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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Guitarist wo Korosanaide, bloodthirsty butchers

“Expectations can be a wicked thing to overcome, especially for a band with a career as illustrious as bloodthirsty butchers.” - James Route, review of Guitarist wo Korosanaide on Keikaku a couple of weeks ago. This is undoubtedly true but I have a confession to make - even though I write regularly about Japanese music, Guitarist wo Korosanaide is the first bloodthirsty butchers album I’ve ever bought (I also killed the class hamster when I was in primary school but that was in self-defence and it’s a story for another day). There, I said it, I feel so much better. Now that my bloodthirsty butchers cherry has been popped, the question is, “How was it for me?” Short answer - probably better than anyone who is coming to this album with previous knowledge of the band.

bloodthirsty butchers have been making music since 1987, and twenty years down the line this album does sound like a blast from an earlier era. Do you remember when shirts were plaid, hair was greasy and the Cult of Kurt still revolved around a living figurehead? Do you pine for raggedy-arsed vocals backed up with guitar parts you can park a bus on? Do you want some retro-sounding rock that wasn’t made by a group of pale Gang of Four fans in skinny ties and shite haircuts? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions then this album is one you should probably seek out.

For me, “yeah#1” is one of the best opening songs I’ve heard on an album in recent times, and it was an obvious choice for the first single. It’s hardly going to rival dubstep in terms of innovation or originality but it’s an exhilarating way to kick things off - the drums sound like they’re being pummeled to within an inch of their lives, the riffs are huge and the vocals unashamedly shouty. It sounds early Nineties and there isn’t a lot on here that breaks that mould. For some people that may make this album something of a drag but I’ve found myself coming back to this album again and again. The only complaint I’d have about Guitarist wo Korosanaide is that most of the tracks could have done with some more judicious editing. Most of them clock in at between five and six minutes, and more often than not the final minute is little more than instrumental fluff that adds little to the song.

If you’re already a fan of the band then you’re probably going to find this record disappointing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Guitarist wo Korosanaide earns bloodthirsty butchers a few more fans. There’s more than enough here to draw in casual listeners, a lot of whom will go on and seek out some of the band’s earlier work, me included.