Review Summary: *Quack*
Maximum the Hormone is an unusual band. They manage to combine the insanity and energy of System of a Down with the brutality of the heaviest band you can think of. Just by looking at the album art you can already sense the madness, nonsense, and crudeness they have to offer in their fourth album Rokkinpo Goroshi (which means rock-impotence killer, try to make sense out of that). Random shouting, bleeping, and quacking (yes, the sound that a duck makes) is sprinkled all over the album. Why? The band just felt like it; you can definitely tell they had fun making this album and it'll give you a few chuckles and laughs. So what about the lyrics, are they beautifully crafted stories that will be forever remembered by the generations to come? Hahaha, I would be amazed if you could even understand what these guys are saying, even if you speak perfect Japanese. Most lyrics are gibberish that make no sense and are barely understandable by both English and Japanese speakers (its amazing how many Maximum the Hormone misheard lyrics videos there are on youtube). The only thing you will understand is the foul language that cannot mistake any listeners' ears. Despite the wackiness and immaturity demonstrated, this is a great album from a very versatile band, although very flawed.
Maximum the Hormone are probably best labeled as a metalcore/nu-metal band due to the heaviness of their music. However, with Rokkinpo Goroshi, the band takes a different approach, towards more of a punk rock/alternative metal classification. Songs are much less heavy than previous and later releases and focuses more on the "catchy" aspect more than "brutal". It is also an incredibly short album, clocking in only at 33:29 despite having 13 songs, with most songs being only about 2 minutes. This is where most of the album's flaws originate from. However, the highlights of the album highly overshadow the flaws. It is outstanding how Maximum the Hormone manages to incorporate so many different types of rock and other genres into their music without ever drifting away from their metalcore roots. Many songs incorporate alternative rock, punk rock, nu-metal, pop, ska, funk, rap, heavy metal, and many others but always manage to find their way back to metalcore. Songs manage to be both catchy and brutal, making you want to dance and headbang, and this is where the band shines.
The punk rock influence is the most apparent one on the album, which is instantly shown in the opening track, which is also the title track, Rokkinpo Goroshi. The song blends punk rock, funk rock, and alternative rock, giving you something similar to Red Hot Chili Peppers meets metalcore. The song is one of the best written and most enjoyable songs on the album. The song has a groovy bass line, nice tempo changes, and nice alternation between singing, screamo, and rapping. It is also the longest song on the album, even though it is only about 4 minutes long. Another interesting song, which breaks all the logic of the album, is the last track Koi no Kinako Watashi ni Kudasai, which is essentially a piano ballad sung by the female drummer, completely ridden of any rock aspects. While it is interesting to see such a contrast to the album, the song is only one minute thus it does not have much to offer.
The album also has some variation on vocal styles; the band's drummer, who is a female(awesome), also sings for the group. Her voice is much more melodic and poppy in contrast to the main vocalist who is more deeper and harsher in tone. Sadly, her vocals are not used to its full extent as it is later on in the band's career, but it is still used well. There is also rapping, which sounds very catchy and surprisingly fits well with the songs. And, of course, for the heavier moments there would a variation between more high pitched screams and deeper, more death metal-like growls. In terms of instrumentation, the music is great; the percussion and guitar playing is as great as any metalcore band and although it is nothing too original or technical, it gets the job done. One instrument that manages to impress me throughout the whole album is the bass. The bass work on this album is phenomenal. The bass has such a strong crunch to it that it usually overpowers the guitars, which, in this case, is a good thing. This is something is not incorporated into enough music, and it shows just how the bass can be a leader, not a follower. The bass solo in Uehara ～Futoshi～ is one of the best solos I have ever heard in my life, despite how short it is. How often do you hear a bass solo with such a crisp to it?
As great as the album is, there are quite a few flaws that need to be addressed. The biggest issue with the album is how short the majority of the songs are. Due to this, many of the songs suffer from really simplistic and clumsy songwriting. There's not much to find or expect from a two minute song which is lacking in many aspects we enjoy about music. Many of the songs just contain a verse-chorus-verse-chorus format, in most cases not even having any instrumental sections or solos. Many songs do not even have an outro and have intros about two seconds long, such as Nitro BB Sensou and Anaru Whisky Ponce. Nobody wants to listen to an album that feels like a bunch of filler tracks or rejected song ideas; which is exactly how to describe the majority of this album, unfinished song ideas. Many tracks could have been mashed together or could have at least had a solo or two to make the songs more varied and appealing. This is the reason that most of the album's highlights are the songs that are singles or over three minutes long, which leaves much more room for variety and more interesting/complex song structures.
Is the album worth a listen? Most definitely, especially if you are a fan of the band or a fan of rock in general, because there is a lot to find here. Although flawed, it is a solid release from a band that has the potential to become one of the best of this decade. Everyone knows they are capable of doing better, and that is exactly what they did with their next release Buiikikaesu. After you listen to this, I suggest you go listen to that album as it is far superior to this one and fixes upon everything that is wrong with this album.