a new two-piece band, half German and half Turkish, whose debut album Death By Burning is scheduled for North American release by Svart Records on February 25. I previously wrote about one advance song, “Spit”. Today DECIBEL delivered the premiere of a music video for a second one, “White Nights”.

Men at work, wolves at work, strobes in the studio, shadows in the forest (and something else in the forest), amps and pines. The squeal of feedback, the squall of a fuzz-bombed guitar, riffs that open wounds, vocals that cauterize them, drum strikes that will bring you to your knees. Stripped-down and flesh-stripping, obliterating and head-nodding.

Feb 052014

Here are a couple of quick update items about Japanese bands we’ve written about in the past.

BABY METAL

Long-time readers of the site know that we have a thing about Baby Metal. A non-pervy thing, I hasten to add. If you’re new to the site, you can find all our prior blathering here. The breaking news is that Baby Metal, at long last, have announced they will be releasing an album. Entitled BABYMETAL, it will become available on February 26 via iTunes and assorted other sites (for CDs), which you can find via the band’s FB page or their web site.

The band have released a trailer for the album. It’s mainly just a string of clips from previous videos, but I’ll stick it up here anyway:

Nov 292013

I may have mentioned that I’m on vacation through December 8. In addition to not writing much for NCS, I’ve also largely abandoned my daily routine of reading press releases and roaming the web looking for metal news and video or song premieres to feature on the site. However, today some of my NCS comrades gave me a slew of links that together make a tidy package of extremely diverse new things worth writing about.

KAMPFAR

First, Andy Synn wrote me as follows: “New Kampfar. Put that in your pipe and smoke it”. I tried to smoke it, but the song smoked me instead. It’s name is “Mylder”, and it will appear on this excellent Norwegian band’s new album Djevelmakt, due for release on January 21 via Indie Recordings.

If I could shriek “Helvete!” like Kampfar’s vocalist, I would, because that’s what I want to do when I listen to “Mylder”. It’s an electrifying, dynamic song — with plenty of reaping, roaring, stomping, and jabbing, but also infiltrated with an ethereal flute melody (among other unexpected elements). It’s a great combination of black metal savagery and memorable songwriting. Djevelmakt can’t come soon enough.

Sep 242013

For those of you who thought we’d get tired of pimping publicizing Baby Metal, no such luck. Actually, I guess the first version of that last sentence may have come off as kinda creepy, so I edited it. Here’s the breaking news about our favorite J-pop deathmetal band (thanks to a tip from DGR and a report by Blabbermouth):

Later this fall Baby Metal will release their first-ever concert DVD and Blu-ray, Live ~Legend I, D, Z Apocalypse~. The limited-edition DVD box will come out on October 19 and the Blu-ray will be available on November 20. The set will contain footage of the band’s performances at Shibuya O-East (October 2012), Akasaka Blitz (December 2012), and Zepp Tokyo (February 2013). I’m not yet sure where it can be ordered, but this place will probably have it eventually.

Baby Metal have also just released a video trailer for the new DVD, and it’s a killer. I’ve written before that as time has passed the band have increasingly become less J-pop and more death metal (without becoming any less catchy), and both the imagery and the music in the trailer is evidence that this progression is continuing.

So get your fuckin’ kitsune horns up and watch the trailer next, and if you somehow missed the official video they released this summer for “Megitsune”, I’m adding that, too.

Jun 042013

Long-time NCS readers know that we have a weakness (in a totally non-pedophile way) for BABYMETAL, the three-member female group who made a name for themselves by fusing Japanese idol music and metal. This obsession began with former frequent visitor and occasional contributor Phro (who is based in the Tokyo area). Even though Phro is occupied with other pursuits and doesn’t show up around here very often, he still stays in touch, and this morning he fired off an e-mail alerting me to the premiere of a new BABYMETAL song and video: “Megitsune”

In fact, we have Phro’s own introduction to the video (which will be followed by some more Phro words and some of my own):

“Alright you sad sacks, sit down, shut the fuck up, and press play, because Baby Metal have a new song and video. It’s bombastic in all the right ways, slightly cheesy in all the best ways, and just barely cute enough to still be recognizable as Japan’s finest pop metal band.

“I won’t bother explaining it to you, because, seriously, there’s a fucking YouTube video right here. If you can’t press play because you’re at work, I forgive you, but otherwise this should be fucking your eardrums like a giant, zombie tyrannosaurus rex cock hungry for your ear cherry.”

Jan 292013

I love Bandcamp. I know that’s not a revelation, since I’ve been ejaculating my love for Bandcamp at NCS for years. But I have new reasons to love Bandcamp.

For example, Kroda. One of my favorite black metal bands on Earth, whose 2011 album Schwarzpfad was one of my favorite releases of that year in any genre. As of today, Schwarzpfad is on Bandcamp and available for streaming and digital download — the first time this album has become available legally as a download anywhere. This is the second Kroda album that has appeared on Bandcamp, joining the excellent 2012 release, Live Under Hexenhammer: Heil Ragnarok! Here’s the link, and the stream:

http://kroda.bandcamp.com/album/schwarzpfad

But that’s not the only Bandcamp news I want to share.

Jan 132013

I sure as fuck didn’t see this coming. But thanks to Phro, I see it now, and so do you. And it turns out to be a nice coincidence, as I’ll explain.

In a nutshell, metal album artist Toshihiro Egawa has created t-shirt artwork for the Japanese Kawai Metal band BabyMetal. It is Phro, of course, who has periodically reminded NCS readers about the existence of BabyMetal ever since we first learned about them in October 2011. For those not in the know, BabyMetal are three cute girls (no pedo!) who play a perversely catchy mash-up of J-Pop/Idol music and metal. Over time, they seem to have been getting darker in their imagery and their outfits. But getting Toshihiro Egawa to create a shirt design is like a really giant leap forward into a death metal abyss.

Egawa is a 40-year old artist from Osaka who has become one of the world’s best known creators of album art and shirt designs for the more brutal end of the death metal and slam spectrum. To see just a partial list of bands for whom he has created artwork, go here. In fact (and here’s that coincidence), he created the thoroughly disgusting, gore-drenched cover for the forthcoming album by Devourment that’s the subject matter of a new lyric video which we featured in a post earlier today.

From Devourment to BabyMetal is what I’d call a very sharp turn on a very slick road.

Nov 302012

(Yes, Japan’s Baby Metal are back with something new, and as the sun follows the night that means our Japan-based correspondent Phro is back, too.)

So, Islander said he’d take away my food supply if I didn’t get this written up and sent to him before nightfall. As such, you have only him to blame if you find the writing subpar. Well, okay, more subpar than usual. Whatever. I need my horsey cock.

Baby Metal, the semi-official house band of No! Clean Singing!, has released a new song, titled “Ijime, Dame, Zettai.” (Roughly translated by a group of feces-tossing, anus-slurping, toe-jam-eating howler monkeys as: “Bullying, Don’t, Definitely.” We slapped them around a little bit, and they came up with this slightly less steamy pile of rancid eggplant puree: “Just Say No to Bullying!” The howler monkeys have been fired.)

Now, if you think that’s a strange change of focus for a band that thus far has mostly sung about…something, well, you’re not entirely wrong. However, there is a method to this madness. (Ummm…a dim glimmer of a reflection of a method.)

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