Review Summary: What would happen if a group within the worldwide renowned "J-pop idol" scene had a chaotic mental breakdown and slaughtered all within the scene with brutal force? ... Well, you would get this lovely group.
One can certainly argue that the Japanese idol groups are not very unique anymore. The days of Speed, Zard and early day Morning Musume are far behind us, and the trend for J-pop idol groups tend to be based around electropop, with groups like AKB48 and Morning Musume fighting tooth-and-nail for control of the current idol scene in Japan. But that is not to say that there aren't groups out there who dare to be different. Who move to the beat of its own drummer, who bleed and growl with the best of the metal frontwomen of today. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Brand-new Idol Society. Brand-new Idol Society (often referred to as BiS for short, not to be confused with the Scottish indie pop giants from over a decade ago) formed in 2008, and initially consisted of a few young women who were apparently sick and tired of the J-pop idol trend, and decided to create their own path in the scene, and to follow a path which no other idol groups before them DARED to embark on. That path would consist of everything that "idols" aren't, typically, supposed to do... you know, full-blown nudity, blood splattered all over their cutesy clothing, occult themes... things like that. It may be a stretch, but from the surface, Babymetal can be comparable to the chaotic style of Brand-new Idol Society, but even that would be a clumsy comparison, due to Brand-new Idol Society's rather "mature" approach and Babymetal's more "childlike" and "cutesy" approach. With the release of their 2010 debut album, "Idol is Dead", Brand-new Idol Society took the underground J-pop scene by storm, and created a revolution full of violence, sex, and good ol' fashioned Japanese "idol" pop.
The album kicks off with the slamming "Idol is Dead", which puts a hammer through the teeth of the mainstream J-pop giants of today. The song itself follows a frantic, glitchy metalcore sound with frontwoman, Pour Lui, shrieking and growling along the pyro-filled track. The chorus is the only thing slightly poppy about the track, with its slight electropop elements glittering, balanced with dual vocals by Lui, which consists of shrieks and growls, and a slight cleanly sung vocal style. A balls-to-the-wall track, and a great one to start the album off with, especially to those who aren't familiar with the group. "Ash" is one of the best songs on the album hands down, as it takes the slight electropop elements from "Idol is Dead", and amplifies them to the max with the already established metal styling. Lui is shown crooning along the glitched track, and the celestial metal-pop track, while not perhaps ideal on paper, ends up being a sheer masterpiece. "PPCC" is a slightly more relaxed song, akin to "Ash", only more straightforward. The track, in total, can sound like a more aggressive version of Scandal (a hugely popular Japanese all-female pop rock band), and is a pretty good track that shows the group's worth in a melodious aspect.
"Nerve" is another highly melodious track which shows the band's pop side. The track has the potential to be a chart topper, but is undoubtedly done entirely in tongue-in-cheek, especially with the album's material thus far. One can think of this as a sly parody of "idol" like groups of today. Nonetheless, an addictive and hum-worthy track that will remain fresh in your consciousness for a while. "Our Song" sounds like a mixture of Supercar and Zone, laced together with shoegazey elements and pure pop atmosphere. A brilliantly done track, and definitely one of the most creative ones on the album. "My Ixxx" is a track that bleeds influence from groups like (once again) Zone and Whiteberry, both of whom pioneered the "idol rock" scene, which blasted into mainstream popularity a few years after their formations. The song follows a pop-alt rock style, and sounds like an aged track from the early 2000's, making an interesting track as a whole. After another song performed in that style ("Hitoribochi"), the album kicks back up to high gear with the overly aggressive track, "Idol". The track orchestrates Brand-new Idol Society's nightmarish satire of idol groups, and ends up, in a nutshell, sounding pretty badass. With appropriately done song progressions (especially leading up to the chorus), the track ends up being another golden track on the album, with haunting yelps and growls thrown in all throughout the song. A fantastic song without a doubt. "Primal", the final song on the album, revisits the lighter style from previously. The song's spaciness and strings make the song a keeper, and definitely a suitable closer to the screwy, disarrayed, and gorgeous rollercoaster of an album.
With this album, Brand-new Idol Society prove to be a force to be reckoned with. With their brute force mixed together with the bubblegum flavoring of mainstream Japanese pop, Brand-new Idol Society create a sound that even the biggest J-pop satirists couldn't dream of. Take out your AKB48 albums and torch 'em now, because I have a feeling that the teen "idol" may die after all, and replaced with something much more spectacular. And Brand-new Idol Society will be in the frontlines, marching along the mangled corpses of both Onyanko Club and SMAP.