[Mixtape] Contemporary Japanese Hardcore

Last week I published a list of some notable grindcore and power violence band of the early 90’s but since then the hardcore scene has evolved a lot in Japan too and younger bands have embraced modern production. However, pushing your sound to a more melodic end of the spectrum does not mean you are compromising everything for popular success. Here we have some examples of modern bands who have the sheen of modern productions but offer something distinctive from their american counterpart. It must be said that one has to go through an important number of awful bands to get to the good stuff. Much like in the US, young deathcore and djent bands are aplenty and typing japan hardcore will most likely bring you bad beatdown bands rather than the next Converge or Modern Life is War. However, there is still hope.

Fact

Sadly, Fact broke up this year after putting it a good collection of albums. Contrary to most japanese band, these guys were signed to an English label giving them an access outside of their home country. This door in Europe is also confirmed by the presence of an Englishman in their lineup, proudly wearing an Insect Warfare shirt in this video, which makes him ok in my book. The band has evolved quite a bit during their career by moving away from electronic punk rock (with some tasteful auto-tune) on Burundaga (2013) to a mix of punk and hardcore on Witness (2014) and now to a more Converge influenced sound with added crust element on Ktheat (2015) and a Kurt Ballou production. Even if the melodies are pushed to the forefront, Fact is still a hardcore band and I would not be surprised if some of the bands created post break up push this side of their music even more.

You should listen to Fact if you like Converge, The Offspring

Kamomekamome

When looking for Japanese post-hardcore band, you might end up listening to the equivalent to Asking Alexandria or Attack Attack such as My Eggplant Died Yesterday (click only if you want to hear something truly horrendous) or Keep your Hands Off My Girl (somewhat more tolerable, but still bad). Kamomekamome possess a hardcore edge mixed with more contemporary emo melodies but coupled with the Japanese sense of composition to makes it more convoluted. The complexity of the sung lyrics coupled with the proggy structures makes the band’s punk rock sound much more multidimensional than most bands.

You listen to Kamomekamome if you like Touche Amore, Protest the Hero, Comeback Kid

Palm

A bit more well known outside of their native for having opened for Full of Hell, Weekend Nachos, Harm’s Way or Nails, Palm stands as Japan’s best representative of Converge‘s influence but with a caustic discordance that reminds of Hellchild (one of the earliest metalic hardcore in the vein of Deadguy). On their second album, My darkest friend, they showcase a flurry of influences that makes them a living Deathwish Inc sampler but with still enough coherence to make them enjoyable.

You should listen to Palm if you like Converge, Trap Them, Baptists

Cohol

It’s stretching a bit the title of the article to include Cohol in it but with their mix of postcore and black metal, the band offers a different take on what most bands are doing. Even if their hooded frontman immediately brings to mind the theatrics of Dir En Gray or Malice Mizer, Cohol doesn’t rely on visuals to present their music. However, don’t let the modern production fool you, this is a genuine attempt from a young band to make something different out of two very popular styles.

You should listen to Cohol if you like Behemoth, Cult of Luna

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