[Mixtape] Japanese Hardcore and Power Violence from the 90’s

With the announcement from the Roadburn that legendary japanese fastcore band G.I.S.M. would play at the festival in 2016, it seemed interesting to go beyond the most obvious reference and found out more about the history of hardcore in Japan. Despite being the most obvious reference point for a lot of fans of hardcore, G.I.S.M. released only albums in 1983 and 1987 which leaves a lof ot empty space to cover until 2016. Since I am mostly curious about discovering more about the Japanese scene, I have tried to filter as best as I could through the recommendations and the connections between bands to find some relevant example of what Japan had to offer since, starting with Su19b who are still active with a new release this year and finishing with a more obscure bands called Shikabane.

Su19b (1997)

If you think Power violence is all about being fast, think again. Su19b takes Power violence and pours a bucket of sludge over its face to make it sound like Noothgrush. With a vocalist only capable of very deep drowning growls, Su19b and some constant change from fast blast to very slow riffs played only for less than a minute, Su19b is a very strange band that nonetheless found its identity. Contrary to most bands here, Su19b is still active.

Real Reggae (1996)

Contrary to most ska band, Real Reggae does not try to pretend they can write a whole reggae song but just include those influences to offer some change from the excellent barrage of blast and fastcore beats they otherwise play. The band existed for a bit more than a decade and released a full discography on 625 Thrashcore.

Senseless Apocalypse (1993)

Senseless Apocalypse offer a mix of grindcore and punk rock couple with frenzied vocals going from unhinged screams to melodic punk singalongs in a similar way to Yamantaka Eye, the famed leader of the Boredoms. With most songs never lasting more than a minute, the band exploits every ideas once and then quickly moves on. Nonetheless is still room for some jazzy bass and drums interplay from time to time.

Shikabane (1997)

Shikabane is another unique band who started to combine crust and black metal way before the current wave. Despite the very rough sound of their debut LP from 2002, the raw emotions comes off as beautifully sincere despite the riffs mixing black metal dizziness with crust’s hyper-activity and melodic interludes through the use of an acoustic guitar. A very special atmosphere that ooze artistic integrity by standing on its own and not devoting itself to a stereotypical form of « dark music ». The band seems to have released an album after 2009 but details are sparse, which is not uncommon for Japanese band since most information available is only in Japanese (of course). A band worth tracking down nonetheless.

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