The Gate of a Heavenly Body


Buddha Mask Experience

[Captain Trip Records,]


[Slant Eye Archive,]

Noise, feedback, but in general just plenty of good old rock and bloody roll. The only thing these bands have in common is that they love to rock and they originate from the land of the rising sun.
The Japanese quintet known as Marble Sheep gives us a heap of reasons to believe that rock is far from dying. On their latest release, "The Gate of a Heavenly Body", they take the forms of metal and stretch them by a mile by inducing much needed fresh energy into the mix. The album is made up of eight tracks that just rock with a pounding rhythm and an ear-splitting volume. Energy level is excruciatingly high. The full frontal attack of guitarist Ken Matsutani and synth player Hirokazu "Den2" Furukawa is supplemented with two drummer team of Tarou Arakawa and Yasuyuki Watanabe. Add to this pounding bass rhythm of Rie Miyazaki and you've got yourself a harsh affair of the highest order. The characteristic feature on all of their tracks is this thick wall of pure gurgling sound. In fact, the sound is quite loopy and even dream-like throughout. Everything that happens underneath this sound - vocals, bass lines - is buried deep underneath in a deep pit. Like a demon rising from the ashes, Marble Sheep continue to amaze with great releases. "The Gate of a Heavenly Body" is no exception.
Watusi Zombie turns out to be another fine example of the Japanese going totally mental over walls of guitars. Their recent release "Buddha Mask Experience" sees them in fine form as they revel in the glory of a thick wall of guitars and percussion. Best known for their legendary live shows, Watusi Zombie are a proof that rock should be spelled with a capital R. Nothing on their latest record is subtle. In fact, every single note, every single chord is over- done to the max. It's almost as if they wanted to show the world they still care about non- conformity and in-your-face barrage of sound. Loud, heavy, metallic and without a doubt on speed, Watusi Zombie make the rock experience into an art-form. "Buddha Mask Experience" is essential listening for anyone tired of scrawny music.
Debut release on Aural Fit guitarist Mondo Bohachi's Slant Eye Archive label, "Livestock" is a true tour-de-force. This is where guitar mayhem meets a controlled environment to produce one of the better Japanese noise records of recent years. Aural Fit is a new outfit, having only formed at the tail end of 2002. Their philosophy includes "pursuing touch sounds with simple equipment as few as possible" and "pursuing best synthesis artistic with physical". Having said that, the core band is made up of founding guitarist Mondo Bohachi, bassist Louis Inage and drummer Yuji Kurosaka. Though the sound is nominally psychedelic, the core can best be described as metal on acid. Very loop-like structures come to form during the duration of these five longish tracks. Sound is raw and immediate. Best part is this record is fully instrumental which is appropriate as inclusion of vocals would take away from its dire, seriously dark mood. Rock at its best or psychedelic tripping at its most experimental - you decide. No matter, "Livestock" is a strong first showing from this lesser known band.

- Tom Sekowski

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