It has now been a week since I first heard of Band-Maid and it is about the only music I have been listening to. Big riffs, double kick drum ferocity, searing solos and soaring vocals fill Band-Maid’s seventh album Unseen World.
Kicking things off with the explosive fist pumping “Warning” the band tears through twelve songs and never lets off the gas. Mixing genres seamlessly from full thrash to technical solos, flirting with pop-punk and rap but always coming back to riff heavy hard rock in the vein of a heavier Halestorm or City of Evil era Avenged Sevenfold. The album closer “Black Hole” is a triumphant mix of everything that came before with the pace cranked up.
The production is full but never overwhelms the album. Lead singer Saiki Atsumi sings with a speed and range that would put any of her contemporaries to shame. That she does it almost entirely in Japanese is for some reason even more impressive to my western ears.
Yes folks, this Japanese band sings in Japanese. Shocking, I know. I snark, but it must be brought up and may be tough for some to deal with. I used to work for a Japanese company, and while I do not speak Japanese, I am used to hearing the language all the time. The fact I cannot understand anything in the songs does not bother me. It is because the music is just that good.
While not quite co-vocalists lead songwriter and rhythm guitarist Miku Kobato lends her vocals to augment Atsumi’s on every track, giving choruses a blended sound that recalls Fall out Boy, Bobaflex, and Alice in Chains. Kobato sings lead on “Sayonakidori” which favors her higher range. Lead guitarist Kanami Tono is a master shredder who seems to change her approach with every song. Rhythm section MISA on bass and Akane Hirose on drums keep the whole machine moving adding a ferocious drive to the album that never flags.
Unseen World is a revelation. Its catchy, endlessly inventive, and transcends the language barrier. But don’t take my word for it. Give the video below a watch. If you are not out of your seat by the end move on. I know its not for everyone. So far of the friends I have tried to turn on to this band I am at about a 30% conversion rate. Honestly, it is their loss.
Check out the video for “Warning” and see how you do.
Miku Kobato (小鳩 ミク) – rhythm guitar, vocals
Kanami Tōno (遠乃 歌波) – lead guitar
Akane Hirose (廣瀬 茜) – drums, percussion
Misa (stylized as MISA) – bass guitar
Saiki Atsumi (厚見 彩姫) – lead vocals