Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hammer Sonic & Extreme the Dojo 2012 Live Report

The weekend of August 24 and 25 was definitely one of the most intense live show weekends I’ve ever had, with a mixed-genre metal festival on Friday, and a tour by the grind gods on Saturday.


On the evening of Friday, August 24, I went to Namba Rockets in Osaka for Hammer Sonic, a 2-day festival in a small/mid-size venue whose name plays off of the huge festival Summer Sonic that was a week or two before (featuring Green Day, Rihanna, bla bla etc.).


I gotta say, it was an insane show. Great crowd (of various nationalities) and great bands of various genres including doom metal, hardcore, thrash/death metal, post-rock/hardcore, and I’m not even sure what some of the genres were.


This show started at about 6 PM, and it went until maybe 4 or 5 in the morning. I’m not sure exactly, because I was pretty much dead by about 1 AM. Which is too bad because I missed all the bands after that that I’m sure were excellent, as well as the bands that played on Saturday.


I would have to say my favorite set of the night was Palm. I don’t often get into this kind of hardcore, but when I do, I do hard. It just felt so good to get in the pit and mosh around to the energy of the crowd and the band. Because I was so pumped to get in the pit I didn’t get a chance to get video of this band, but take a look at another video of theirs on Youtube.


The big surprise of the night was Envy. I would describe their music as sort of post-rock or post-hardcore or something, basically it’s the kind of music I never give a chance. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this band too much, but a few people were saying “Envy is playing next, they’re really great.” So I though I would just give them a listen. I just have to say wow. It just sounds really really good. I was just mesmerized by how the whole sound fit together and I couldn’t stop listening. The sound I captured with my camera turned out to be pretty good quality too, so give it a listen!

こ の夜に「Envy」というバンドが演奏していて、知らなかったから何も期待していなかったけど、曲が始まるとまあ驚いたな。本当に音がきれい、エネルギー がいっぱい、ジャンルがなんだかわからないが、とりあえず聞き入ってしまった。このバンドは海外からでもそこそこ注目集めてきているらしくて、一度聴いて みないと本当に損すると思う。カメラで撮った音もあまり悪くないので、下のビデオで聞いてみてください。

Another surprise of the night was the only band that night from abroad (that I know of), Black Breath, from Seattle in the US. I hadn’t heard of them before, but they are just the kind of metal that we all need! They look fucking metal, they sound fucking metal, they were just awesome. It seems that they were able to tour Japan thanks to Palm, seems like an unlikely match, but I’m really glad it happened! I hope they had a good tour and I hope to see them in Japan again!

このライブでもう一つ驚いたのはアメリカから来てくれた「Black Breath」というメタルバンド。みんな本当に似合ってる、メタルのかっこうは。そしてメタルの中でも俺好みのスラッシュ・デス的な感じ。めっちゃ楽しかったし、客もみんなめっちゃ楽しそうだった。

Another highlight of the night was Eternal Elysium, a Japanese doom metal band. Eternal Elysium is pretty popular and a great addition to Japan’s doom scene along with Church of Misery. I would say while Church of Misery is more on the dark, heavy side of doom metal, Eternal Elysium is more on the stoner side of things. The band had great synergy with the crowd that night and good times were had all around.

も う一つ注目になっていたバンドは、現在盛んになってきているジャパニーズ・ドゥームメタルの代表となる「Eternal Elysium」。ドゥームのなかでもどっちかと言えば「ストーナー」系かな?お客さんと一緒に盛り上がってて、メッチャしみる音楽を聴きながらすごい演 奏をしてくれた。

Acrostix & Disturd are both three-piece crust punk bands that are just full of energy, speed and ferocity. I don’t hear about punk shows much in Japan, but I’m glad to see that there are some amazing punk bands around. I would really like to see these bands again in even smaller venues along with other local punk bands like Framtid and Warhead!




Those are just a handful of the bands that played, here is a picture of the poster that lists the bands for both days. There are some amazing bands on that list (a band I’m sad missing on Saturday is thrash legend Abigail) so by all means check them out!


And on Saturday, I went to Extreme the Dojo! An annual set of shows from popular bands abroad, that, this year, featured the grind legends Pig Destroyer, Nasum, and Napalm Death! I saw them the day after the show above, in Nagoya on Saturday. They actually played in Osaka on Friday, and I met a few people left the Dojo show who came to Hammer Sonic after it finished.

さ らに土曜日に、毎年外国の人気メタルバンドを呼ぶ「Extreme the Dojo」に名古屋場に言ってきた!今回遠く来てくれたのはグラインドの参内バンド「Pig Destroyer」と「Nasum」と「Napalm Death」だった!全部いっきに見れて本当にラッキーだった!

I was really honored to see Nasum on their farewell tour! It was my first time seeing them, they were really intense and the guest vocalist was awesome. 

I tried to take some video of Nasum, but I was in the middle of the mosh pit, so it is super shaky. Just try to imagine your are in the mosh pit while watching the video.


And finally, here is some video of Napalm Death. I used to listen to them in high school, but this is my first time to see them live, and I was really surprised to see how they are such nice guys, with a passionate and powerful message. They have been around for a long time, but they really haven’t lost their flame. After this show, they performed charity shows in the tsunami-stricken areas of Japan, and toured elsewhere, even playing in Korea with Hydrophobia, who I mentioned in my last blog entry.

そしてNapalm Death!いや、感動した!暴れた!昔からいるこのバンドは今となってもパッションを失うことないみたい。Napalm Deathはこの後も東北の方に行って震災寄付のためのライブも行ったそう。

The guys from all three bands stuck around a bit after the show, drinking, talking, and taking pictures/signing autographs for fans. Super friendly guys.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hiroshima Death Fest 2012 Live Report

About once every one or two months, death metal bands in Hiroshima host a death metal event called Death Metal Terror, featuring up-and-coming metal bands as well as veteran bands from around Japan. On July 14 was the culmination of these events, a get-together of a bunch of death metal bands around Japan at the Hiroshima Death Fest.

1、 2ヶ月に一回ぐらい、広島のデスメタルバンドは「デスメタルテラー」(略して「デステラ」)というイベントを主催している。若手のバンドや全国(たまに韓 国とかも)のベテランバンドが集まるイベントである。今回はこのシリーズの最高のイベント、「Hiroshima Death Fest」が、7月14日に行われた。

I went to the show with my new video camera to film the bands. I also wanted to get in the mosh pit, so I only filmed a couple of songs per band and then I took a break to get my circle pit on. I filmed all of the videos below unless otherwise specified.


Baked Bomb (Hiroshima)

Death Metal Terror events are hosted mainly by the three local bands, Baked Bomb, Neuroticos, and Blind Hate, and usually one of them will open the show, playing even before young up-and-comers and lesser-well-known out-of-towners. I think it’s a great way to get everyone to the venue to see all the bands.

デ スメタルテラーというイベントは三つのローカルバンド、Baked BombとNeuroticosとBlind Hateが主催する。その中の一バンドがよくオープニングアクトとして最初に出る。若手バンドやツアーバンドよりも前に演奏するから、みんなに最初から来 させ、全部のバンドを楽しむきっかけになり、とてもいいんじゃないかと思う。リスペクト。

Baked bomb is a great death metal band with an extra string on both guitars and the bass. They have great catchy yet brutal riffs interspersed with solos by each of the guitarists who make the most of their seven strings. The constant guttural vocals of the bass player, Makoto, complete the doom-like sound of this band.

Baked Bomb(通称「ベイクド」)は7弦ギター5弦ベースのスキルがレベル高い、すごいデスメタルバンド。

They’re all really nice and fun-loving guys. You’ll notice in the video their metal brothers giving them drinks on stage as they play. This is a common scene at Death Metal Terror shows, at once comical and punishing. Still, it does not do anything to take away from the quality of their performance, a testament to their professional playing level.

ベ イクドのみならず、広島メタラーのみなさんは楽しくていい人ばっかりです。下の動画では、バンドが引きながら飲ませられるところがあるが、デステラではよ く見られる光景。容赦ない行動だが、楽しい雰囲気も伝わる。しかも、そんな厳しい状況の中でも、ミュージシャンたちのスキルがさすが一切ブレない。

These guys were fun to talk to after the show as well. Makoto is always actively reaching out to non-Japanese speaking audience members who came to see the show and making them feel welcome.

Hell and Hell (Nagoya)

This was my first time seeing this band, so I didn’t know what to expect, so I was very pleased to see this band with thrashy riffs, a black-metal face painted vocalist that danced around the stage and into the crowd constantly, a giant gong placed in the middle of the crowd, and good beats and fun the whole time. Fun and friendly guys on and off stage, I recommend seeing this band if you want to have a good time.

こ のバンド初めて見たから、何を期待すればいいのかわからなかった。したら、スラッシーなリッフ、顔黒く塗って観客の中に入って踊りまくったボーカル、観客 エリアの真ん中に置かれたゴング、などなどで楽しくて大満足だった。演奏中でも演奏終わってからでもみんな楽しくてフレンドリーだった。

Gai Nega (凱nega) (Tokushima)

I didn’t know what to expect from an all-girl masked death metal band from a corner of Japan not known for metal (as far as I know anyways), but these girls really know how to tear it up. Unforgiving and brutal metal, I hope to see this band again sometime!


Neuroticos (Brazil/Hiroshima)

3 out of 4 members of this band are Brazilians based in Hiroshima, and they are proud of their Brazilian metal heritage (see: Krisiun, Sepultura). I love this band’s sound, so brutal, in your face, it gets the crowd moshing every time.


They are working on recording new music, some of which they played on this night. They put up a new track on youtube, give it a listen below.



When I heard Desecravity’s recorded music for the first time on Youtube, my jaw dropped. So much brutal technicality shoved into one song. When I saw them live for the first time, my jaw dropped again. Such an awesome performance. The video above doesn’t quite do them justice. I will be seeing them again when I get the chance. The guitars and drums are amazing, but I want to give a special mention to the bassist, who, in addition to moving his fingers constantly across the fretboard, is quite handsome. Check him out up close in the video above. This band seems to be getting some attention abroad as well! I will definitely be following these guys.

最 近このバンドの音源を始めてYOUTUBEで聴いたとき、テクニカルでブルータルな音がびっしり入っててマジで驚いた。ライブを見ても、すごい演奏にまた 圧倒された。ギターとドラムももちろんのこと、ベースの方もとてもかっこよかった。すばやくうごく指の引き方だけじゃなくて、ルックスもかなりハンサム だった。


Viscera Infest (Oita)

Another band to which words can’t do justice. If the words “metal” “death” “gore” “grind” “awesome” “fast” mean anything to you go get this band’s recordings, listen to their myspace, watch their videos, read about them on Metal Archives, do something. I seriously I thought I would die (happily) during their performance.

I don’t really know too much about the band, but there is something awesome about the fact that they use sound clips of horror movies in Spanish and that they have toured Mexico.


Clandestined (Aichi)

It was really great to be able to see this thrash/death band at the fest. They are pretty awesome and I hope to see them again. In the video above you can see the reunion of the bald metalheads of the night. Good times all around.


Hydrophobia (Fukuoka)

This death metal band has an awesome sound and stage presence. They often host metal shows called “Dead in Horror” in Fukuoka. I highly encourage you to check them out if you’re in the area.

このデスメタルバンドは圧倒的なパフォーマンスでかっこういい。福岡で「Dead in Horror」というメタルイベントをよく主催しているらしいから近くの人は遊びに行ってみてください。

Blind Hate (Hiroshima)

This like this death metal band more every time I see them. The crowd is always into them and they are really great guys. Thanks for the awesome show!


In closing, here is a photo of the tattoo booth at the show:

And the DJs for the night:

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Grind Show at Hokage 5.5.2012

Grind Show at Hokage 5.5.2012

A few American friends were coming to Kansai from out of town during Spring vacation, and told me they wanted to go to a metal show.

The best choice was a grind show at the Osaka venue Hokage, making this my third grind show in a row - as well as the third time in a row to see Mortalized. Which isn’t a bad thing, they get better every time.

Hokage is a small venue with no stage inside a concrete box, and most people probably don’t even notice it walking by. I highly recommend it for the heavy music, intimacy with the bands, and the cheap drinks.

I used this opportunity to try out the video camera on my new Samsung Galaxy S II to film a couple songs. Turns out that the video quality was great, but the sound quality was terrible. I will post a few videos below, but I highly recommend that you turn the volume to zero and play the bands’ actual records in the background.
このライブを機会に、新しく買ったサムスンギャラクシーSIIのビデオカメラを試すことにした。 結果としては、画質が優れていた反面、音の質が耐えられないほどひどい。下に動画を何個か載せるけど、ボリュームをゼロにすることをお勧めする。

Below are the bands that played, not in any particular order:

Kyoto metal disguised as grind. Enjoy the video. Again, the sound quality is terrible.

My video with bad sound:

Here is an actual song of theirs:

The guitar riffs were pretty simple, but the bassist was tearing it up, as was the drummer, who was as metal as anything. Check out their studio recordings on youtube, pretty awesome.

My video with bad sound:

Their awesome music:

“Real digital grind”
Digital drums and the guitar player plays his guitar more like a synthesizer. Pretty cool.

My video with bad sound:

(Prounounced Rosanna?) A hardcore band with a totally metal vocalist. Friendly guys.

My video with bad sound:

Bands at the show I missed (due to going late/ convenience store runs): Completed Exposition, Dantefone, John Doe

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Music Kenkyukai, a student-run metal band club

Ritsumeikan University has a pretty awesome metal cover-band student club called New Music Kenkyukai (New-Ken). They form cover bands of all kinds of genres, from rock bands like Queen and Motley Crue, to metal acts like Arch Enemy and Anthrax, to emo-core bands.

There are some really talented musicians in this club, and some New-Ken members go on to form bands after graduation.

New-Ken has been putting on shows this week in collaboration with other music clubs on campus in part to try and convince a few new students to join.

立命館大学では、「ニューミュージック研究会」(ニュー研)というメタルバンドコピー中心としたメッチャかっこいいバンドサークルがある。コピーバンドの幅はホントに広い:ハードロックのQueenとMotley Crueや、ガチメタルのArch EnemyとAnthrax、エモコアまでジャンルにこだわらずとりあえずかっこいい音を出す、って感じ。



Their main event is during the school festival in the fall, at the only metal event at a university in the Kansai area (I think). I highly recommend going to this. The students put a lot of work into each performance. Awesome guest bands from around Japan also play at this event.
ニュー研のメインイベントは立命館学際の一部として行われるRITS METAL。関西で唯一の大学メタルイベント(だっけ?)。

This weekend, at Growly, a venue near Nijo station in Kyoto, Kiba of Akiba (キバオブアキバ), a band featuring New-Ken members will play as part of Tokyo act Angagement’s tour.
Kiba of Akiba is just tons of fun. Just watch their official video to see what I mean.


Also playing is Kyoto’s female-fronted Japanese metal act AufHeben. They have lots of energy and Japanese metal is melodious and awesome.

The show is Sunday, April 22, Open 17:00 Start 17:30.
Link: http://growly.net/schedule/detail.html?year=2012&month=04&day=22&bd_id=78

Another band that features a New-Ken member is Apostosis, who just released an album and video

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March 29, Socrates Kyoto: Graf Orlock, Dangers, Mortalized, etc.

Thursday night. Finish work. Ride my bicycle down to Socrates, a live venue in Kyoto the size of my apartment.

I had just been to this venue the last Sunday to see a collaboration grind/hardcore show, and a couple of these bands hosted two bands on tour from the US: Dangers, a hardcore/punk (genre arguable) and Graf Orlock, a movie sound-clip infused grind band. I’d never heard of these bands before, but my grind fanatic friend told about Graf Orlock, and I didn’t want to miss the chance to bike down and see these young punk trailblazers for 1500 yen on their Japan tour. (Japan tours are the highlight of every indie/punk band’s career, right?)

Half the crowd was band members, and everyone was kinda chill being Thursday night and recovering from last Sunday’s show, but the bands’ performances were awesome.
The event is called Smell the Coffee (I saw Melt Banana before as part of the same event) and I understand it’s hosted by Ball Busters.


ツアーバンドとは、グラインドのGraf OrlockさんとハードコアバンドのDangersさん。近くでツアーバンドが見れる、しかも1500円で!見逃すわけにはいかない。


今回のイベントはSmell the Coffeeというイベント。前レジェンドのMelt Bananaを同じイベントでも見て、すごく楽しかった。このイベントはBall Bustersが主催してるようなことを聞いた

Bloodball, a local hardcore band, played Sunday’s show. I don’t know too much about them, but their name always appears on local hardcore event posters. Loud, energetic, brutal, tight hardcore. Their vocalist has tons of charisma and just makes me want to shout along. Once I figure out the lyrics...
Last Sunday, by the way, they played a packed show, everyone was into it, lots of fun. Actually this video explains it pretty well.

Ball Busters
Old-school hardcore riffs meshed with funky jamming sessions. This is a great band to listen to with a beer in your hand, until the vocalist comes diving at you.

Kyoto’s legendary three-piece grind band. Blistering fast drums, technical riffs mixed with some melancholic chords, and an awesome vocalist. If you’re in Kyoto, I highly recommend checking out this band.

I listened to them for the first time right before the show, which is too bad because this is a band worth knowing the lyrics beforehand. Really poetic and really vicious hardcore at the same time. Not quite old school, but never new-school emo breakdown stuff. They remind me a lot of broken-up Modern Life is War, whose hoodie I happened to be wearing that night.
The vocalist was really, really intense.

Graf Orlock
Graf Orlock’s wikipedia description is pretty awesome. Their show is too. The guitarist (also the guitarist for Dangers?) plays the samples before launching into shredding grind.

A member of a Tokyo band Endzweck was accompanying the bands, and he gave me his demo. Pretty cool stuff.

I also walked out with the tour shirt, two bands shirts in one!

That’s my show report! Stay tuned for more.