Review Summary: A pretty impressive display of when nu metal is, virtually, done right.
In Japan, nu metal was (and is) never popular. With the exceptions of a few bands, like Rize, Maximum the Hormone and Dragon Ash (to an extent), nu metal never really proved popular. Still, there are a few bands circulating on the internet who attempted the nu metal sound, and ultimately failed. One of the most infamous examples of Japanese nu metal failure was the band Creepy Crawl, who were accused of (rightfully so) mimicking Korn's style to a T. The frontman even had the growling and non-human shrieks and whatnot of Jonathan Davis down. Still, there are a handful of bands in the Japanese nu metal scene that were actually... well, good. One of the primary examples is an obscure band named Suck Down. Suck Down formed in 1995, around the time when the nu metal genre blossomed, in Tokyo. The band enjoyed a cult following in the Japanese underground, and never made it big. Nonetheless, the band's material is quite well, and can be found pretty much anywhere. They debuted with the 2000 album, "First Impact Y2K", and with the apocalyptic sound that follows throughout the album, it lives up to its name.
The album starts off with radio static, before an anonymous radio DJ talks to the listener, readying them for the new millennium, and warning the listener not to "tell anyone about the show". The anonymous radio DJ then bellows out "Okay, here's our word. Fxxk you, Suck Down. See ya!", and the album kicks off with "Kill Time", which starts with a frantic hardcore-esque sound, before breaking down to a typical nu metal execution, which comes across like a cookie cutter nu metal track, with frontman, Ma, rapping and singing somewhat melodically (shocker). A decent track, but nothing special at all. "No End March" then comes on, which starts with a doom-ish opening, and then breaking down to a catchy flickery guitar lick. The track then goes off into a tribal drum style, and has Ma crooning over the switch-up. The track then goes back into the main doom-like sound, and breaks off into Ma speaking directly over the apocalyptic sound. A very good track, and is a definite pickup from "Kill Time", and shows what happens when you sort of play with the typical nu metal style. "D.W.S" has an angsty bite to it, and sort of follows the pattern of "Kill Time", in terms of a typical nu metal style... in fact, it is very similar structurally. But the angsty bite adds a bit of appeal, so it works decently. "Ants" is a track that comes out of left field, and is quite of a bizarre track for such a straightforward album. It opens up with staticy guitars layed over with a hypnotizing bass line, and has Ma crooning over the bizarre mixture. The track is a splendid one at that, due to the sheer artistic value of it (at least when paired together with the majority of the tracks on FIY2K"). And the solo speaks for itself. Impressive stuff.
Unfortunately, the nu metal artsiness has a semi-stop with the next track, "Trapped in Youth". This track sort of mixes the style of "Ants" with the rest of the straightforward nu metal style of "First Impact". The bass line and ranting of Ma is sure to talk to the inner nu metal kid in every rock fan. A nice, chaotic song, with a pretty good layout to it. The next track, "Melt", goes back to the traditional nu metal execution, as shown in the earlier tracks of the album. Nothing too special, but makes decent filler, and thanks to the driving bass and faded in screams during the chorus, it makes for not a complete album killer. "Suck Down", the next track on the album, starts off with a suspecting bass line, and a few progressive drum rolls, before kicking off with a melodious blastoff. The track is actually one of the few radio friendly nu metal tracks on the album that is really good, and would've worked wonders as a single. Catchy enough to be a hit, but rebellious and angsty enough to speak directly to the nu metal kid. Nice stuff. The album then closes with the final track, "Wanna Be", which revisits the earlier nu metal straightforwardness more directly, while maintaining a semi-disorderly structure. An okay closer song, but leaves a good amount to be desired. The album then closes off, with the radio DJ welcoming the listener to the new millennium, and, once again, enforcing "not to tell anyone" about the show, and then laughs, as the radio static regains.
In conclusion, "First Impact Y2K" is a great album for what it is: nu metal almost done perfectly. However, if you are NOT a fan of nu metal, then this album probably won't win you over. Nonetheless, the album is pretty damn good by itself, and timing in at a little over a half hour, the album is not too long either. A nice little treat for the few existing nu metal heads out there.