Review Summary: The stronger, the closer you'll be
The boys in Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas
had a rough year leading up to the release of Hypertoughness
—their second bassist Kei died and they understandably took a nearly year-long break to mourn their friend. Thankfully, they've come back stronger—Hypertoughness
is by far the strongest addition to the band's discography, as it refines and perfects the electronicore sound they've been going at for all these years, though it absolutely isn't without it's faults.
New bassist Tetsuya is very much a worthy replacement for Kei—he provides some of the album's strongest work from a musical standpoint, and guitarist Taiki is still as crazy as ever, providing guitar work that wouldn't be out of place in Dragonforce if they ever decided to make slower music. Minami's screams still have the black metal flair that makes him stand out amongst his peers in the genre, while So's cleans (and Minami's screams as well) have actually become more powerful than they were before. Tomonori's drumming provides a satisfying cherry on top to everyone else's contributions, and everyone is in sync and it makes for a wonderful album from a musical standpoint.
The album seems to place a lot more emphasis on the electronic side of the band, though it seems they built the songs around electronic instrumentation, so it isn't really an issue, but rather an interesting switch of focus; They've also taken a lot more influence from other EDM subgenres—happy hardcore, eurodance, and industrial to name a few—other than the chiptune style they used in the past; it actually helps the album more than it harms and provides a nice change of pace from their previous lean towards their metal side.
isn't much different from the band's previous albums—they're still fairly charming despite admittedly not being that good (considering the band doesn't have the best grasp of English) and it's still the same subject manner as past albums, yammering about personal experiences (though nothing about Kei, oddly enough—perhaps they wanted to stay as positive as they could?), partying, and for whatever reason, the human condition. The biggest issue with the album is how badly mixed it is—you're gonna need to be the god of listening to make out any audible bass here, and they somehow figure out a way to drown the drums out at points as well; it's probably one of the worst mixing jobs of the 2010's and it really drags an otherwise superb album down.
is yet another great album frighteningly damaged by only one glaring flaw. However, it shouldn't distract you from looking into it—it manages to blend a lot of interesting concepts into one style successfully without sacrificing quality, and it's honestly commendable that the band haven't lost their footing, but at the end of the day the focus here is sheer fun. If you're looking for some catchy electronicore goodness, you'll find something to love here, but if it isn't your thing, you probably shouldn't even bother.