Tag Archive: On the Surface


Baal Japan Location: Tokyo, Japan – Genre: Industrial, Metal, Electro

Baal has an infectious, indeed virulent industrial sound. This review covers the first EP (CD-R alas) from the band, Territory of B.A.A.L. that has been built up by reworking earlier singles and new material. Their blend of industrial programming and guitar from Mikito, percussion from Chihiro and voice from U-Tarou has resulted in a kind of cybernetic industrial rock that plays hard, fast and is very, very addictive to see on stage. This CD manages to capture the live sound very closely, giving you a glimpse into the heady world of Japanese underground rock.

The CD contains six songs, all running at a frenetic pace. The first song, Bloody Logic Communication (re-mastered), speedballs along with the heavily warped digital sounds and powerful percussion giving a sense of urgency. U-tarou’s powerful voice plays over the instruments.

Wreckage (re-mastered) plays like an industrial anthem for the underclass with U-tarou exploding through the chorus and carries it through the verses.

Vermin (new track) is hard and powerful from the start with vocals exploding seconds into the track and driving through the violent beat of the track.

Myrrha (new track) is more a smashed-up rhythm created by real industrial sounds with samples steam hammers and chains. It is a slower track by this album’s standards.

On the Surface (2006 neo brutal version) starts slow, but builds up to very heavy (and yes it is brutal) sound, with a fast tempo and stacks of power.

The final track, Collapse of Rusty Kingdom (New) would be a moonlit ballad by Baal’s standards, with a slower tempo with steam hammers and the like forming the sound. It is a slow(er) instrumental track which makes a perfect finish to this adrenalin-pumping EP.

The only downside to this is the price – 2,000 yen – 12 Euros – $16 – which seems a bit expensive for an EP. Of course, for a fan, or appreciator of good hard industrial sounds, the price would not be an issue.

Overall, while I have enjoyed Baal’s previous work, I see this as a much more mature piece of work. The re-mastered tracks and the new additions have helped deliver a balanced EP from a band that has risen quickly in the ranks of the Japanese Goth scene.

Baal JapanTerritory of “B.A.A.L.” :: Track List
1. Blood_Logic_Communication (re-mastered) – 4:40
2. Wreckage (re-mastered) – 5:40
3. Vermin (new) – 4:06 – Sample
4. Myrrha (new) – 2:15
5. On the Surface (2006 neo brutal version) – 6:24 – Sample
6. Collapse of Rusty Kingdom (New) – 3:22
Total: 27:21

Note, there are more samples throughout their regular site and via their MySpace site.

You can buy the CD through PayPal. To get there, just click the link marked “Sound” on the left-hand side of the page and you should see the EP in the resulting page.

Dark WatersWith 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 WatersDark 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

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