Atsushi Onita: Hardest of the Hardcore

Atsushi Onita is generally credited with bringing the deathmatch style of professional wrestling to Japan.  Most American pro wrestling fans are familiar with Japanese deathmatch wrestling thanks to Mick Foley (competing as Cactus Jack), who famously took on Terry Funk in the finals of IWA’s King of Deathmatch tournament on August 30, 1995 at Kawasaki Baseball Stadium, but Onita was having deathmatches in Japan as far back as 1989, even going so far as to create his own promotion, the legendary Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, or FMW.  FMW might be the very first hardcore wrestling promotion, as ECW didn’t go “extreme” until 1994 and Combat Zone Wrestling wasn’t even founded until 1999.

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Vomit Remnants – Hyper Groove Brutality (Unique Leader, 2017)

Ever since releasing the underrated classic Supreme Entity back in 1999, Japanese brutal death metallers Vomit Remnants have been something of an on again / off again band; Metal Archives lists their years active as 1997-2001, 2001-2005, 2015-present. This might explain why it took them nearly two decades to record and release a follow-up in the form of this year’s Hyper Groove Brutality, but rest assured it was more than worth the wait.

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20 years of Masonna’s Inner Mind Mystique

MI0000109313A few years back, I wrote a piece about Relapse Records’ noise/ambient sub label Release Entertainment, which concurrently exposed me to a variety of experimental sounds as I was in the beginning stages of my deep dive into the worlds of death metal and grindcore.  One of the key albums in the Release catalog was Inner Mind Mystique, the seventh full length from Japanese noise provocateur Masonna (aka Yamazaki Maso).

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Melt-Banana’s joyful noise.

035It’s been a few weeks since I saw Melt-Banana at Harlow’s, and for some reason I just can’t get their set out of my mind.  Part of this is no doubt due to the fact that I actually got to see Melt-Banana; sure, they’ve toured the states many times, but keep in mind that I was living in the middle of Iowa up until a year ago, not exactly a hotbed for extreme and/or experimental music.  Since we’ve moved to Sacramento, I’ve already had the pleasure of seeing a handful of bands I never imagined I’d get the opportunity to see without traveling great distances (Sargeist and Ufomammut immediately spring to mind), and the Japanese duo are probably number one on the “holy shit, I can’t believe they’re actually playing where I live” list so far.

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Release the Noise!

VenereologyRGBMany moons ago Relapse Records introduced me to noise.  That’s probably a bit hard to imagine for younger folks that only know the label as the beard metal stronghold it is today, but trust me, way back when Relapse was releasing some seriously bonkers shit.  You see, Relapse used to have a sub-label called Release Entertainment and it was to noise, dark ambient and experimental music what Relapse once was to death metal, grindcore and the like.

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Full of Hell & Merzbow – s/t (Profound Lore, 2014)

a2883873483_10Few bands have captured my attention in 2014 quite like Full of Hell.  I had the pleasure of witnessing the quartet’s devastating, show-stealing live set back in August and was blown away by their combination of relentless intensity and determination to push the envelope of grind/hardcore deep into the realms of harsh noise.  It was like someone had thrown Jane Doe-era Converge in a blender with Release Records-era Merzbow and set that motherfucker to liquefy; easily one of the most simultaneously challenging and exhilarating live experiences ever.  Needless to say, when I caught wind of the announcement that they had signed a deal with Profound Lore and their debut for the venerable label would be a collaboration with the aforementioned Japanese God of Noise himself, anticipation was through the roof and then some.

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Bleedead – Mustma Dorcheme (Gore House Productions, 2014)

GHP013_Bleedead_-_Mustma_Dorcheme

Japan is home to some of the best contemporary brutal death metal there is.  From the sludgy slams of Gorevent to the visceral precision of Desacravity and beyond, the country has a proven knack for producing a variety of takes on the genre that are equal parts completely dedicated and completely fucking bonkers.  We can now add Nagoya’s Bleedead to the list, as they’ve dropped twelve minutes of spastic, slamming what-the-fuckery in the form of debut EP Mustma Dorcheme.

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