ぜんぶ君のせいだ。 (Zenbukiminoseida.) – FlashBack NightMare

ぜんぶ君のせいだ。 (ZenbuKimiNoSeiDa.)

The brand new album of ぜんぶ君のせいだ。 (Zenbukiminoseida.), titled FlashBack NightMare, drops alongside new music videos.

The first track, “Scar Sign”, opens with a fun, chugging metalcore style riff before kicking up the ぜんぶ君のせいだ。 (Zenbukiminoseida.). have been putting in quite a lot of work this year, with group and solo singles and three (two being re-recordings) albums, and a massive tour, all within the span of this year alone. For today, we’ll be taking a look at their latest album, FlashBack NightMare, which dropped on November 24th. Unlike the previous releases, FlashBack contains completely new tracks.

BPM in the verses, the drums really helping set a precedent of just how heavy the song can get. Compared to the chaotic nature of the verses, the choruses take up a lighter sound and vocal style. Vocals used vary between singing, spoken word and a couple lines of screaming. The last minute of the song really hones in on the yami nature of Zenkimi’s concept, with the members reciting their lines with an almost spine-tingling harmony, something the music video helps in visualizing with their eyes going fully black alongside the blood red lighting.

The second track, “Heavenlyheaven”, was featured in a review I did a while back when it was released as a single; it does a fantastic job in showing how Zenkimi can balance whimsy and hardcore. “Underscore” is the third track (and the third music video to be released from this album), opening with a mathcore-esque guitar and bass riff. In the first 25 seconds alone the song takes some wild twists and turns between singing, screaming and the fun instrumentals, giving some Dillinger Escape Plan levels of chaos. Through the second verse the girls take turns swapping between lines (which sounds super cool in headphones as they go from left to right). Twinkling piano keys, handclaps and digital blips once again showcase the unpredictable nature of Zenkimi songs: there’s really never a dull moment. Each member gets her own chance to shine throughout this song too, their vocals coming off as clear as day.

“Dada”, originally released as a single earlier this year, makes a comeback on this album. The track has a super fun and bouncy beat led by the style of drums (those blast beats in the pre chorus are so sick too). It feels like it’d be perfectly fit for a rhythm game. The twists within the song help reel in that concept of “Dadaism” as well. The bridge takes a fun, but not unexpected, dark turn with the introduction of Kotetsu’s shrill shrieks and Mei’s hearty screams. Definitely a headbanger. “Pistil” gives some classic heavy metal action straight out the gate. The pre chorus sections take on more of a jazzy, almost lounge singer feel that don’t come off as out of place amidst the rapid energy of the song. Vocals are as great as always, especially in the chorus; though I love to hear these girls scream, their clean singing capabilities are just as special and just as top notch. “315.3”, the seventh track, is a classic metalcore track with spoken vocal relays in the verses following a really sick, catchy riff that sounds like descending notes. The choruses really pack a punch with the girls taking turns screaming the English parts, and my goodness, the first scream in the second chorus is insanely good. Putting all of that together has it topping my list as my favorite track.

“Mono No Koi Aware” is probably the most interesting song on the album just from the genre flips alone. Throughout the entire three minute track, there’s never a dull moment and a crazy amount of switch ups, from EDM to dubstep, gothic-symphonic-metal to jazz and more. It almost feels as if the song is playing to the unique conceptual strengths of each of the members– and while the verses stand out in great moments of individuality, in the chorus they all come together perfectly. So while sonically it might be a step in a more lighthearted direction from the previous tracks, it keeps the vibes rolling perfectly.

“Monster” serves as the most somber track on the album through alt rock and the subtle usage of piano. The vocal delivery is a bit more emotional, something I’ve noticed Zenkimi is fantastic at, especially this current lineup. The chorus here makes you want to get up and shout it out with them. “Insomnia”, which was a track released last year with the inclusion of An, Fufu and Kasane, makes a comeback on this album, making it the only re-recorded track to allow for Mei and Kotetsu to partake. Because of this, the song remains relatively the same. The final track, “Rakugaki Kiseki”, brings back a lighthearted vibe to close the album out with the soft opening chords and electronica effects. It’s a slower track as well, almost bordering on a ballad track. Always a group to give it their all though, the build up through the first couple of verses leads to an amazing duo screaming from Mei and Kotetsu at the 1:40 mark declaring their love, followed up by a little rap moment. It mellows out again for the ending of the track with the girls taking turns and harmonizing as they lead us hand in hand to the end, followed by the guitar and drums fading out with them.

FlashBack NightMare has been the first fully original track from Zenkimi since 2019, and it was absolutely one worth waiting for. With this lineup only fully coming together at the beginning of the year, they’ve continuously shown their chops in all shapes and forms. I really couldn’t ask for more (though the possibility of an international tour would be amazing someday), and I’m hoping you give this album a listen. Fan or newcomer, it’s sure to reel you in all the same.

Satanic Punish & DEARDEVIL – Devil Margin, Vol. 1

Satanic Punish & DEARDEVIL

Make A Deal With the Devil: Devil Margin’s premiere idol units Satanic Punish and DEARDEVIL bring forth a collaboration.

I’ve gotta say, I love just how many idol groups dabble into the realms of metalcore, djent, hardcore and more. Today’s review will be giving you just that as we take a look into an EP from Devil Margin’s groups, Satanic Punish and DEARDEVIL, titled Devil Margin, Vol. 1. Satanic Punish originally debuted as a five member group in 2019, but their initial lineup disbanded and was reformed in early 2020. Now it’s held together by members Webshiki., the leader who does some pretty impressive screams, and Himeno Usagi, who’s praised for her genreless voice. DEARDEVIL is their brand new sister group, debuting in March of 2021 and consisting of three members: Risa, the multitalented leader with a cool demeanor, Akane, the youngest with the most extensive performance history, and Arara, described as having an artistic vocal ability and a cosplayer on the side. With their debut came a single, “Calling”, and a cover of Satanic Punish’s “Heroine ≠ Heroin”, both of which are featured on this EP.

The EP opens with two songs by Satanic Punish, previously released as singles. “Alpha Omega”, which contains almost equal amounts of English and Japanese lyrics, makes a slow opening into metalcore style riffing and drums with synth effects. The girls take turns switching between lines with their smooth and emotional vocals, and at the 0:57 mark you’re hit right in the face with Webshiki.’s stellar growls — she’s easily got one of the most ferocious voices when it comes to idol screamers. When it comes to her clean singing, she’s got a nice edge in there as well, contrasting perfectly with Himeno’s that flow effortlessly. At the 2:29 mark, Webshiki.’s amazing screams come back in again as a lead towards the bridge before the two come together in the final chorus. The mix of synth and metalcore isn’t something too out of the ordinary, but the vocals help in making the song stand out amongst the crowd.

The second track, “Masgomicpanic”, leans more into their deathcore side, opening immediately with Webshiki.’s growls that she makes extensive use of throughout the song while Himeno carries in the clean vocal category. Her voice melds perfectly with the chaotic nature of the music like an eye within a storm. This track also contains a healthy balance of English, with one verse being entirely that. Though it’s on the shorter end of the songs featured, I truly feel like this one shines bright in the mix of aggression and beauty, making it my favorite on the EP.

DEARDEVIL take over the tracklist for the later half. Their first track is their debut, “Calling”, which carries a bit of a happier tune compared to the last two. It opens with a bit of atmospheric synth pop before the metalcore vibe takes over and the members rotate between their lines. Akane’s voice is just as sweet and stable as described, while Risa has more of an edge in hers. Arara’s voice leads in the chorus and at the end of the verses; the range and delivery of her vocals serves to solidify her spot as the group’s power vocal. There’s actually something quite fun about their vocals when they all come together, making the song feel like a rallying cry.

The final song, “Heroine ≠ Heroin”, is a cover of their seniors. There’s no guttural screaming to be found here (though that would be very interesting to hear from the DEARDEVIL girls), but instead a more lively jam with a hint of djent in the guitarwork. The song’s got its share of expletives as well, which was fun to watch in their debut performance where all three of the girls flip the bird towards the crowd at the first line of the second verse. The chanting part of the song at the 2:00 minute mark does well in giving Arara and Risa a shared bit of spotlight before Akane takes over in the bridge, leading to another fun and explosive chorus. The balance of aggression and sweetness once again won me over, and DEARDEVIL did a fantastic job in their cover.

For those looking for some new hardcore groups to check out, I feel that this EP would serve you well. Satanic Punish have a pretty extensive catalogue built up and DEARDEVIL are fresh faces, leading to the joy of anticipating new music — which will be on it’s way soon for both groups in October! In the meantime, follow the girls and their management on their socials to stay up to date on their forthcoming activities.

Zsasz – ⸮: Percontation Point

Zsasz - ⸮: Percontation Point

The five member idol unit Zsasz brings hardcore and fun alongside new tracks and remakes in their debut album ⸮: Percontation Point.

If you’re familiar with the world of Vocaloid, then you’ve probably heard of the legendary producer Utsu-P, known for giving Hatsune Miku some of the hardest hitting metal tracks in the game. Perhaps it may shock you, much like it shocked me, to find that he’s also the producer of a five-piece idol group known as Zsasz. Composed of members Saku, Tim Vincent, Shuugetsu Shino, Nagase Ritsu and Rom, they debuted in 2019 and dropped their first EP, the self-titled Zsasz, at the beginning of 2020. Back in March, they dropped their first full length album ⸮: Percontation Point.

The album has a run time of 40 minutes and features 11 tracks, with five new songs and six being remakes of the songs they released on their first EP. It opens with “Z Alert”, a short track that plays air raid sirens with a robotic voice instructing the listener that you’re about to bear witness to something never seen before, and Zsasz will be the group to bring the house down. The overall aura feels mighty threatening, and closes with a reminder on how the world is constantly changing; either you get with it or get left behind. The song that follows is “Kawaii Nankaii”, a blistering mix containing elements of hip hop, symphonics and hard rock. The verses are half sung and half rapped, with members taking turns together in singing the chorus and bearing the question: “what’re you gonna do with your life?”.

Next up is “Tokidoki Hikaru”, a song that blends electronica with metalcore (it reminded me a lot of early I See Stars). Once again the girls swap between singing and rapping in the verses, and the chorus carries an infectious sing-along power. One pleasant surprise was some screamed vocals in the second verse from member Ritsu, something she periodically brings throughout the remainder of the album.

Fans of the group will recognize “Syokuji (2021 Version)”, which was originally featured on their first release. This features some updated vocals and what sounds like, to me, an updated sound carried by some extra guitar work. The song is packed full of high energy that makes you want to scream along. “Obaka no Pop” evokes a happy feeling in its EDM stylings, and really does serve as the song with the heaviest “pop” elements, even with the chugging guitars and fast drum work. The higher vocal ranges of the girls really shine in this song as well.

The following tracks are all part of the remakes. “Menya Grotesque (2021 Version)”, one of my favorites, mixes traditional instrumentation with some good ol’ heavy metal. The chorus is simple and effective, the screamed bits at 2:35 add the right touch of edge, and we see more rapped verses. “Peter Peter (2021 version)” opens with a very chaotic, almost carnival-like atmosphere, before swapping for a digital hardcore sound.

“Kanbanmusume No Warufuzake (2021 Version)” follows in a similar vein to “Menya” in its usage of traditional elements and metal, though it’s a little more subdued. There’s a great guitar solo at the 2:13 mark that almost borders on a polka style. “Ikiteru Obake Ha Ikiteiru (2021 Version)” opens with synth and an absolutely sick guitar, and interestingly flip-flops between metalcore in the verses and what feels like power metal in the chorus. The screamed vocals are heavy in this track, which I absolutely loved, making for an enjoyably wild ride.

“Massive Emoji”, an original track, sees a lot of action going on in the verses with shouts and singing (I think there’s some screaming in the back, though it’s very faint). The breakdown almost teeters into djent territory, which was a super cool touch! It’s one of the shorter songs on the album but still manages to get a lot done, and done fairly well.

And finally, we have “Nuigurumi Ni Naritai (2021 Version)”, a hard rock track with galloping guitars, bells and touches of electronica that really brighten the song’s mood. For me, the song brought about quite an interesting feeling, like I was watching the credits of an ending scene of a movie. This was probably brought on by the song’s placement, but it felt satisfying as a finisher.

All in all, fans of Zsasz will enjoy the new tracks and the fresh takes on older tunes, while newcomers will be welcomed into a whole new world. As they’re still a young group, I greatly anticipate what moves they’ll be making in the future.

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