So last time we were talking about branching out. Well, in the natural order of things, now I’m obligated to tell you onto which branches I’ve been climbing. This past week I’ve been spending a lot of time scouring Youtube (at risk of entering those bestial paddocks of Oshare-kei PV pasture), and following through leads in MP3 shops (30 second previews are inherently evil), and as a result I have hardly touched my old collection. I’ve been digging around without bias (well…)– it doesn’t matter what genre it is, or if it’s five days or ten years old. All I want is something that gives me some Kiai! Something that actually inspires some headbanging or air-guitar. Something that’s catchy, fresh, innovative and interesting in any way. Last week I was wondering if that was a tall order — whether it was or not, a gorgeous girl and a pack of surly sirs confidently stepped up and answered it.
Not enough can be said for how little appreciation I generally have for female vocals. exist trace, Danger Gang, and school food punishment started to thaw my icy bias out more and more, but that’s about as far as I’ve been able to go. It’s not that I think all female vocals are inherently bad – I just can’t help but judge them harshly. When I hear female vocals, I want them to fit into the music as naturally as if they were made for one another. Like perfectly tailored clothing. I want a female vocalist to rock so well that the idea of it being a woman vs. a man never even pops into my mind. I don’t want to think anything like “I like her style, for a female.” I want it to be a pure, undiluted, “…damn.”
…You know, you guys, I think she’s The One.
The One-fronted hard-rock band Rampant originated in 2005 (I’ve been missing out for so long) in Osaka (the origin of many good things), with HIroko on vocals, Atsushi playing lead guitar, Tomoya on rhythm, Hajime rockin’ the bass, and the guy with the best name on drums – KA+U. They released their first mini-album, CHAIN, two years later, and started doing shows around Japan with other bands. In 2008 they released a full-length album, CHOICE OF LIFE. According to their official mobile site, they will be releasing a new album in the autumn of this year.
Although their music almost has a Western-rock feel to it at times, Rampant still shows the filial devotion to awesome, powerful melodies that roots us right back into Jrock. Heavy grunge rock characterized by striking riffs that actually make you stop and listen, and the clear, low vocals of HIroko, Rampant‘s collection so far is comprised of individual pieces, all of which pack a punch and call you back over and over. From the full-bodied, goose-bump-raising, soaring choruses of Silence (one of their best pieces), to the aggressive, pounding rhythms of Nude, each of their songs is edgily creative, interesting, and good in that rich umami way that is too professional feeling for indie metal, and deeply outweighs the stretched-thin feeling of many major-label releases.
This is one of the few bands I’ve picked up lately that has truly inspired in me a genuine desire to actually listen to a song over and over. Check out their simple yet awesome PV for the song Silence, which is a spectacular piece of metal magic.
Rampant official website (Japanese)
Also check out their official MySpace (English) to sample some songs.