Seeing Japan from the perspective of entertainment, three significant forms will appear. One of them is the animation movie, the other one is the horror film industry. And the third one is music which is often put in three categories: J-Pop, J-Rock and J-Metal only. But people sometimes forget that Japan differs from the European or American standards in almost every field, including lifestyle, way of thinking, mythology and so on. This is why it’s always special when I get in touch with the pieces of this culture.
Kadenzza’s latest CD is a 2005 release named “The Second Renaissance“. This album is meant to be the renaissance of Asian extreme metal – as You Oshima, the mastermind of this one-man band, introduced it in an interview. The spiritual and futuristic artwork is made by painter David Ho whose works can be compared to the famous H.R. Giger’s. The name comes from cadenza (Italian for cadence) meaning the unaccompanied and vituoso solo part inserted into the last chapter of a concerto. You claims that it represents him perfectly.
Kadenzza’s music cannot be described with a few words, it’s more complex and progressive than that. The first song after the intro already gives you a piece of the music puzzle: you will have to expect furious blast-beats, razor-edged screaming insane vocals beside cleaner ones and sophisticated full-orchestra in the following. And later on the album it evolves into astral Japanese soprano, solemn church organ, hyper-speed neo-classical guitars and dancing intellectual piano with complicated rhythm. This is what it offers in general but the feelings the music generates are more important.
The lyrical themes of some songs are inspired by the Japanese animes. Stay with the already mentioned track called “Ghost In The Shell“. For those who are into this world, the name sounds damnly familiar. Yes, it’s the world-famous futuristic anime directed by Mamoru Oshii. This masterpiece of animation art influenced even the directors of the Matrix films. So we really got something here. The other anime opus I discovered is the “Mother’s Flesh” which is such a cruel adaptation of the well-known fairy-tale Little Red Riding Hood and on the other hand the song is based on “The Wolf Brigade” anime directed by Mamoru as well. This track is among the main highlights of the album.
Listening to this almost 9 minutes long interpretation, a dark and incredibly scary feeling gets into my mind prompting to me in every second that this is not going to be a happy end story. The Japanese freaks are the masters of thrilling. Just watch a Takashii Miike or Takashi Shimizu film alone. You will experience higher levels of creating fear and horror in the human brain than you used to feel while seeing the American copy-cat craps. The song guides you into a sincerely dreadful phantasmagoria and the end is going to be painful and bad, very bad. These lines make me shudder with cold:
– Mother’ I’m thirsty.
– Drink some wine from the jar.
– That’s your mother’s blood you’re drinking!
– Mother, a little bird in the chimney says I’m drinking your blood!
– Throw your cloak at it….
My other favourite song is called “The Abyss Stares At You“. The whole musical concept of this particular track is so atmospherical that I could imagine myself standing near the edge of an – how surprising – abyss. I’m looking down into the deep helm and see the darkness swirling there. Above me black clouds are lying on each other and moving so slow. Around me is a grey, dusty, lifeless and droughty plain. And here is the foggy abyss which is staring at me. It keeps asking me: why are you still there on the lowland? Why don’t you just step forward and fall into my mouth, let me swallow you, human! And it just keeps asking and asking. I feel I cannot resist the the temptation which nested itself into my mind telling me to jump into the depths…
Taking everything into account, this album proves that the original and mystical mindscape of You Oshima is definitely worth a try. This release is a must in the collection of those weirdos who are fascinated by the Eastern metal scene and don’t want to listen to only Sigh when it comes to avant-garde. There are other creative and energetic acts in that country, it’s just up to you whether you discover these treasures or not.
01 – In My Own Voice
02 – Ghost In The Shell
03 – The Embers Of Reverie
04 – The Abyss Stares At You
05 – Utakata
06 – In The Woods
07 – The Wolfoid
08 – Mother’s Flesh
09 – Redemption