With the growing interest of Japanese Gothic music over the watered-down Visual Kei (which is still often mistaken as Japanese Goth), so too has the number and quality of Gothic music releases increased. Perhaps the best way to get into this exciting avenue of the Japanese underground scene is through omnibuses of leading artists in the scene.
Dark Waters, released in late 2006, does an admiral job of introducing the world to JGoth by featuring a compilation featuring 12 artists in Japan. The tracks run the gamut from harsh electro-industrial and EBM to death rock and hardcore industrial. This is the first time for all the songs to be on CD, with a number of purely new tracks and those that were only available in CD-R format at events.
The label, Deathwatch Asia, is based in Osaka and through connections in Tokyo and Nagoya has resulted in a nation-wide mix of artists. This ensures a healthy cross-section of Goth-industrial music from throughout Japan. This album is perfect for anybody seeking a broad view of the true Gothic scene in Japan.
The album starts with a hard industrial beats from 2 Bullet’s Drain People’s Blood (Cold War Remix). This is followed hard electronic industrial Satanic Panzer Unit (SOTF Remix). The third song is a very danceable remix of Agent Murder’s Ballet of the Unhatched Fools. Psycho Dream’s self-titled track mixes traditional sounds and beats with heavy guitar riffs all backed by the soft vocals of the lead singer. This is followed by the soft rock ballad of Satanyanko’s Little Abandoned Cat in the Dark (sadly this quickly maturing group broke up shortly after this recording), probably the best track on the album.
The next song on the menu was Jet Pepper Tower’s Nocturnal Cabaret, and this straight rock piece jagged against the other tracks on the CD. It would be great on a J-Rock compilation. The CD got back into order with the next track from Baal, a downright scary piece of cybernetic electronicka and industrial noise with a powerful femme voice leading the action. The next track was an ultra-heavy industrial grindcore of Despair’s Junk War (Riot Command Mix). This leads into an inspiring self-titled, heavy rock-industrial piece from Destruct System.
This was followed by the fine electro-Euro-friendly-beat Death Wish from Sins of the Flesh. The next track was a fun tongue-in-cheek electro-slash called Bad Movie Disco King from Aural Vampire. The CD finished with the electro-rock Future by Future from Speecies.
Being in Japan I have had access to a number of the songs on CD-R or seen the live versions, but the CD was still very fresh to listen to. There were a couple of tracks that I did not like, one that really should not have been on a Goth CD, but in general it was a great selection of tracks. On the technical side all the recordings were professional, crisp and clear.
The price is also amazing – just 1,500 yen in Japan, or 10 Euros for over 60 minutes of a very fresh music scene – making this a great item to get for someone into J-music styles or international Goth or if you are just looking for a new sound to love!
Dark Waters Track List
1. 2Bullet :: Drain People’s Blood (Cold War Remix) – 5.23
2. Demonoid 13 :: Satanic Panzer Unit (Sins Of The Flesh Remix) – 6.38
3. Agent Murder :: Ballet Of The Unhatched Fools (Re-Hatched) – 4.03
4. Psycho Dream :: Psycho Dream – 3.31
5. Satanyanko :: Little Abandoned Cat In The Dark – 3.48
6. Jet Pepper Tower :: Nocturnal Cabaret – 7.31
7. Baal :: On The Surface 2006 (Start The New Brutal) – 6.08
8. Despair :: Junk War (Riot Command Remix) – 3.07
9. Destruct System :: Destruct System – 3.44
10. Sins of the Flesh Death Wish (Mayan Sacrifice Mix) – 6.15
11. Aural Vampire :: Bad Movie Disco King – 5:18
12. Speecies :: Future By Future – 4.42
Total time: 60:17