The 69 of 2014

Review

by Leela McMullen, chi.yow, Aki, Amy, posted January 1, 2015

AlbumsSingles

girugamesh – GRAVITATION

Hot on the heels of their smashing return with MONSTER, girugamesh are keeping their blades honed. GRAVITATION is a fresh arsenal of inspired modern rock. Only five tracks long, it barely scrapes into the mini album category but far trumps any singles in its all-around strength and variety.

Go ahead” leads the charge and establishes this release as truly unique, starting off with an ethereal beauty grounded by Satoshi’s baritone that explodes in an aggressive barrage of drums and death voice. Just when it seems this piece couldn’t get any more eclectic, the high-pitched female backing vocals jump in to keep listeners from getting too comfortable and then the machine-gun riffs, ominous clock ticks, and music box chimes team up again just for fun. This is truly a hard to beat track in terms of creativity and excitement and it’s damn good, to boot.

The opening strains of “gravitation” could almost be mistaken for a misplaced track by Matenrou Opera but the displacement is belied by the forthcoming full force of girugamesh’s rhythm section in war mode. The group retain their recent sense of positive lyric and fighting spirit in the chorus of “gravitation” to make this a strong piece, although it is somewhat diminished in the shadow of “Go ahead.”

Not Found” has another new tone; one that smacks of revolution and forging a better world. The feeling of hope and rejuvenation generated amidst the hail of bass, drum, and death voice is astonishing and commendable. Those heavy aspects seem to be the most common among this mini album and tie the bipolar “reflection” in with this revolutionary release. From hip hop to death voice to a snippet of what seems like a melodic chorus comes an exercise in aggression and experimentation in rap forms followed by some scratching. This song is an ever-changing gauntlet that only returns to its chorus as a last resort. The composition defies formula and gives listeners something to be shocked by in a world of predictable plot twists. As the final track, “Vortex” has a lot to live up to and settles for offering up another feast of unrelenting drums and growls as if to bring the underlying theme binding this eclectic mini album to a head in a song of its own.

GRAVITATION has an impeccable center of gravity in the barrage of sound filling each track but the various techniques, melodies, effects, and additional sounds that orbit each piece are what define and diversify it. “Go ahead” is by far the most unique, and that sentiment extends beyond the range of just GRAVITATION or other works by girugamesh into the wider musical arena, putting girugamesh back at the forefront of experimentation and forward movement of the Japanese scene.

5 track CD

Track list

  1. Go ahead
  2. gravitation
  3. Not Found
  4. reflection
  5. Vortex

Leela McMullen is a strong believer in the philosophy "no music, no life." Having traversed the range of Japanese fandoms, she found her home at last in visual kei and has made it her mission to share what she loves most with the world. Leela completed her B.A. in Japanese language from Griffith University in Gold Coast Australia. She now lives and works in Japan, striving to bring you the goods, hot from the scene. Follow her on twitter for juicy hints of upcoming articles if you've got a bit of Japanese language under your belt! http://twitter.com/#!/LeelaInTokyo

Chi’s interest in visual kei stems from her love of art. The unique aesthetics in combination with the wide range of musical styles within the genre have been what has kept her interest in the visual kei scene for over a decade. The main image her friends and classmates have of her is with a camera in hand, face behind the viewfinder or screen. This image is also occasionally combined with memories of running around her to avoid getting into her panorama shots.

Aki is an adventurous soul and an artistic jack of all trades who has followed her heart and dreams to Japan. Here she has found a way to combine her deeply rooted love for rock and metal with her ever growing love for artistic expression. She has long since confessed to being a helpless music addict with a strong preference for Japanese visual rock and metal, and writing for Rokkyuu has become another way for her to share what she loves with the world.

Amy happened across Dir en grey on a used computer and became enamored by the aesthetics and androgyny of visual kei. Amy studied Japanese at university, including a year studying abroad in Tokyo. Interests include anime and manga, reading, learning languages, playing guitar, and holding on to the futile dream of one day meeting Johnny Depp. Amy hopes to bring the overseas fans closer to the bands they love by translating material related to them.

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