Since forming in Tokyo in 2015, HANABIE. have been on an upward trajectory, and having recently scored a deal with Epic Records Japan it seems that the stratosphere is the limit. Their sophomore album (and first for their new label) Reborn Superstar! continues the good work of its predecessor, it is a bundle of fun that’s sure to propel the band into metal’s premier league.
With an introduction that doesn’t give any indication of the coming storm, ‘Blast Off’ is a storm of scintillating synths that bounces along like the most buoyant of songs, and its distinctly un-metal feel means that when opener ‘Hyperdimension Galaxy’ hits, it hits with the force of a ten-ton hammer. It’s metalcore, but not like anything you’ve ever heard before; crushing riffs are given shade by J-pop sweetness and the two act as a foil, with each enhancing and highlighting the other. Yet that’s only one of many juxtapositions that echo throughout the album as gruff vocals nestle next to clean and monstrous riffs clash with bludgeoning beatdowns. It’s a constant push and pull, a to and fro that stretches the listener in two directions and makes for an intriguing listen.
HANABIE.’s songs rarely follow a conventional verse-chorus-verse structure, and the unorthodox nature of their sound might initially sound strange to Western ears, yet once you lock into their modus operandi, there’s no turning back. It’s not knowing in what tangent the band will veer which makes them such an intriguing listen. But not only musically, HANABIE. mix up genres with reckless abandon, and Reborn Superstar! throws
everything from hardcore punk to electronica into the skillet and the resulting sound is a feast for the ears. Of course, meshing genres together is no easy task; get the blend wrong and you could be left with an unlistenable stew, but in whatever guise the band appear they never lose sight of melody, and this renders them extremely likeable.
When it comes to metalcore, things have rarely been performed with the fury HANABIE. display; like standing at the door of a blazing furnace, ‘Run Away (Tousou)’ is a white-hot blast of sonic fury with Yukina’s caustic vocals singeing the hairs on your skin. Ticking like the Doomsday Clock, ‘Pardon Me, I Have To Go Now’ is powered by a raucous riff, and it is here where the twin vocal attack comes into its own with Matsuri’s clean vocals contrasting Yukina’s, and the two conspire to attack your senses like a swarm of bees. Ending on an upbeat note, final track ‘Today’s A Good Day & So Epic’ is a bullet train that speeds past, ruffling our hair and leaving us dazed within its slipstream (but in the best way, of course).
At barely 30-minutes, Reborn Superstar! is a fairly brief listen, yet true to the old adage, it certainly leaves you hungry for more.
- Reborn Superstar is released via Epic Records Japan and is available now (from here).
- Official Website
- Blast Off
- Hyperdimension Galaxy
- Neet Game
- This Is The Year To Be A Gal (Early Summer Version)
- Tales Of Villain
- I Am The Most Powerful Invader Girl In The Universe
- Run Away (Tousou)
- Pardon Me, I Have To Go Now
- Today’s A Good Day & So Epic