posted on 7/2008 By:
And now for something quite different. Osaka, Japan’s Birushanah have laid down a three-track album with forty minutes of music. It’s an interesting listen for sure; this trio combines traditional Japanese instrumentation with chaotic, doom-laden metal and some truly deranged vocals. Akai Yami is very percussive-heavy, with everything else taking a backseat both in the actual arrangements and the production. Birushanah have put forward a challenging release that, while certainly not for all tastes, has both originality and genuine intensity to render it worthwhile.
With instrumental opener “Jyodo” merely serving as an intro, the twenty-minute title track accounts for half of Akai Yami. Slowly building up with layers of percussion and organic instruments (namely fretless bass and Japanese drums), the song kicks into metal mode at the five-minute mark. The riffs are swirling, noisy and often discordant. The vocals deserve special mention, as they sound absolutely rabid. Delivering a constant, high-pitched barrage, vocalist Iso sounds like a man performing his own exorcism. The main bouts of crashing drums, caustic guitar noise and harrowing screams are interspersed effectively with less busy sections of lead and almost surf-guitar picking, while other passages bring to mind the likes of Nile in the way that the metal is actually integrated into traditional Eastern rhythms. Although an exhausting track, “Akai Yami” has enough twists and turns to be compelling for the most part.
Third and final song “Kairai” isn’t far removed from its predecessor and again, is almost unrelentingly intense. At seventeen minutes in length, the song does slip into repetition at times but still has its fair share of strong moments. Listen out for some effective tempo shifts and lead breaks, a speedy Mastodon-ish riff at 10:45 and an eerie lull around 11:40 with the sound of a screaming infant in the background.
Despite being a fairly difficult beast to pin down, Birushanah should be given props for executing their particular musical vision with authenticity as well as extremity. Akai Yami is unlikely to receive mass acceptance but if you can appreciate a metal band embracing their ethnicity and musical traditions wholeheartedly, Birushanah would have to be among the most noteworthy acts of this type right now.
Register to post comments.