Review Summary: Though it’s not as strong as Girugamesh, Music is still worthy of a listen and a buy. If you were a fan of the heavier Girugamesh, Music will be something to get used to, but it’ll grow on you and you’ll probably end up loving it.
Girugamesh literally picked listeners apart on their previous self-titled outing. In comparison to a waterpark, the fast-paced slides were akin to the roaring screamed vocals and downtuned distorted guitar riffs, while the soothing ambience and calmer vocals were like a practical lazy river. Sound jarring? It wasn’t, not in the least bit. Girugamesh achieved the perfect balance of rocking hard and annihilating their angst and giving a decent party soundtrack to just have fun. The self-titled was an almost perfect album and should be highly respected in at least the J-rock/metal community. So, I’m sure there was a lot of fear and anticipation for Girugamesh’s next release Music
. It would be tough to follow up such a killer record. Thankfully, the band managed to obtain their core sound, while still adding in some new elements.
On the self-titled, it sounding like Girugamesh were hammering the listener with brute force and never stopping, beating the crap out of them until they would relent and love the music. With Music
, like a bully who is no longer in his heyday, Girugamesh can still create a lot of fear, a great type of fear about the pure heaviness of the music. However, they’ve definitely mellowed. Don’t misunderstand, the guitars and classic screamed vocals are still present. Despite this fact, you’ll find Girugamesh reaching for more melodic elements this time around than brute force in their musical arsenal. There’s much more of a punk influence this time around than the nu-metal that was so present on the self-titled, especially with the overall urgent feel of the music. To put it simply, it sounds much like old Girugamesh fused with a punk feel. In addition, industrial elements are also present, much more so than before. You’ll find small programming effects throughout, as well as nu-metal disk scratching and even outright dubstep samples. Thankfully, Girugamesh don’t beat us over the head with “brostep”, and manage to be tactful enough to avoid over-saturating the listener.
As for the band members, vocalist Satoshi shows a much more proficient singing voice this time around, as well as ripping out his signature growls and screams. Don’t worry, he still sounds like a tortured demon writhing at the bottom of Hell when he’s screaming, and also can still calm a cobra about to strike. He also experiments with rapping, but it works for the music and sounds spectacular. Guitarist Nii switches between his classic, tearing riffs and melodic licks, adding for variety and avoiding the typical downfall of just chugging along. As for bassist Shuu, at times he takes more of background performance, at times he’s more present than ever. Drummer Ryo fuels the band’s newfound punk elements and gives some of the most powerful performances all record, and it’s possible that every member sounds better than before.
There are a lot of standouts. “Intro” is a minute of adrenaline-pumping dubstep that immediately introduces the listener to the difference experimented in this record, while “Break Down” pairs bruising riffs and animalistic screams with an incredibly catchy and surprisingly catchy chorus. “Ultimate 4” is a throwback to older Girugamesh, with its distorted intro and primarily screamed performance, though it does feature a fitting rap interlude. “Angry Juice” also has a rap/dubstep-dominated bridge that will have you happily bobbing your head and not caring at all that you aren’t banging it wildly, while the title track has a dubstep-overtone blended with an anthemic chorus and sound that would be fitting in any action movie or anime. “Angry Juice” also has Ryo playing a club-inspired dance beat that will have you moving your body and dancing like a practical idiot, while the chill dubstep/drum-dominated interlude “INST” could be considered both reflective and pensive. On Girugamesh, the band didn’t veer into ballad territory once. “Puzzle” is actually a touching ballad, complete with a subtle string performance, highly emotional vocals, and fast-paced programmed drums. It’s not a disastrous ballad or a filler song, and may be one of the strongest in the band’s discography. Finally, “Asking Why” is full on classic Girugamesh. Though the verses are rapped, Satoshi screams like he’s ready for murder and the guitars church like a roaring tornado, ready to devour an entire house. It’s an angry, angsty song in the vein of “Patchwork” and works great after the more melodic “Puzzle.”
All the band members sound extremely strong and proficient, even whoever played keyboards. However, something is definitely missing that the self-titled had. There’s a slight use of filler, which is disappointing considering the potential that the guys demonstrated beforehand. Thankfully, the filler is towards the end of the project, so listeners don’t have to suffer through too much of it.
Though it’s not as strong as Girugamesh
is still worthy of a listen and a buy. If you were a fan of the heavier Girugamesh, Music
will be something to get used to, but it’ll grow on you and you’ll probably end up loving it. If you weren’t as big of a fan as the band’s classic razor sharp edge, this melodic respite would be a good penchant for you. Both a hit and a miss.