Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Maximum the Hormone - Yoshu Fukushu (2013)

So I am a little late to the Maximum the Hormone party, but after listening to their previous album so many times that it became almost all I listened to I decided to change things up a bit by buying Maximum the Hormone's most recent album Yoshu Fukushu. Three days after getting it I've listened to it five times and have formed enough of an idea on the album to hopefully make an interesting review.

Let's start with a bit of background info. I've talked about this rather odd Japanese band before here (here and here) and I like them enough to do so again. I intend to buy up all of their back catalog and give each of the albums reviews here, but that will cost quite a bit of money since they are imports that have a way of vanishing quickly. So these reviews won't exactly happen overnight. 

Even though the average price for a Maximum the Hormone album is about thirty-something bucks I would say that it's worth it (if this kind of thing is your taste). Especially for Yoshu Fukushu

I'm not just talking about the songs, either. This album is about the size of a DVD case and it includes a bookmark, a 157 page manga, and a lyric sheet. It's all in Japanese (of course), but the artwork is really something to enjoy and I can at least get an idea of what the story of the manga is based on looking at the artwork. Maximum the Hormone seems like a fun band and they aren't a bunch of angst-ridden sad white guys like you'd find in fellow nu-metal bands Korn. MTH also seems to give fans things they actually want, too. 

This manga has made me really want to learn Japanese even more. The song lyrics, too. I think there might even be conversations about each song, but I can't tell. It seems like it, though. Maybe they're just long notes or something. I really wish I could read Japanese. Still, it's pretty fantastic stuff even if I can't understand much of it.

Yoshu Fukushu 5:13 - It starts off with a soft guitar riff meant to lull innocence children to sleep and the beautiful and quiet singing of drummer Nao. Then a sludgy doom riff hits you in the face and Ryo-kun begins speaking about something, but I have no idea what. But he sounds pissed and I wouldn't want to step on his sandals. Then that heavy riff kicks in and the tempo picks up and Daisuke-han joins in with his hybrid brand of rapping and screaming. This is what MTH is about, but the chorus (or maybe it's more of a coda) is where the money is made. It's just so damn emotive and catchy. Great song.

Utsukushiki OP (Tsuki no Bakugekiki) 0:31- A short prelude to the next song. 
Utsukushiki Hitobito no Uta 4:38 - Another really good song to start off the album. I like the choruses in particular. 
Benjo Sandal Dance 4:04 - Listen to that bass riff. The song is a reference to the toilet sandals Ryo-kun wears all the time. I honestly never knew that the Japanese had sandals that were strictly meant for wearing in the bathroom. I knew they changed footwear often, but not that often. Go figure.  
Chu 2 the Beam 4:01 - One of my favorites off of the album and once again bassist Ue-chan really shines. Very poppy chorus. Thrash-like opening riff. 
"F" 4:07 - It's about the Dragonball (manga)/Dragonball Z (anime) villain Freeza (Frieza, Funimation dub). You can't really go wrong with that subject matter, but this song actually fits the mold of the character and the television show. A few of the riffs sound like something inspired by the music from the anime. The song is energetic as hell. Instant fave. 
Tsume Tsume Tsume 4:35 - It starts off with a lot of chaos before abruptly shifting to a new riff and a different kind of chaos. Within the first minute and a half this song makes so many stylistic changes that it's difficult to think that they are all really apart of the same song. Catchy chorus that blatantly contradicts the chaotic main riff follows. This song as well as the previous one were on the EP Tsume Tsume Tsume
Rock Oreimairi (3 Chord de Omae Full-bokko) 2:19 - Heavy and fast hard rock verses with a pop rock chorus and a short mosh-like breakdown in the middle. 
Unbelievable! (Suwomintsu Hokereiro Mifueho) 3:35 - That opening is pure funk worthy to be mentioned alongside the funk greats. The pre-chorus riffs are your typical in your face MTH riffs, though. So don't get too comfortable. The chorus is great. I keep thinking he's saying "He saw me fucking that big fat hoe," but I don't think that's what he is really saying. 
A.L.I.E.N 4:46 - The first two and a half minutes of this song are complete chaos. The transitions are jarring, even more so than usual for this band. It's really tough to tell where this song is going and it seems to go everywhere in a very short time. Then that coda hits at 2:45. You won't see this part of the song coming. It mellows out without any warning and becomes a quiet and poppy ballad/protest song with the only lyrics being "Stop, stop Winny upload." I have no idea if they were talking about that earlier in the song, but that last part of the song is especially good. I think this song is this band's way of trying to troll us. That or they sounded pissed about illegal use of their music. Yeah, I wouldn't cross them. Don't steal their music. 
My Girl 4:02 - I really like this one. The first riff is really good and I like the harmonizing Ryo-kun and Nao do when they sing. I really like the "va-gi-na is my rock & roll" part of the song when the synthesisers hit, too. The cameo by The Temptations song My Girl at the end just icing on the cake. 
Mesubuta no Ketsu ni Binta (Kick mo) 2:41 - A short hard rocker. I really like the ending. 
Beauty Killosseum 5:22 - In a way the initial guitar riff sounds a bit industrial like something from Rammstein's Sehnsucht with a bit of Lamb of God thrown in. Nao sings lead on the choruses while Daisuke-han yells in the background. 
Maximum the Hormone 4:55 - A song named after this very band has some large shoes to fill because it essentially needs to embody everything MTH does well. And it does. It's not my favorite song from the album, but it's solid and unpredictable. 
Koi no Sperm 5:37 - Dear God, it's the 80's again, but that's okay. This song is blatant synth pop rock MTH style. So it's not always poppy. It's good, though. A great way to end the album. Definitely one of my favorite songs from this album and from MTH. 

I really like this album. It's pretty awesome and it deserves to be bought by fans of heavier and/or unpredictable music. If you liked the songs posted (from their official YouTube channel) then buy the album while you can (hopefully) still find it. 

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