Written by: BL on 15/04/2009 00:51:53

There seems to be a rise of screamo/scene-core bands in Japan right now, not least Crossfaith's first album on the horizon and this interesting debut album from Fact. Fact are from Chiba, Ibaraki in Japan and have managed to get signed to Vagrant Records, home to established bands such as The Bled, Alexisonfire, Protest The Hero, Senses Fail and Thrice to name only a few. This itself is quite a surprise to me, and I was further pleasantly surprised when I loaded the music up to listen.

These guys seem to have something going with wearing these odd doll masks, creepy to a degree, and featured on the cover of the album. But visuals aside, I was thoroughly hooked to the music: it's an energetic, passionate, and sometimes fiery mix of melodic hardcore, punk and screamo with hints of early Protest the Hero. It's intense at times but at other times beautifully melodic. Guitar-duo Kazuki and Takahiro can really crank out some delightful melodic guitar one minute, only to bring out some roaring Metallica-esque thrash riffs the next (check out "Reborn" to see both sides in full effect). And boy can these guys also play fast: there is a wealth of punk style, fast drum-backed verses, with most of the songs at a relentless pace. The way everything is brought together is quite original for the most part too, with a wide variety of song structures (read, no breakdowns). Guitars aside I also liked the drumming by Eiji (watch out for some nice drum work on "Why...").

Looking at the vocals, Hiro provides the main cleans, which are high-pitched and loud, but thanks to the occasional auto-tuning, in tune, while the two guitarists Kazuki and Takahiro provide the bulk of the screams. Some songs only feature one kind or the other, but often there is a rapid exchanging, and while the clean vocals may take some warming up to, they soon become fitting over the more melodic moments such as on "Lights Of Vein" or "Rise". Do remember though that these guys probably don't speak fluent English, so given the fact that the lyrics are in English for the most part, expect a strong accent throughout.

Despite embracing a Western sound, there are still oriental elements to parts of the music (and not just because Hiro's Japanese accent is so strong). "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" has a wonderfully subtle Asian theme throughout, mainly with the spacey melodic guitar and the arrangement, before bringing in the double bass drums and the heavy guitar riffs. This reflects on the gradual rise of underground music within a country where this sort of music is noticeably hard to find. And as further credit to these guys, apart from the rather annoying DJ-remixed final track, this (rather long for a band of this nature, at just over 50 minutes and 16 tracks!) album was a lot of fun to listen to from the go. I call another surprise find.


Download: Los Angels, Reborn, Rise
For the fans of: 9mm Parabellum Bullet, Ellegarden, Protest The Hero
Listen: Myspace

Release date 14.04.2009
Vagrant Records

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