JAPAN UNDERGROUND: New Year Party + Tokyo’s AC/DC Tribute


AD/CDWhen: Thursday 30 January 2014 (7pm-10:30pm)
Where: The Pipeline, 94 Middlesex Street, London, E1 7DA. (map)
Nearest Tube/Train: Liverpool Street, Aldgate/East, Shoreditch High Street
Tickets: £5 on the door.
Bands: AD/CD, Of Fire and Flames, QWERTY.
DJ: Japanese rock, punk, metal and alternative
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/663263117029722/

Right, let’s kick this new year in good and proper. Thursday, end of January, you, the craziest AC/DC tribute band Tokyo has to offer, upcoming melodic punk outfit Of Fire and Fate and Japanese singer-songwriter Yuma Imaoka with his band QWERTY and shiny green bunny guitar. Sound good? You betcha! Plus Japan Underground’s resident DJ spinning a mixture of tracks from Japan to get you headbanging, fist swinging and having a damn good time – just a fiver on the door! See you there.

Sponsored by JPU Records

Here’s a video from our events last year:

Coldrain Confirms Three UK Headline Shows

coldrainAs we reported at the end of last year, the more-than-a-little-bit-wicked Coldrain are planning to break out of Japan in 2014. The first step of which involves touring Europe with Bullet For My Valentine (as reported here). However, before all that kicks off, the metalcore group has confirmed 3 headline shows in the UK!

It all kicks off with in London on Friday 31 January where they’ll headline at the Camden Barfly, followed by Thekla in Bristol on 1 February, and Red Room in Nottingham Sunday 2 February 2014. Tickets are on sale now, and can be bought in a bundle with merchandise (tshirts and/or hoodies!) from Coldrain’s newly opened online merch shop (visit by clicking here).

JPU Tom’s Top 5 Albums of 2013

JPU TomIf you’ve been following Japan Underground this month, you’ll have seen we’ve been talking to the staff at JPU Records on their favourite albums of the year, Japanese or otherwise. Today’s the last of these features as we check out the five biggest albums of the year according to JPU and Japan Underground founder and head honcho, Tom Smith. Any words on the selection, Tom? “Circles and triangles were in this year when it came to cover design, weren’t they? Anyway, a number of people ask me what kind of stuff I listen to outside of ‘work’ – this should give you an idea! I had to be careful not to fill this list entirely with JPU releases… so I’ve been good and only included one… and it’s also my favourite album this year.”

Ling tosite sigure – i’mperfect
Ling tosite sigure“This album. It’s not only at the top of my personal five favourite albums of 2013, it’s also in my top ten albums this side of the millennium. It took me well over a year for the LTS sound to click with me, but once it did, I was HOOKED. I’mperfect reminds me a lot of another favourite album of mine; Relationship of Command from At The Drive-In (listen on Spotify) – yet Sigure sound nothing like ATDI, but the energy of that album is present here too. Scratch that, imagine Relationship of Command condensed to 4 minutes and you have Ling tosite sigure’s ‘Sitai miss me’. My only problem with this album is that it’s over far too soon.”
Outsanding tracks: abnormalize, Beautiful Circus.
Buy from Amazon: Regular Edition, Digital Edition
Buy direct from JPU Records (worldwide shipping)

Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal
Bring Me The Horizon“BMTH first appeared on my radar years back when friends were going crazy over ‘Pray for Plagues’ and ‘[I Used to Make Out With] Medusa’. I didn’t really get the fuss, but that didn’t stop them ramming BMTH down my throat for the next few years… as a result I never really looked into the band much, which, looking back, is a shame. It was thanks to a different force shoving BMTH my way that I did eventually get into them; Youtube, with its barrage of Sempiternal ads earlier this year. I decided to listen on Spotify, and then buying the album after my month’s listening limit was used up just from playing it over and over. It still gets a lot of play today too.”
Outstanding tracks: Can You Feel My Heart, Shadow Moses.
Buy from Amazon: Regular Edition, Vinyl Edition, Digital (Deluxe) Edition.

Enter Shikari – Rat Race EP
Enter Shikari“Much like Bring Me The Horizon, Enter Shikari are another band my friends have been going bonkers about for years, especially as they’re local boys. I’d seen more than my fair share of human pyramids at Shikari shows over the years  but never felt the need to buy an album. That was until I heard RADIATE on BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show. In fact, RADIATE is probably my favourite song this year, from anyone. I love it and it always lifts my mood. From there I worked backwards, and a month later I was the proud owner of all of Enter Shikari’s studio albums. Now they’re one of my favourite bands, and if this was a list of top 5 albums listened to during 2013, Enter Shikari’s A Flash Flood of Colour would be number one by a long way.”
Outstanding Tracks: RADIATE, Paddington Frisk.
Buy from Amazon: Digital Version

crossfaithCrossfaith – Zion EP
“Yep, the EP and not APOCALYZE, their newest album. That’s not to say APOCALYZE isn’t  a lot of fun – it’s just too much for me. It’s like eating chocolate cake, with a side helping of chocolate cake, with extra chocolate cake on top. Sure, I live chocolate cake but in moderation, man… Zion, is just the right length, and full of nothing but killer tune after killer tune. I’m listening to it while I write this and I want to go out and jump around.”
Outstanding tracks: Jagerbomb, Monolith.
Buy from Amazon: Regular VersionDigital Version, +1 Import Version

NOISEMAKERNOISEMAKER – DOUBLE COLOR SHEEP
“I went to a live show severely hungover while in Tokyo, just to see my mate’s band Silhouette from the Skylit support the amazing JAWEYE. Except, for some reason JAWEYE was on first and I totally missed them from rolling in late… instead NOISEMAKER were headlining, and despite hurting from the night before, their live set brought me back to life and rocking down the front with everyone else. They gave me their album, and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. They remind me a bit of what would happen if SPYAIR went heavier… mixed with the stuff I used to listen to as a teenager. Anyway, awesome band, and now I’m seriously thinking about releasing this album in Europe – so do tell me what you think and have a listen to the tracks I link below. Plus their cover of Rhianna’s Rude Boy is also genius.”
Outstanding tracks: THE NEW ERA, platinum shoes.
Buy from iTunes

Coldrain Ready to go Global – European Support Tour Confirmed, UK Tour in the Pipeline for 2014

With the success of metalcore act Crossfaith creating circle pits around the world (next stop, the UK for the Kerrang Tour 2014!), attention is suddenly on Japan as fans search for similar bands from the east to quench their thirst for high-energy metal. The next to land a big international management deal is one of our favourite bands from Nagoya; Coldrain. They’ve just been snapped up by Raw Power Management, joining the ranks alongside Bring Me The Horizon, Bullet For My Valentine, and – perhaps not surprising – Crossfaith.

“We are honoured to become part of the Raw Power family along with all these killer bands and awesome people,” states Coldrain vocalist Masato Hayakawa. “We can’t wait to finally be releasing our music worldwide tour the world. We our totally stoked to be taking this step and can’t wait meet you all!”

Masato won’t have too long to wait to meet you all – Coldrain will be supporting Bullet For My Valentine on their European tour through February and March 2014! They’ll join the Welsh metallers on 21 of their European dates, the full schedule for Coldrain is below.

Coldrain have also announced that their new album will receive a worldwide release, and a tour of the UK is currently in the works.

04.02.2014 – Rock Box, Luxembourg [LUXEMBOURG]
05.02.2014 – Olympia, Paris [FRANCE]
07.02.2014 – 013, Tilburg [NETHERLANDS]
08.02.2014 – Hyde Park, Osnabrueck [GERMANY]
09.02.2014 – Ab, Brussels [BRUSSELS]
10.02.2014 – Palladium, Cologne [GERMANY]
12.02.2014 – Komplex, Zurich [GERMANY]
13.02.2014 – Alcatraz, Milan [ITALY]
15.02.2014 – Gasometer, Vienna [ITALY]
16.02.2014 – Roxy, Prague [CZECH REPUBLIC]
17.02.2014 – Tonhalle, Munich [GERMANY]
19.02.2014 – Stodola, Warsaw [POLAND]
20.02.2014 – Haus Auensee, Leipzig [GERMANY]
22.02.2014 – Posthalle, Wuerzburg [GERMANY]
23.02.2014 – Schlachthof, Weisbaden [GERMANY]
24.02.2014 – Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg [GERMANY]
26.02.2014 – Tradgarn, Gothenburg [SWEDEN]
28.02.2014 – Pakkahoune, Tampere [FINLAND]
01.03.2014 – Circus, Helsinki [SWEDEN]
03.03.2014 – Arenan, Stockholm [SWEDEN]
04.03.2014 – Rockefeller, Oslo [NORWAY]

Girugamesh: MONSTER – New Album Out Now!


It took its sweet time coming, but Girugamesh‘s sixth album has now been released in the UK and Europe courtesy of Gan Shin Records. It follows in the questionable footsteps of the band’s 2011 effort GO. Sure, single COLOR had its moments, but for the most part the whole album went the way of INOCHI NO KI and stripped the power and aggression that powered some of Girugamesh’s greats over the years. If you were looking for something to rival Break Down, Owari to Mirai and our personal favourite volcano, you’d probably GO [ahem] right off this album… thankfully, MONSTER redeems all the wrongs of recent years and brings the electro-metal quartet right back to their former glory.

The album starts in standard Girugamesh style (like most of Danger Crew’s releases for that matter) with an upbeat electronic track that leads directly the first proper song. The transition is perfect and Drain sets the pace for the rest of the record, as well as Girugamesh’s progression. It’s clear they’ve been listening to a bit of Skrillex recently, but that’s no bad thing. MONSTER’s electronic elements are their most mature, proper sounding efforts to date. If you felt some of their previous efforts fell flat, MONSTER’s electronic parts have found that much needed oomph. Similarly, production this time round is perhaps at the band’s most solid. The double kick pedal gives the kind of thick, deep thud that very few Japanese bands seems to achieve, while the lower end riffs on guitar and bass feel powerful yet clean. In a nutshell; this is the Girugamesh album we’ve all been waiting for for years. Let’s hope it persuades them to return to the UK for another live show soon.
Our top 3 tracks: takt, Live is Life, Drain.

MONSTER Tracklist:
1. Intro
2. Drain (Music Video)
3. VOLTAGE
4. INCOMPLETE (Music Video)
5. Zantetsuken -MONSTER ver.- (Music Video)
6. antlion pit (Live Video)
7. Resolution
8. BAD END DREAM
9. Live is Life
10. Zecchou BANG!! -MONSTER ver.- (Music Video)
11. Another way
12. ALONE
13. Limit Break (European Bonus Track)
14. takt (European Bonus Track)

Buy from Amazon: European Special Edition, Digital Edition, Japanese Limited Edition.

Summary: MONSTER is a great album. If we had to compare it to anything, we’d say it falls somewhere between the GazettE and Crossfaith, while sounding nothing like either. Essentially it’s party metal with substance. 7/10

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