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#112: 覇道明王by 陰陽座

Featured Review Poll 112  

12 members have voted

  1. 1. Did this review get you curious to check out this band?

    • Never heard of them before and I might go further.
      3
    • Never heard of them before and this isn't interesting me.
      1
    • Already know of them, all over this album.
      7
    • Already know for them, don't care for them.
      1
    • I'm just here for the jokes.
      0


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:_9/10_: | How does a band that delivers the same music for over 15 years defy expectations?

 

Like DEATHGAZE and lynch., 陰陽座 (Onmyouza) is that type of band that sticks to their guns and delivers the same style of music with each release. Also like DEATHGAZE and lynch., 陰陽座 (Onmyouza) is the kind of the band that won't do much to change your mind, no matter how many times they come knocking at your door with a new sales pitch. When I was a J-music novice, I thought being one-dimensional was a bad thing because I rated diversity much more highly than I probably should have, mostly due to the way many visual kei bands use diversity as a musical condiment. What is more important to me now is that a band delivers every time they announce a new song or album. While the two visual kei bands I mentioned earlier haven't been the paragons of consistency, 陰陽座 definitely is. There's not an album in their catalog that I would consider sub par - this is impressive with a career spanning almost twenty years and fifteen albums - and their newest album, 覇道明王, continues that trend.

 

I'll take the time now and say that if what you've heard in the past has done nothing for you, just listen to the first track "覇王". If that does nothing for you, you are free to go. I have nothing to say that will change your mind. If, however, you have never heard of this band before or "覇王" actually caught your interest, then welcome to what is perhaps the most metal album ever. This feels like, but also far outstrips, 2007's 魔王戴天 (Maoutaiten). 覇道明王 has zero chill, and from the opening piano chords of "覇王" to the fading guitar of "無礼講", 覇道明王 has the potential to keep you hooked without wanting a pause. Unlike past albums, there's no token seven minute ballad to bore you to sleep, or attempts at infusing disparate genres like pop punk and classic rock into their distinct brand of heavy metal. It's straightforward, punishing, rewarding, and everything I never knew I really wanted from this band.

Whenever I finish the intoxicating experience of listening to a new 陰陽座 album for the first time, I always wonder how the next one will surpass this one. They don't always manage to raise the bar, but they never completely shit the bed either. The last four albums in a row have consistently impressed me, but I don't think there's an album of theirs that's clicked as quickly as this one. Unfortunately, I cannot give it a perfect score because I believe it's a tad overwhelming for an initiate to sit through without wanting a breather. However, I'm confident in recommending this album to anyone that likes metal with subtle Japanese flair, dual female and male vocals, or just wants something new to listen to. This is as good of a place as any to jump in if you are unfamiliar with this band.

 

 

 

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I have yet to listen to this one (completely missed the release date), but having enjoyed the hell out of their last albums, I wasn't even worried this wouldn't be quality. Still a relief to see they seem to have delivered again. Thanks for the review and the heads-up!

Edited by saishuu

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Couldn't agree with you more. New Onmyou-za is always a treat and I thoroughly enjoy both their consistency and each of their releases.

I remember hearing Kouga Ninpuchou way back when I was an un-learned weaboo and it blew my nerdy socks off. This album is no different – It's got plenty of power, and a lot more Matatabi than usual. Whereas I can get a little 'sick' of Kuroneko's vocals after repeated listening, he never gets old for me. There's just something about his very samurai-esque voice that works so well with the music they make.

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Will be keen to check this out after your very positive review. Onmyouza was the first japanese band I listened to, and I listened to all their albums up until Maou-Taiten (that was all that was out at the time) religiously. I tried dipping back in once or twice since then, but had trouble enjoying the new material ( though it seems like they've released a lot between Maou-taiten and now). I'm optimistic to check it out.

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13 hours ago, reminiscing2004 said:

Will be keen to check this out after your very positive review. Onmyouza was the first japanese band I listened to, and I listened to all their albums up until Maou-Taiten (that was all that was out at the time) religiously. I tried dipping back in once or twice since then, but had trouble enjoying the new material ( though it seems like they've released a lot between Maou-taiten and now). I'm optimistic to check it out.

I'm really curious to know how you feel about the first track!

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Just finished listening to this for the first time. There's no doubt in my mind that I like it better than the previous one, which was already great. Super solid and aggressive from start to end. An absolute joy, to be honest. Favorite thing in the entire album has got to be that bass solo in 一本蹈鞴. It was freaking brilliant.

 

Never in a million years I expected to like Onmyouza this much, but they get higher and higher in my favorites list with each album they put out. This is for sure gonna be one of my all-time favorites with more time I give to it.

Edited by saishuu

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Great review Zeus.

I like this album a lot, thrashy and heavy. This is one of the most solid of the band and a great Japanese metal album.

 

As for Japanese metal I also suggest you to listen to something from Anthem, Ningen-Isu, Loudness, Show-Ya and  Seikima-II

Edited by Moon

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