(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the 2012 album from Japan’s Shatter Silence.)
I generally think Japan’s metal scene sucks. Watching from afar, it seems to me that for as much as many Japanese worship the music, as much as they are such rabid fans of it, very few of them “get” metal when it comes to creating it. What’s even weirder is that the bands who DO seem to get it, who produce badass shit that sounds like the musicians have a grasp on the music, seem to be completely overlooked within Japan. This is only what I and friends have witnessed, so if anyone wants to prove me wrong I’d be glad to find that out.
Shatter Silence are one of those badass bands. Hailing from Osaka, they deliver a blistering blast-furnace style of melodic death metal, intense in technical riffing and with thrash speed and relentlessness. This is the band’s sophomore effort; I’ve only heard a couple tunes off the debut and it seems just as killer, which is why it perplexes me that this band only has 300+ likes on Facebook. These guys do this style every bit as well as the Europeans, maybe even better in some cases than newer releases from the West.
The opener “Awake in Decay” is testament enough to this fact. It’s a whirlwind of molten riffs played with majesty and fury. The high speed pedal-point riffing and harmonized, almost black metal tremolo picked attack of this song, combined with the propulsive drum work brimming with energy, make for a pretty good introduction to what this band is all about.
Your only moment of respite is the introduction to the band’s clean vocals, which in this case take the form of a band-wide layered choral approach. It’s interesting, since they never once have a single voice during the clean vocal sections. It creates something of an angelic feeling in the midst of what is otherwise music that strips flesh from bone.
The album almost never relents during its entire run time. Shatter Silence’s policy is if it isn’t fast as fuck and riffy out the ass then it isn’t worth playing. The only modest exception to this is the mid-paced “Falling Destiny”, which is still a great song but serves as something of a gripping break before the album’s final songs.
The thing about this band is not only do they write terrific music, the individual musicians are also all stellar at their craft. Vocalist “D” has an old school roar that should be nothing new, but his delivery is fresh and filled with passion and conviction. While his vocal style is old school, his approach to it reminds me of when metalcore vocalists were worth a shit (like Alive Or Just Breathing Killswitch Engage good).
The riffs of guitarist Takahri Yamanaka are so memorable, so tight, yet have that technical depth needed to prevent the music from aging ungracefully with repeated listens. His solos are also something to behold. A practitioner of old school straight up melodic shred, he sets fires to the listener’s landscape. Tomoya Uokawa on bass and Yasuo Kanemoto on drums are an extremely potent rhythm section, striking with thunderous impact at every turn.
I fucking love this band. You should too.