Hello everyone! It’s me Tentaclesworth! Upon weeks of contemplation, I’ve decided to adopt the weekly column from Dormition who has joined ranks with The Monolith. I’d like to give this column a bit of a facelift and give it a new logo and a new preface, which should be ready to go for next week’s entry. I look forward to providing some insight to what I listen to and the music that made us heavy. So let’s get to it!
The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
Today we venture into the wacky realm of Maximum the Hormone. The band name itself sets an expectation. It doesn’t make any sense for one thing and seemingly satirizes Verb the Noun type bands. Though any correlation between the trend in band names and Maximum’s own band name is purely coincidence. Maximum the Hormone though sounds like something fun and maybe even silly. Say it out loud and see if you can attach any negative connotations to it. There are definitely easier things to do right?
Maximum the Hormone are a 4 piece Experimental Nu Metal band. You could call them Japanese System of a Down but that would be a bit of a stretch. These guys know fun and they know metal. In fact if I were to give them a genre, I’d call it fun metal. Since there is no meaning in their lyrics, there is no message. If you looked into it, their lyrical approach is a random hodgepodge of Japanese and English with no regard for meaning or coherency. So you can forget about the any kind of politics or bigger meaning behind the lyrics leaving the canvas blank for gang shouts, rapping, epic melodies, frantic screams and bellowing growls to not be anchored by any meaning other than your own. The only job the vocals have are to convey emotion and aside from the odd bout of death metal growls, they seem to only care about euphoria and whatever emotions you harness in a moshpit. One of the worst things you can do is watch their misheard lyrics videos. I’ve been into this band ever since their single ‘What’s Up, People?’ was used on the intro of Death Note (in Japan) and I still can’t stop hearing the words “PORN! GET PORN” at the beginning of the aforementioned track or “What’s up, feels like pie” during the chorus and then there’s my personal favourite “WITH FOUR WHEELS! IT’S MORE SAFE! IT’S GOT FRICTION!” during the bridge. Six years later and I find myself singing those same words and melodies in those horrid fan-made videos years later.
This album was really alluring to a kid trying to find his footing in the metal world and in retrospect, it probably resulted in my sporadic tastes and tolerance of many genres that I would later escape to. Among my many phases as a teen, could very well be a bi-product of the countless times I enjoyed Buiikikaesu during my formative years. There were times where all I would listen to was pop-punk which you’ll find littered between the death metal verses of songs like ‘Policeman Benz,’ ‘Louisiana Bob,’ and ‘Shimi‘ and at others, I found solace in ska bands like Ninjaspy, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Voodoo Glow Skulls. Sure it’s tons of fun, but without songs like ‘Kuso Breakin Nou Breakin Lily’ I might never have turned my head. Hell, if I didn’t admittedly listen to pop and top 40 hits as a child, I could possibly credit current guilty pleasures like Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry to Maximum the Hormone. ‘Koi No Mega Lover’ is essentially a pop song with hardcore verses. Listening to it now, it’s amazing how oblivious I was to the versatility of the band. Before my critical opinion mattered, this band managed to combine ska, pop-punk, hardcore, nu-metal, alternative rock and pop and it flew right over my head.
Buiikikaesu isn’t just an achievement in genre mashing though. It also landed Maximum a top ten hit on the Oricon music charts (essentially Japan’s Billboard 200), and the album debuted at number five, eventually going Gold. Though, it was their last album since 2007 and despite two EP’s released between then and now, we haven’t seen a substantial Maximum the Hormone release in quite some time. Conveniently however, we should be anticipating a new record from the group sometime this year! But until then, “CAMERA PHONE”!