With quick, moving riffs on guitars,
a steadfast drum beat and vocals that fall between a scream and a yell,
hard-core punk quartet Assault opens its new self-titled release on the
track "Break Through" with the angst and intensity that many
fans of hard core seek.
As the band members are from Japan, the lyrics are, naturally, in Japanese.
Luckily, the album came with a sheet of lyrics translated into English
that reveals the poetic prowess of the lyricist. While something is always
lost in translation, the general idea is there and it is metaphorically
critical and observational of the self and others.
The lyrics of "Freedom/Life" are delivered half-and-half in
Japanese and English. The heavy guitar parts dominate the fast-paced music
with an audibly different baseline on the bridge while the drummer holds
time with the classic snare beat accompanied by a continuous ride cymbal.
The epic song on the album, "The End Of Silence," lasts a hefty
seven and a half minutes, with a subdued one-minute melodic intro. The
song quickly gains intensity as the distortion kicks in. After a series
of lyrics and close to five minutes of running time, the guitar solo begins
and carries the song almost to its end.
The six-track album lasts a short 22 minutes, but offers a decent dose
of Japanese-style hardcore punk. The best description for Assault’s
sound is colossal. Negishi (vocals), Kaoru (bass), Kentaro (drums) and
Osamu (guitar) are already solidifying their presence in the international
punk scene and recently stopped in Salt Lake City as part of a large tour.
Inquiries regarding how to purchase the latest release can be directed
to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.interq.or.jp/japan/hgfact —LMV
The Latin Project
Electric Monkey Records
By combining elements of dance
music from Latin America like salsa, samba and merengue with house beats,
smooth drum-and-bass style transitions and acid jazz, The Latin Project
has created a joyful union that takes the combined genres to the cutting
edge of their potential. Masterminds Matt Cooper and Jez Colin (The Solsonics)
formed the duo and coordinated the talents of eight other musicians with
experience and knowledge of Latin American music to create the unique
sounds on Nueva Musica.
The opening song of the album, “Lei Lo Lai,” begins with a
syncopated guitar part joined by a bass line and a steady dance beat to
follow. As the male vocals in Spanish surface, horn shouts compliment
them. Then, the chorus knocks out the listener with sweet electric piano
licks and some syncopated conga beats—and within the first minute
or so the dance party has begun.
“En Fuego,” The Latin Project single that met great support
in 2001 and served as a catalyst for the rest of the album, has a stronger
house beat than “Lei Lo Lai” and features female vocals and
some synth sounds layered throughout.
This album is a pretty good start for someone interested in electronic
dance music, even though there is a lot of stuff happening at the same
time. Unlike most electronic dance albums and mixtape-style releases,
the songs on this album don't all blend into one another. For the most
part, each song is independent of the next. The strength of all the songs
is in the careful layering of the musical elements: the beats, bass lines,
vocal tracks and instrumental sections are pieced together so well, with
such great timing, that the music is very appealing and easy to get into.
Most of these elements are introduced slowly throughout the beginning
of the song and form a strong groove that carries through to the song’s
While songs like “Brazilian Love Affair” and “Windows”
start out weak, the additional layers give the songs substance and improve
the sound quality.
The acid jazz elements of the music, on behalf of Colin, fit well into
the mix of the music and add distinct flavor to the tracks on which they
are featured. While the sounds on Nueva Musica are everything but confrontational,
Cooper, Colin and the other artists involved in creating this “new
music” are challenging other producers of electronic dance music
to step up to the plate and play with the big kids. —LMV
No Name World Wide/Elektra
To be a successful band these days,
you've got to have something that separates you from everybody else, whether
it's musically, lyrically or in your physical appearance. So with stage
names like Nuke, Grater, Smur, Ghost and Crispy, the members of the band
Motograter have a unique oddity to accompany the body and face paint they
use for stage appearances and press shots. Nobody's done that before.
The singer appears in red and white paint while the rest of the band is
in uniform black and white paint. Another neat quality, according to the
press kit, is that the band plays instruments built by the band’s
founder, Grater. So with all that uniqueness to set them apart from the
rest of the bands out there, the Motograter men didn’t bother to
create a self-titled debut that doesn’t sound just like every other
crappy, radio friendly nü-metal band to hit the scene. The sound
combines heavy guitars, predictable changes and vocal parts that combine
singing with yelling. If the guitar parts and oxy-moronically clean distortion
levels weren't already predictable enough, the soft melodic interludes
in most songs break any intensity that the track might have had.
The lyrics on "Prophecies," “Mutiny” and “Fight”
are the most straightforward, socially conscious and provocative, but
still don't quite make the cut. It would be interesting to see if these
guys reach Backstreet Boys fame for a while, just to see if they show
up to all the red carpet events in the paint and do fake "tribal"
stuff in public. Because according to Grater, they are “warriors.”
Since they suck, that probably won't happen.
They are on the 2003 Ozzfest line-up, so look out world. If you go to
Ozzfest and agree with my criticisms, don't blame Ozzy—from my understanding,
Jack and Sharon choose the bands for the metal festival. Instead of wasting
your time listening to this regurgitated garble, just turn the radio dial
to some crappy metal station and listen to what's being produced these
days. If you're lucky, they might play something good like Deftones or
Korn, sounds that everybody has been trying to duplicate but just can't
quite figure out the formula. —LMV
Burning Heart/Epitaph Records
The newest album from the four-man
veteran punk/indie/rock/emo/punk again group holds solid for anyone who
enjoys any of the previously mentioned genres. This album, however, seems
to be about their personal joy of performing, rather than record sales.
it is with many bands, it is necessary to absorb and change styles to
remain viable. This band has most certainly done that.
this most recent album has dropped their previous tension and shows a
fearless vigor that can only come from mutual respect and enjoyment of
making music together.
is one of Millencolin's best albums to date. —PK