Review Summary: For fans of metal, prog, rock, surf, and most of all cool music.
Daikaiju deserves more recognition than it gets - a lot more recognition. Much of the problem lies with the band but not because of the music quality. Daikaiju is based in the south but play surf music. Their band name and song names are obscure. They have an odd obsession with kabuki. They are entirely instrumental. They wear masks and use pseudonyms. They're primary sound (surf) went out of style 35 years ago, and is punctuated with metal sensibilities. Whatever the reason for these choices, it's a sure indicator that the band is doing it there way and not to court the mainstream. This is music for the love of making music.
Like most great bands, Daikaiju sports a rock-solid rhythm section. The drums are busy and propulsive. The bass likewise drives the beat while maintaining a sense of melody. Much like JP and Dan Maines of Clutch, neither are flashy individually, but combine to form a fantastic backing for the melody.
The rhythm guitars are tasteful and alternate between laying down foundation for the leads, while often intertwining with the lead for harmonization. The playing ranges from roaring to slow and slinky. Solos standout in spades. I'm most reminded of Opeth in this department not for the style but because they're so damn tasteful. It's not about speed, or range, or tone, but all three with a clear pronouncement on picking the right note at the right time and most importantly in the right context.
I can truly say I've never heard a sound like Daikaiju's. They do something that is a trademark of great bands; they sample influences of many different genres and make it into an distinct and cohesive sound all their own. Revolving around surf, Daikaiju incorporates most notably the bratty showmanship of progressive music and guitar centrism of progressive metal. Like their self-titled album, Phase 2 includes a smooth dub jam. The aforementioned Farewell to Monster Island was a highlight if not the best song from their first album. Here, Jellyfish Sunrise continues in the same vein, though not reaching quite the same epic highs. Other recommended tracks are Flight of the Garuda for a glimpse of the band's quintessential sound. The best track is probably Forcefield Lifts Over Neon City. It displays the creativity and fun that mark the band. It builds slowly but progressively with a catchy beat and melodic lead, reaching apex with a solo that will induce a refractory period.
For those enjoying the album or having difficulty finding this one, the 2005 self-titled release is on par with this one. As a final bonus, this band destroys live. Top notch energy. Guitarists play on the bar, in spectators' laps, in the parking lot, etc.