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Zeus

Recommended Tracks from Summer 2018

Recommended Tracks From Summer 2018 - Your Favorites  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. Vote for everything you listened to and liked.

    • "くしゃみ" (Kushami) by まみれた (Mamireta)
      5
    • "Lemoned" by NITRO DAY
      0
    • "New Order" by Mass of the Fermenting Dregs
      2
    • "Obliterator" by JILUKA
      3
    • "Knight of Sword" by Unlucky Morpheus
      2
    • "MAD [K]" by DIMLIM
      5
    • "絶縁体 (Zetsuentai)" by Dir en grey
      9
    • "Raununculus" by Dir en grey
      9
    • "今宵は飄逸なエゴイスト ~ Ego,Schizoid,Beat." by Demetori
      1
    • "make my story" by lenny code fiction
      0
    • "RED SWAN" by YOSHIKI feat. HYDE
      4
    • "GROTESQUE" by DIMLIM
      10
    • "Renatus" by lynch.
      5
    • "Etude of solitude" by toe
      4
    • "からかひ" (Karakai) by Sweet William と 青葉市子 (Ichiko Aoba)
      2


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The Official Review team is back with the perfect accompaniment to the avalanche of Halloween candy and pumpkin spice lattes you're about to destroy your body with: the best j-tunes of the summer! This quarter includes a great variety of visual kei, J-Rock, and whatever the heck genre you'd call that second track that @CAT5 wants us to listen to. Come discover some new music that we've curated for you, or re-listen to your favorites now enhanced by the critiques of your favorite Monochromians. Let us temporarily transport you away from your boring job (at least in spirit if not in reality). Agree with our picks? Think we're idiots and shouldn't even be allowed to listen to music much less act as taste makers for the community? Good! Tell us why below.

 

 

@The Reverend's picks

 

"くしゃみ" (Kushami) by まみれた (Mamireta)

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First things first; let's acknowledge the silly necessity of putting a cartoon nose at the end of the track title ("Kushami" means sneeze). I can read hiragana and didn't notice that the first few times I watched the video for the newest sloppy but fun track from まみれた (Mamireta).

 

Second; this song and video are probably the best representation from the band so far for what to expect if you get to see them perform live. Vocalist Batsu will absolutely be making lots of weird sounds, will be a constant blur of motion, will break dance at some point, and will be taunting the crowd every chance he gets.

 

"Kushami" isn't まみれた 's best song (that distinction goes to the indomitable "お邪魔します"; both a blessing and a curse that they released such an absolutely great song at the beginning of their career) but it's a short blast of the kind of swirling, manic but still catchy indies-VK that is unique to the genre and has convinced me to stick around for more than a decade.

 

 

"Lemoned" by NITRO DAY

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Proving that you can be directly influenced by musicians that died a decade before you were born, NITRO DAY are channeling Bleach-era Nirvana on the title track from their new EP Lemoned and I have been bumping it all summer.

 

I'd be criticizing an older band for being too nasally and derivative, but a bunch of teenagers can absolutely pull off whiny vocals that crack when put under pressure and a video filter that may as well be called "Sonic Youth".


'Lemoned' is catchy as hell, full of a young energy that never crosses into cynically angst, and will absolutely make you jealous cause your high school band sucked and never once sounded as cool as these kids do. Bonus points for not sexualizing the two girls in the band at all.

 

"New Order" by Mass of the Fermenting Dregs

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Mass of the Fermenting Dregs are back! After lineup changes and a hiatus these power-shoegaze (is that new genre I just made up a good descriptor?) pioneers are releasing their first full album in eight years and I am absolutely here for Natsuko's slightly matured voice freaking calling me to heaven atop some tasty, fuzzy guitar licks.

 

This lead single and first song on the new album wastes no time announcing their return with a driving drum beat, the camera zooming in on Natsuko while she reminds us she's still got it, and the new guitarist proving he can create a dreamy riff with the best of 'em. By the time we get to the last refrain where the vocals really start to get forceful and emotive I'm actually a little upset they broke up for nearly a decade denying us two or three kick-ass albums they probably could've made in that time. Not as frenetic as their previous albums could get, but if this doesn't get your head bobbing and spark a desire to look up the lyrics so you can sing along I don't know what would.

 

 

 

@YuyoDrift's picks

 

"Obliterator" by JILUKA

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Having suffered JILUKA withdrawals for the past 6 months, it was only a matter of time before I gave into my visual kei itch and checked out their new album Metamorphose. Curiosity well justified, as I find “Obliterator” among the many explosive tracks inside. It stands to be one of the best JILUKA tracks that I’ve heard in a while. It's a metalcore roller coaster that you simply can't get off of; you’re there for the entire ride. I found myself involuntarily headbanging, something I thought I gave up years ago haha. Definitely a beast of a track to check out this quarter, but unfortunately no samples of this marvelous track are online.

 

"Knight of Sword" by Unlucky Morpheus

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I’ve been saying this for years, but FUKI is one of the best vocalists of this era. Period. “Knight of Sword” from their new album Change of Generation is a great testament to her raw talent, and the bands continued affinity for symphonic speed metal. This time they take inspiration from the anime Fate Stay Night to give the track its very own story. From the Touhou-like musical arrangement, to the battle-scene like guitar solo, if you’ve never heard of Unlucky Morpheus, then let “Knight of Sword” tell you all about them.

 

 

"MAD [K]" by DIMLIM

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It’s no surprise that DIMLIM’s CHEDOARA has been well received by the community here on MH, as it stands to be one of the most distinguished works of 2018. This album packs some punches, and "Mad [K]" is no slouch. This track injects such a high dose of their signature "brutal-kei" to the senses, you’d question anyone who doesn't spin that fucking volume dial all the way up in tribute. 

 

"絶縁体 (Zetsuentai)" by Dir en grey

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Having not given my thoughts on the album yet, I feel that words needs to be said about the many gems discovered at every listen of The Insulated World. One of these in particular is the epitome of what Dir en grey is to me, bundled into one track that they’ve decided to title “絶縁体” (Zetsuentai). Working at their best pacing to date, there is a subtle nuance of emotion placed in both the arrangement and lyrics of this track that brings feelings of lament to us all who listen. I haven’t enjoyed something like this since the eras of Withering to death. and The Marrow of a Bone. Do yourself a favor if you are a visual kei fan, new or old, and add this to your collection of sleeper hits this quarter. You won't regret it.

 

 

@Zeus's picks

"Raununculus" by Dir en grey

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Dir en grey is the type of band that wants to outdo themselves every time they release a new album, and the ways that they try to improve range from blatant to understated. What they have achieved with "Raununculus" falls on the more subtle side. Gone are the days when the band would slap terrible MIDI synth over death core and market the song as a symphonic version. All of those attempts sound childish in comparison to "Raununculus", which uses real piano and string instruments to give the song much needed body and depth. It's one of the band's most mature and memorable ballads in recent memory. It embodies the sound of a band becoming more comfortable dabbling in elements that have so far eluded their mastery, and it sounds great both with and without the context of The Insulated World framing how the song is perceived. It's a couple of hairs short of epic, but "Raununculus" rubs shoulders with some of Dir en grey's best ballad material. It's worth a listen, even if Dir en grey isn't your type of music.

 

 

"今宵は飄逸なエゴイスト ~ Ego,Schizoid,Beat." by Demetori

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It has been fascinating to watch the evolution of Demetori while watching numerous other circles in the doujin scene change direction or crumble to time and lack of interest or dedication. While it feels like some bands run out of ideas, Demetori continuously stay creative and improve. They've turned more progressive and complex with time, and starting their newest album 瑰狂鬱嵂 (kaikyou utsuritsu) with a nine minute banger boss theme cover of "今宵は飄逸なエゴイスト ~ Ego,Schizoid,Beat." (Tonight stars an easygoing egoist) proves it. It's most impressive when you do a before and after comparison, because Demetori makes it very easy to forget that this is a video game theme, so I included the official live cover of the song and then their version. The Teramae brothers remain a step ahead of everyone else in the game as usual, and make an excellent addition to the power metal or progressive metal collections of anyone not afraid of a little Japanese anime among their artwork.

 

 

 

"make my story" by lenny code fiction

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If you pay any attention to what's new in anime, then you probably have heard of My Hero Academia, the newest shounen to break records and gun for the pantheon of anime classics such as One Piece, Dragonball Z, and Bleach. The animation quality and music choices for this show have been top notch so far, but I think that lenny code fiction has made the most memorable intro for this anime yet. Considering they were going up against the kings of anime openings themselves, UVERworld, I would like to think that this is high praise. There's something about that introduction riff that gets my blood pumping each time, and "make my story" strikes a nice balance between hard rock and sensible pop melodies. I make it a habit of skipping introduction themes after a few weeks, but I always made time for this one.

You know what you have to do now.

 

"RED SWAN" by YOSHIKI feat. HYDE

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The second anime opening theme of the summer to make an appearance on this list is the new opening for season three of Attack on Titan, penned by none other than the infamous YOSHIKI of X JAPAN with Hyde of L'arc~en~ciel on vocals. A heartfelt, piano driven ballad is a unique and daring choice to open such a visceral, action-packed anime, and for the first few weeks I wasn't sure if it was the right choice. Eventually, I was able to tease out the thematic links between the visuals in the opening, the lyrics in the song, and the direction of the anime for this season. YOSHIKI still has the potential to deliver amazing songs when he is confident in his material. Divorced from its anime connections and any X JAPAN resentment you may be harboring, it's a very good song. We have to wait for X JAPAN to record their version of the song before releasing their upcoming album - which has been cooking for well over a decade by now -  but until then, this version will do nicely.

 

 

"GROTESQUE" by DIMLIM

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It was difficult to choose a DIMLIM track from CHE DO ARA to recommend, since there are so many good ones, but I eventually settled on "GROTESQUE". The first proper song on the album does a good job at two things: highlighting how far DIMLIM have come and showcasing how they can mix and match light and heavy styles without sounding forced or awkward. "GROTESQUE" does all of this in under three minutes. Vocalist Sho is reminiscent of the best parts of D.I.D's Akane and Dir en grey's Kyo - and from our live reports we can confirm that he is not relying on studio magic for those shrieks and growls - and the rest of the band finally found some low end heaviness, ditching the static and clicky drum sets from earlier releases which undermined their attempts to be taken seriously. DIMLIM has matured significantly with CHE DO ARA and I am comfortable recommending them to anyone looking for some modern visual kei to head bang to.

 

 

"Renatus" by lynch.

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 XIII is in many ways a typical album, and "THIRTEEN" is in many ways a typical lynch. promotional track, and neither one of those things are a bad thing, but the real gem of XIII is the emotional "RENATUS". "RENATUS" is a great example of how established bands can find a way to surprise long time fans even when they have a defined sound and structure they like to stick to. This is lynch. expanding their sound into new territories while sounding familiar, a feat they haven't set out to accomplish since I BELIEVE IN ME, and "RENATUS" is just a rock ballad at its core. This song is definitely worthy of a music video, and I can only imagine the beautiful imagery that would come along with it. They can grab my interest a lot more quickly if they promote tracks like this as a single in the future.

 

@CAT5's picks

"Etude of solitude" by toe

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toe is a band that takes their time releasing new music. It's been roughly 3 years since their 3rd album "HEAR YOU", and although the quartet dropped a compilation album early in 2018, I hadn't expected brand new material from them so soon. The aptly titled "Our Latest Number" EP blessed our ears in late August with four stellar songs. Stylistically, it picks up right where "HEAR YOU" left off, but the tracks here are played with more refinement and intention. "Etude Of Solitude" is definitely my favorite of the bunch (tho not by much). The song embraces Afrobeat-like rhythms and guitar playing, while remaining uniquely math-rock - and distinctly toe. Brilliant.

 

"からかひ" (Karakai) by Sweet William と 青葉市子 (Ichiko Aoba)

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Ichiko Aoba is among the ever-decreasing pool of artists that still manage to get me unreasonably excited for new music, so I knew this song would be stellar despite having never heard of Sweet William. Turns out he's an up-and-coming hip hop producer, and I was right - this song is the s#%t! It's an unlikely collaboration for sure - an ethereal, folk songstress crooning over a chill, boom-bap beat - and yet it works so incredibly well! Melodically, the song is gorgeous and the production is pretty much perfection. Each sound is pristine and intricately measured, yet it all sounds entirely organic. It's too bad that this song is only a one-off single, but this is easily a musical highlights of 2018 for me.

 

:wan-21: Thanks for reading! :wan-21:

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Nice list, team! I'm sorry I couldn't contribute officially this time, but these would have been my picks:

  • "Brightly, Brightly" by DIMMDIVISION. - shoegazey goodness from my fave inactive boiz (check it out on YouTube)
     
  • "獣ゆく細道 (kemono yuku hosomichi)" by Shiina Ringo and Miyamoto Hiroji - the queen is back with a return to her lush jazz sound that would be at home in a spy movie soundtrack or a Jacques Demy musical; would have been perfect on her Heisei Fuuzoku album from 2007 (check it out on Spotify)
     
  • "DISCO (rerecording)" by 女王蜂 (Ziyoou Vachi a.k.a. QUEEN BEE) - a rerecording of their chaotic classic; a bit too clean, but for those who aren't loving their current direction, this is at least an attempt to bridge their two sounds (check it out on Spotify)
Edited by fitear1590

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Of the stuff I've listened to the clear winners are DEG and DIMLIM, but I haven't checked out any of the non-vkei stuff listed yet. Excited to listen to new toe and heck out NITRO DAY, sounds like they could have a place in my playlist based off of the description. I've also never given Mass of the Fermenting Dregs a try, so I'm going to rectify that later.

I was unaware of new Shiina, fitear1590. I love when she goes full cinematic, really looking forward to checking that out.

As always, thanks for putting this list together everyone.

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