The Azukiwashers - Sirarponcaca review


4 users:
Band: The Azukiwashers
Album: Sirarponcaca
Release date: August 2020

01. Chou-Kyodai Kaisen Nabe 2
02. Death Metal Chahan
03. Zounkobi
04. Kubinashi-Gozen Youkai Kubinashi BBA
05. Mikoshi Masacre
06. Nakaochi Robo
07. Majigire Circus
08. Burning Illusion
09. Gokuraku-Jyodo Land
10. Namekuji Attack

A lot of Japanese rock and metal tends to be so melodic as a matter of course that the lines between "pop music" and "other stuff" get blurred; it can be difficult to tell when a band is really breaking the rules and when it's just incorporating elements endemic to Japan's heavy music scene. But those artists usually sit on that heavy-power-speed-pop-rock tectonic convergence, where there is already some overlap; for The Azukiwashers, the metal is death, the rest is shamelessly effervescent, and the contrast is obvious.

The Azukiwashers have been sticking genres where they don't belong for just over a decade now, and even their earliest releases reflect what is kind of a progressive take on the melody-metal fusion, but this is the first I've encountered them (and before you solidify your expectations, note that this is an all-male rock band with no idol involvement of any kind). Sirarponcaca fearlessly treads over jocund indie rock, bass-driven dance beats, and sports anime OPs in its mission to spread hooks all over the world, but when it breaks into the next style, it wants you to know: rapid-fire riffing, blast beats, and growls constitute the album's metal side. Compositionally, the transitions are well-engineered; the first minutes of "Mikoshi Masacre" and "Majigire Circus" bounce along with the summery swing of a boardwalk rock band before undergoing violent transformations. "Kubinashi-gozen Youkai Kubinashi BBA" takes an entertaining detour into unnerving calm, delivering with its dissonant guitar and creepy crooning a perfect imitation of a nu metal song just before the breakdown hits and Jonathan Davis goes buck-wild with his gibberish.

As a proof-of-concept that you can take the heavier and lighter sides of your sound to further extremes and still combine them effectively, Sirarponcaca succeeds. Where the album loses its hold on me is the execution. Yu Sawada is not confident enough as a vocalist to guide the songs through their clean passages; his voice wavers and breaks a bit as he reaches for the high notes needed to accompany the bright melodies, and I just can't say I'm a big fan of his sound to begin with. The harsh vocals that accompany the heaviest segments really amount to a modicum of rudimentary growling sprinkled about for seasoning, never extending into full verses and noticeably lacking in depth. The songs themselves leave me with little to chew on; they're bright and fun sometimes, and there are particular moments that I find memorable, but 95% of the album exits my head as soon as I stop listening to it. When I'm in the mood for a sound like this, I want songs that will stick to my ears like a hedgehog in a bowl of marshmallows, and none of these fit the bill.

The obvious comparison that I've been avoiding thus far is Maximum The Hormone, who make a living off similar rapid, drastic shifts from catchy pop-punk to destructive alt metal. MTH is on a completely different level from The Azukiwashers when it comes to instrumental prowess, songwriting, and especially vocal flexibility, and The Azukiwashers are sufficiently original that they fill a different void, but I imagine that fans of one will find something to enjoy about the other. Personally, though I'd be curious to see how The Azukiwashers continue to evolve, I'll probably just go back to Yoshu Fukushu and call it a day.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 9
Production: 7


Written on 03.10.2020 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 34 users
03.10.2020 - 19:05
Hehe they have "caca" in their album title
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
03.10.2020 - 19:07
JoHn DoE
Written by RaduP on 03.10.2020 at 19:05

Hehe they have "caca" in their album title

I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.

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