JAPANESE MUSIC MEGAPOST: BABYMETAL, MINAKO KOTOBUKI & AOI EIR

By Paris365 on March 15, 2016

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Release Date

all titles out now

Genre

J-Rock
J-Metal
J-pop

Label

various

BABYMETAL: KARATE

Babymetal have always been metal, to which end, yes, they've always been super heavy. But "Karate" goes beyond that to ultra-heavy with its rough, blistering riffage and bone crushing drums. It's also different from their previous singles in the sense that it has a very nu-metal vibe (at least in terms of the guitars). To that end, they do a better job of incorporating the best nu-metal ever had to offer in their sound than half the modern metal bands who are influenced by it here in the States. No wonder they're so astronomically popular.

Minako Kotobuki: Bye Bye Blue

I wouldn't dare say that Sphere member Minako Kotobuki's "Bye Bye Blue" is as heavy as Babymetal, but it's still pretty damn heavy. The beats sound like they might be programmed, yes, but, hey, those guitars are killer, scorching even. And her vocals are gorgeous, just brimming with enthusiasm. If you're a die-hard J-Rock fan, this might be a little too pop for your ears, but if you like J-Pop as well then this is a must-hear. The chorus alone is priceless. "Bye bye blue" indeed! The b-side is stellar as well. It's called "'YES'"; the title is in quotes, hence my typing it like that, to which end I have nothing but positive things to say about it. This one actually does sound like it has live drums and shreds like crazy, too. Hell, it's so wonderful it has me wishing she'd release more solo material, and I really, really love Sphere.

AOI EIR: ACCENTIER

Aoi Eir's "Accentier" is another one that walks the fine line between J-Rock and J-Pop. I suppose I could just go ahead and call it J-Rock. It has roaring guitars and even a scorching heavy metal guitar solo that's ripe for playing air guitar. But I'll leave that for you to decide. I'll simply say that it's a super invigorating tune with beaucoup energie. (OK, I had to use French because the title sounds French, although the actual verb meaning "to accent" is accentuer. But you get what it means, right?) There are two B-sides here, the first being "Close Friend," which is definitely not a J-rock song but a fairly mellow J-Pop song, so maybe you rockers shouldn't lay down your money just yet. Not that anyone has ever stopped halfway through one of my reviews and ordered something, but you get the idea. It is a nice and organic J-Pop song though, meaning that it sounds entirely produced by live instruments, not the cheesy J-Pop made by a cheap drum machine like 25% of the stuff I've heard lately. The second B-side, "春~spring~," is an equally organic J-Pop song and one that would be as J-Rock as "Accentier" if not for the fact that the verses have no guitars. Otherwise, it's damn near headbanging worthy (though not quite, hence the use of the word "near," just wanted to be clear about that).

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