Review Summary: Full of rampant speed-thrash goodness, Sex Machineguns's second album proves to be their true magnum-opus.
Although Japan is now known for their cutesy, sugary and occasionally unique pop idols, the country also managed to brew up some successful heavy metal acts. With groups like X Japan and Seikima-II on the battleground of the scene, the Sex Machineguns managed to have some impressive success throughout the late 1990's and early 2000's. Known for their comedic lyrics and neck-breaking blend of thrash and speed metal, the group soon found its niche on the mainstream scene. While it may not be their most successful release (that achievement would go to their 2002 album, "Ignition", which reached number 3 on the Oricon charts), their 1999 album, "Made in Japan", remains their most impressive release, critically speaking, as it has a nice blend of confrontational in-your-face thrash with some impressive speed skill interjected into the mix as well.
The album's true starting moment, "Tekken II", is a ravenous kicker of a track, full of hostility, with frontman Anchang shrieking vocals of frustration and rage, and the execution and style of the lyrics ends up being a slight ode to the video game franchise, Tekken (of course). The "Tekken II" track ends up being, not only one of the standout tracks, but also one of the group's true signature tracks, for apparent reason. "Illusion City" has a nice melodious ring to it, with speed-driven guitars colliding together with melodic rhythm guitars, and the whole song ends up having a nice epic feel to it. Easily another standout memorable track on the album. The solo is also particularly fantastic as well. "Magnum Fire" has a punk-inspired sound to it, although Anchang's vocals in this track seem to be quite reminiscent to the operatic and metallic vocals of Demon Kogure of Seikima-II. "American Z" exercises the more power metal side of Sex Machineguns, with theatrical vocals orchestrated by Anchang, and clashing instrumentation belting all over the track's surface. The technical side of the band is quite impressive in this track, and, once more, the guitar solo in this track is particularly fantastic. "Onigunsow" is a thrash-like track, with confrontational guitars and bass lines galloping along, and drums practically stampeding over the listener. The album's final track then jumps on, "Yellow Card", which again showcases the group's technical ability, with Anchang shrieking and chanting along the song's unique foreground. A well done track, and a brilliant way to close an album as bone-rattling as "Made in Japan".
With a keen element of face-melting guitar solos, heartfelt metal vocalization and an all-around badass tone, the Sex Machineguns's second album, "Made in Japan", has the right amount of skill, ferocity and melody to have the listener constantly coming back for more servings of speed-thrash goodness. With this release, Sex Machineguns managed to carve their own little niche in the Japanese heavy metal circuit with their slightly comedic lyrics, and their overall sound resonating and penetrating through the listener at full velocity. And believe me, there's no better feeling.