Friday, March 3, 2017

LET THEM EAT METAL #10: Just Bring It by Band-Maid (Moé maids playing heavy rock, who knew Japan would rock this hard?)

In the days of yore, when pop music meant something, it was filled with nourishing musical ideas and showed the tides of progress.  But then something happened, the ability for it to fill our soul has nearly vanished, and the masses are starved on good music.  There’s the occasional quality track that stays good after multiple spins, but it has gotten to the moment where even good pop music gets stale.  We live in a white-bread world in mainstream music.  However, there’s salvation from the drek that the masses need to know about.  In the words of Marie Antoinette, or more accurately The Rods quoting her: “LET THEM EAT METAL!”

Hello degenerates, heathens, weirdos, and deviants.  I am the Rock Otaku, and I’m here to show you worlds such as hard rock, metal, punk, alternative rock, movies, TV, anime, video games, and anything that makes us scream, shout, and run with the devil.

This series is dedicated to the best that heavy metal can offer.  As you will read, I will take you on a journey though the annals of heavy metal’s storied history from its beginning in early 70s, its crystallization in the late 70s and early 80s, its breakthrough into mainstream conscience in the early to mid-80s, its maturation in the late 80s and 90s, its dominance (sort of) in the 2000s and even today, and the rare moments that very few talk about unless in the company of like-minded fans.  Not in that order, but I’ll be looking at the footnotes oh metal history in the order I desire.  In short, this series is about metal, plain and simple.

But if there’s an issue that I have with this series at its tenth entry, it’s that I’ve been focusing too much on the past.  But you know to the saying: Learning from the past helps one avoid repeating mistakes from then in the future.  But what’s also an important phrase: “There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day.”  Yeah, that was a line from the Sherman Brothers-penned song from the Carousel of Progress in Disney World (I’m sure most Disney historians and Floridians would have gotten that already), but it’s relevant to why I’m looking into the future by reviewing an album from the present.  While looking into and making fun of yesterday is fun, it’s better to dream up the ideas and concepts today to ensure a great, big, beautiful tomorrow.  And some ways are to, sometimes, look at where we are at in science, technology, engineering, math, art, music, literature, cinema, animation, from what we’ve done and change a slight detail about a certain topic, field, style, and so on to create something arguably-revolutionary.

Take, for example, maid cafes and hard rock.  Do you think that these two disparate elements should go together?  The usual answer from a hard conservative, a staunch Christian, or a grunge fanatic is a resounding:
But for a dreamer, a thinker, an experimenter, or, in this case, a desperate (if western) or creative (if Japanese) music executive, this is a pool of untapped resources.  To combine the two would, for the market, appeal to both single otaku virgins, hard rockers, men and women with a fascination with maids, metalheads, cosplayers, actual maids, outcasts, punks, and girls of all ages if done right.  And today, I see if this experiment works in the form of Band-Maid.

For those who don’t know where Band-Maid comes from, here’s an image of the band:
Now try to convince me that these girls are French.  If not, then it’s even clearer that this is a byproduct of the kawaii metal boom started by BabyMetal.  Ah, kawaii metal, the result of realizing that a lot of anime has j-pop themes that incorporate elements of heavy metal, extreme metal, and power metal.  As a result, a music producer for Sakura Gakuin decided to take a few girls and have them sing over a mix of bubblegum, electropop, and, more importantly, death metal, metalcore, alternative metal, thrash metal, power metal, and probably progressive metal.  And that’s how BabyMetal came into existence, and then we had many other bands come in, such as LadyBaby (who’s gimmick is the burly Australian man in drag and pigtails providing harsh vocals) and today’s band Band-Maid.  But Band-Maid are slightly different than the other bands.

Unlike the artists and bands that are rooted in idol pop, it looks as if Band-Maid take more from otaku culture while drawing musically from hard rock, heavy metal, glam metal, alternative metal, alternative rock, pop punk, emo, metalcore, and other similar genres.  In short, they’re a more straightforward hard rock band with a decidedly moé appearance and appeal.  What that entails is music that could be played on active rock radio and alongside other acts like Shinedown, Three Days Grace, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Halestorm, Highly Suspect, Metallica, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Alter Bridge, Chevelle, Parkway Drive, Adelitas Way, Red Sun Rising, and so on while their image lures in nerds, otaku, and others that wouldn’t usually listen to these acts unless they need ideas for an amv (or anime music video for non-otaku) they’re making with an action theme.  Expect thrashing riffs, pounding drums, thick bass, and soaring vocals from some very cute girls here.

As for how I stumbled on this band, the image caught my eye first (literally), and the sound made me realize that this band can go places.  Yes, I’ve started giving this band some visual interest after seeing them linked to other girly j-metal acts through sites like, Spotify, and so on.  While that may be a sign that these girls shouldn’t be trusted on a musical standpoint, it wasn’t until recently that I decided to go down this rabbit hole to understand what their sound is.  It started while prepping for the idea of doing this during the writing of the last entry.  Then I realized that, much to my initial frustration, that there was no online versions of this album in particular due to how the Japanese distribute music from their artists, the fact that this album was very recent, like released-in-2017 recent, and not finding a reliable version of the album from the American version of iTunes to download.  So I just bought the CD from Amazon and listened to it that way.  Was that a good idea in the long run?  You’ll find out as this review goes on.  But does that mean I’ll stick with my current way of reviewing in this series?  Let me state that the main format will be used if it’s not meant to be a quick entry or if the album came out at least a year before the intended date of publishing of that particular blog.  So that means that this album doesn’t meet the cutoff date for this series, due to its international release last month, and that it’ll get a shorter, more to-the-point, “should I also order this album from Amazon or EBay,” kind of review.

But don’t think that my weird sense of humor won’t be underused here.  Instead, it’ll be used more as a way to break up sentences and add to my thoughts on this album.  Also, it’s my silly opinion, so if you don’t like my opinion or this album, great.  Music is subjective anyway, and it’s better to have different opinions anyway, like Nickelback turning you off of harder, grungier rock or still being a fan of Nickelback (or Creed, or Limp Bizkit, or Puddle of Mudd, or Theory of a Deadman, or Hinder, or Five Finger Death Punch, or Black Veil Brides, or Asking Alexandria, or even Kanye West, but positive thoughts on Kid Rock may not be tolerated).  Plus Band-Maid’s style, which I will discuss, may not be something you’d enjoy, I mean, it’s not as if they can cause disdain from both people demanding more pathetic PC sorry-excuses-for-music and the macho morons who demand that bands look and sound like 90s Pantera or Nirvana exactly.
Don't be like this guy!
Now for the review.  I think that this album shows not just a lot of promise for this band of heavy metal maids, but that it might be one of the most deceptive hard rock releases of 2017 so far.  Specifically, if you saw the title art and though that this would be some sort of anime-inspired emo album, you’d be pounded out of the gate in realizing just how wrong you might be.  Yes, there are songs about more emotional material and dealing with some heartache and the pains of the world, but it’s more about standing up, showing the world that you can take the pain and turn it into something amazing, and being yourself in a crazy world.  All of this is done through face-melting, metallic hard rock that will restore your faith in metal.  The guitars crunch, the bass is thick, the drums are pounding, and the vocals are not the cute, j-pop vocal variety of female singers in the land of the rising sun; they are deeper, charismatic, raw, and slightly more sensual while having a focus on belting.  The emotions are strong, the sound is raw, the production is fantastic (thanks to Koji Goto, whom I’d like to produce more rock music after this), the technicality is on-point, and so on.  I could stop here and just say that this is good and say that you should check it out, but I’m sure that I could also have more ways of saying that in this paragraph.
So you want another paragraph, Zoro?
Okay then.

To properly do this for this series, I’ve decided to go by the elements that are prevalent throughout this album and reflect how it adds to the album as a whole.

Classic Hard Rock:

Specifically, how it compares to the likes of AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, and so on.  In a way, Band-Maid does feels like a gender bender version of those acts, from all the members being women to the sound being as raw and aggressive as their male counterparts while dealing with more feminine topics.  But that doesn’t mean the album is nowhere as sugary as acts like BabyMetal.  This is pure, unhinged hard rock with some metallic elements (which I’ll discuss below) that deals with themes of being yourself, dealing with the frustrations of the world, and the relationships the girls get themselves in.  As in, expect hard-edged riffs, some swing to the songs, powerful vocals, an even more powerful rhythm section, concert-friendly anthems, and shredding solos.  As I’ll discuss below, there will be a metallic twist to the music, but anthems like “Don’t you tell ME,” “Puzzle,” “モラトリアム,” “YOLO,” “Take me higher ! !,” “So,What?,” and so on are definitely are accessible enough to be considered excellent old-school hard rock.  Also adding to that is Saiki’s vocals being loaded with swagger, bite, intensity, and other great things that make the songs kick ass.  This is definitely an album that’ll appeal to fans of AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, and so on.
My thoughts on the band at this point.
Modern Hard Rock:

For those who are wondering what the phrase “Modern Hard Rock” entails, it means hard rock with modern (i.e. grunge, emo, hip hop, nu metal, pop punk, and metalcore) influences.  And does this album sound modern?
Bison, what are you doing here?!
The sound, production, and instrumentation techniques have strong elements that would be common in the music of Alter Bridge, Avenged Sevenfold, Breaking Benjamin, Parkway Drive, Shinedown, Bullet For My Valentine, and other bands.  This is especially present in the first four songs, “Don’t you tell ME,” “Puzzle,” “モラトリアム,” and “YOLO.”  There are also elements of it in “Take Me Higher ! !,” “you.,” “Awkward,” “decided by myself,” and “secret My lips.”  Does that mean the album is unlistenable to those who swore off any rock after the release of Nevermind?  Not really, but it’s going to be interesting how most of you will react to the song’s I’ll show.  The sound does have a modern flair, and that is a result of Koji Goto’s production work, leading to a lot of explosive choruses, a trademark of radio rock.  Plus there are strong elements of metal, punk, grunge, hardcore, emo, and even some pop in the musical production.  Plus there is a strong musical connection with Halestorm as both bands are straightforward hard rock acts with room to throw in some flair and fronted by women with powerful vocalists.  If that causes any issues, it’s that the music is pretty predictable, though catchy, if you are familiar with the elements, tropes, clichés, and techniques prevalent in modern hard rock.  But the unpredictability does come from the language and image (unless Buckcherry starts cosplaying as Rocky Horror characters live).  But what keeps this from being fetid Nickelback-esque radio rock?

Heavy Metal:

There is a strong touch of heavy metal in the music.  But what about this is metal?  A lot, actually.  The tempos are fast and furious, and there are few-to-no ballads here.  Every song has some sort of bite, darkness, and sense of danger.  The guitars involve palm-muted riffs, power chords, and lots of shred parts, especially the solos.  The bass is thick and prevalent, providing a sense of punch.  And the drums include cymbal-bashing, lots of double kick lines, and a loud, pounding, thunderous presence.  While the vocals aren’t exactly Ozzy Osbourne-style wailing, Rob Halford-esque banshee shrieks, Bruce Dickinson’s siren wails, Ronnie James Dio’s epic delivery, Lemmy’s low guttural roar, the rasp of Cronos, King Diamond’s ear-piercing falsetto, James Hetfield’s deep gruff delivery, or even the low demonic growls of Chris Barnes, they do their job well.  The only time they sound noticeably poppy is on “TIME,” but they are closer to the hard-hitting j-rock vocal delivery, and it fits with the metallic blitzkrieg of the rest of the album.  As for the songs I’ve already mentioned, the songs do have their metallic moments as I’ve referenced, with some songs having moments driven by double-kick drumming, long, shredding solos that include two-handed tapping (it’s as if tapping will make you more like a glam or j-rock guitarist if you’re not in metal and you play lead guitar), and enough headbanger-friendly beats to wreck necks on listens.  And the drive does not stop, even when the music gets slightly softer and about to go into ballad delivery.  There are no ballads here, despite the closest song being considerable as one being “Awkward,” so expect a lot of energy and rage.  Don’t expect 80s Metallica here, but you’ll get something with equal amounts of bite as well as the bite of Megadeth, the swagger of Judas Priest, the speed of Accept, the technicality of Iron Maiden, the shock-factor of Slayer and W.A.S.P., the straight-forwardness of Motörhead, the groove of Pantera, and weirdness of Anthrax.

Pop Metal:

Pop metal, such as with Dokken, Winger, Firehouse, Danger Danger, and some of TNT, is defined by heavy riffs, catchy hooks, and commercial accessibility.  And this band runs on that twofold.  The sound may be more modern (I’ll get to that), but the roots in Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard, Van Halen, KISS, Ratt, Dokken, Motley Crue, Poison, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Winger, Warrant, Cinderella, Skid Row, and the Scorpions are very prevalent when you understand the tropes and a few musical lines.  Each and every single song has one hell of a chorus that’ll have you chanting along (or humming if you can’t speak Japanese), and they are all extremely done.  Plus the riffs are catchy and can be heard alongside whatever rock radio plays these days (or maybe not because of how the banjos and mandolins are still prevalent, but I’ll continue my Billboard Rock chart watch to see if my hunch here is right).  And like any strong pop metal band, the guitar solos are awesome.  But unlike the offenders in the genre, it’s as if the music is organic, making it sound as if the actual band members, all of them girls, all of them wearing maid uniforms in their appearances, all of them coming from the Akihabara scene, are playing their respective instruments, which is more impressive considering all of that.  Unlike our pop starlets, these girls know how to play and make an impression.

Modern Metal:

There are two types of modern metal that one can easily classify recent metal releases as: mainstream and extreme (plus power for the nerds out there).  This falls into the former with the elements described above.  Mainstream means that the songs have a strong groove, pounding riffs and rhythms, elements of thrash and groove metal mixed with emo, post-hardcore, hard rock, traditional metal, hair metal, grunge, post-grunge, alternative rock and progressive rock.  And you can definitely hear elements of A7X, Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Bullet, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Godsmack, Alter Bridge, Shadows Fall at their most glam, All That Remains if they didn’t suck now, In Flames if they didn’t suck now, Five Finger Death Punch if they didn’t suck now, and Black Veil Brides if they didn’t lose relevance, and Falling In Reverse if they didn’t belong with Anakin:
Seriously, their impression on me is this soft.
And Band-Maid are here.
We think you got the wrong place for Ronnie Radke again.  He belongs next door with Kylo Ren.

“And I’m still not a weenie.”
Seriously, until The Last Jedi comes out, calling Ben Solo an emo weenie will still be funny (it may still be).

But the modern metal elements are most prevalent in “Puzzle,” “you.,” and “secret My lips” in my silly, Kämpfer-referencing opinion.  They have the grooves, the choruses, the chord patterns, and the technicality that’s common in that genre.  Hell, the former may sound like BabyMetal at points, but it’s still based in hard rock and heavy metal and not idol pop and metalcore.  Plus the solos are based around shred and blues, which are two common soloing styles in modern metal alongside classical and jazz.  If you want great-sounding modern metal, and you are an otaku, you cannot go wrong with Band-Maid.

"Are you serious?!"
The reason?  It has to do with the fact that “Take Me Higher!” has a very similar riff and structure to “Animals” by Nickelback.  No joke, the opening riffs to both songs sound alike.  And plus there’s the similar beats.  But that’s where the two songs stop at the similarities and reveal themselves to be very different lyrically and quality-wise.  Whereas the infamous butt-rock hit is about very wild sex with this girl Chad Kroeger is into (before the dad starts chasing after her), the rocker on this album is an anthem for overcoming obstacles and being unstoppable.  Plus there’s all the guitar work, where Miku Kobato and Kanami play shredding, tasty solos while I’m sure Nickelback never even attempts to play a solo on their rocker.  And also “Animals” is a blatant ripoff of “Cherry Pie” but without the humor or the great solo by (surprisingly) C.C. Deville (and Joey Allan and Eric Turner never played a note of that solo like they didn’t with many others).  If you had a gun at my head and made me choose between this song and “Animals,” I’d pick this over that humiliating Denny’s stalker anthem.  And that’s my two cents on that.  Plus, there’s all the elements in instrumentation and production that could be similar in execution to what usually heard in most post-grunge anyway.

Alternative Rock/Metal:
Ultimately, we kind of have to get to this point due to certain elements, and how I feel about the state of rock and metal in the current day due to past phenomena.  Back in 1991, an album called Nevermind came out, causing bands and record labels to look into the Seattle sound, a.k.a. grunge, and get more of that due to the massive success of the Nirvana album alongside the success of Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains at the same time.  As a result, previous rock trends, like heavy metal, shred solos, arena rock, and adult contemporary format-friendly ballads, were sent underground and to the rural regions of the U.S. (gee, I wonder what kind of bands Trump supporters listen to), while riff-driven, punk-inspired rock and alternative rock became the norm.  After a while, most bands started taking the sound of Seattle and writing mainstream-friendly rock songs that way, kick starting post-grunge, which started as a reflection on grunge’s status as mainstream darlings at the time and felt like a mix of it and hard rock, with elements of grunge becoming embedded into hard rock and traditional rock lyrics being incorporated into songs in an “alternative” sound, causing genres like 2nd-wave post-grunge, nu metal (which was more the result of grunge and another mentioned genre getting mixed together), and alternative rock to become the new mainstream rock, and genres like garage rock, blues rock, retro rock, and so on to be put under the indie banner like with alternative beforehand.

Another band that came around in that era on the metal side was Pantera, who started as a hair band, but got heavier by the time their major-label debut, Cowboys From Hell, came out.  After that, their sound got heavier, more groove-driven, more hardcore-inspired, and lyrically darker and more personal, causing the rise and appeal of genres like nu metal and metalcore to rise against the flannel, boy bands, and tween idols that came in their wake.  Along with Pantera was Rage Against the Machine, who turned rap metal, a mix of hip hop and heavy metal, into the rage of a more-liberal generation than most (which then became soft and politically correct, what the hell?!).  And both bands would bring the element that would become nu metal, which would later receive more derision than hair metal at the beginning and contribute to, in most music analysts’ eyes, the death of rock music in the mainstream. 
Way to go Phil Anselmo, you’re a Steve Martin movie.
So why bring these up?  They are a part of the musical diet of rock fans who were growing up or born around the time this music was in.  As a result, despite me singing the praises of traditional, speed, thrash, power, and hair metal in previous entries, styles like grunge, nu metal, post-grunge, metalcore, groove metal, alternative metal, pop punk, alternative rock, emo, and, well, “mainstream” rock are a big part in how I got into bands of those genres (alongside classic rock), and why I give this band a massive boost in attention (hopefully).  Well, that and the soundtracks to the Dreamcast-era Sonic games.  And anime soundtracks having rock tunes as their themes.  And Band-Maid have elements of those genres of music alongside the classic influences.  From the use of musical elements from 90s rock to the lyrics dealing with personal themes, regardless if they’re more about stuff that’s common in other hard rock acts from the 80s, they are also influenced by the surprisingly global reach of alternative rock in the 90s.  Plus you can hear these songs on active rock radio, which still plays alternative metal to this day, and that is a plus here.

Pop Punk:
“Okay, oro?”
Some of the melodies come from pop punk, especially on “TIME.”  There’s also the focus on speedy songs dealing with relationships, breaking molds, and loss.  As a result, this could be considered by some people as a Japanese version of Paramore with shred solos.  The pop punk elements are more prevalent on “CROSS,” “OOPARTS,” and “TIME,” just to remind you all.  And because I have a soft spot for Paramore (I did buy Riot alongside Indestructible by Disturbed in Disney World, and I have listened to the former in its entirety at least once in my life), that’s not an issue here, but it may be for some people.  But don’t let that take away their metal credibility, the hard rock and metal elements are prevalent, loud and proud.  That allows for a wider fan base for this band.


Now for the most important genre classification for this band: J-Rock.  Probably because of how weird Japan is versus the West from the point of view of most Westerners, stuff like Band-Maid can flourish.  As for the style of rock, think about this: if X Japan never existed, or if Hide isn’t globally mourned, then j-rock wouldn’t be seen as this big, amazing thing it is among otaku and global music fans.  Whereas j-pop is more interested in sugary sounds and themes, j-rock is the angry, emotional, artistic, and wild brother (or sister, depending on if it’s an all-girl band) that’d rather get in bar fights, get tattooed up, drink like a fish, and play children’s card games on motorcycles.  And, based on the previous observations, Band-Maid definitely fits into the louder, meaner category of modern, non-traditional Japanese music (as in relying on western-inspired instrumentation rather than a koto).  The songs are loud, emotionally-driven, hard-hitting, and loaded with impressive instrumentation.  Plus the lack of synthesizers outside of one song or two, and the use of vocals in a lower register add to the rockier tone of this album, and it’s one hell of a ride.  Plus the fact that you have girls dressed as maids playing aggressive, dirty, sleazy, and empowering rock ‘n’ roll is something so contrasting that this is definitely the result of Japanese otaku culture being more prevalent in rock circles.  What I hope is that most rock, punk, and metal fans realize that Japan, and otaku culture in particular, understands them and why they listen to the music they do better than they do now.  It’s not that there isn’t some cross-fandom merging rockers, punks, and metalheads with otaku, it’s that it isn’t big enough.  There’s this sort of stigma that otaku would rather listen to cutesy j-pop rather than pulse-pounding rock when the opposite is not just more likely, but more interesting.  Not to say that fans of magical girl shows should listen to Salems Lott, Nashville *****, Cannibal Corpse, and Dead Kennedys or vice versa (fans of those bands watching or re-watching Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura), but it’s kind of cool that Trey Azagthoth of Morbid Angel fame is a Sailor Moon fanboy.  And any merges between anime and rock/metal usually leads to magic may it be a very aggressive theme song or something like Berserk or Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, so seeing more of this would be satisfactory to this Rock Otaku.  The opposite is also true and okay for me.  But this going for too long, isn’t it.

As for any weaknesses for this band? 
"They have weaknesses!?"
The language barrier can cause the hooks, as catchy as they are, to lose their stick on those not fluent in Japanese.  Plus, as you should know about me, modern rock and metal, alongside j-rock, are acquired tastes, so someone who hates post-Nirvana rock with a fiery passion may not enjoy this album as much.  As for the elements modern rock in the band’s sound, the classic elements also add to another flaw: predictability.  Not to say that these songs are bad, but it’s easy to determine what they sound like and what they’re about based on the title.  But does that mean ‘YOLO” is a bad song because the song is about giving it your all and seizing the day?  No, it’s a great song, and it’s the only time where that stupid phrase has any sort of purpose (instead of doing stupid things).  That and, when you have a version with the translated lyrics, you start to realize these themes are prevalent in rock already and that they don’t play with the maid aspect of their image in the lyrics.  It’s just straightforward hard rock in Japanese, and that might undersell the band to some people.  Even my review might have demystified this band’s sound to GNR-meets-AIC-meets-Metallica-meets-A7X.  But for me, it’s great regardless, and I feel that the purpose of the rock being unfiltered, no BS, metallic fury makes the whole maid gimmick feel like something that’s part of the image while the band aims for mainstream success.  Not every band can be Alestorm, Steel Panther, Ex Deo, and so one, where the gimmick takes over even the music and lyrics.  They can be the right mix of authentic and gimmicky, like Band-Maid.

So overall, this band kicks ass, and this album is proof of that.  These girls have the skill, the look, the sound, and the attitude to take them places beyond maid cafes and anime conventions (even if I wouldn’t mind if they kept to their roots).  Their songs are awesome, the instrumentation is stellar, the vocals are fantastic, the hooks are infectious, the riffs slay, the lyrics are empowering, despite the language of choice, and the delivery is top-grade.  If U.S. radio stations are willing to give them a shot, alongside the BabyMetal fanbase, then they should have no problem becoming international superstars.  This may be due to being fresh to the party, but I feel that this album is worth owning.  The main deal is the fact that this is a great rock record that just happens to be from a band from Japan who’s adopted the kawaii culture of that nation in image but not music.  So for fans of my series, if you’re on Amazon and you stumble on this album, and you wonder if you should buy it:

Final Rating: 9/10 (Definitely worth importing.  RIGHT NOW!)

And now for something interesting to know about me.  While I have made a niche for myself as a music reviewer (focusing on rock and metal), there are signs that I’m more than that.  That is not just because of my movie reviews and top 10s based on stuff other than music.  This also includes the fact that I am the kind of person that tends to have crazy ideas that could, in my opinion, enhance or alter industries that I am passionate about.  There are cases where this might or might not be possible, and I am okay with how things are running (i.e. the fact that anime is mainstream enough to inspire western media but niche enough that we don’t get 4Kids-esque localizations like in the early to mid-00s) and I would humble contribute to in simple ways, but there are others where I feel my creative juices can cause some major shifts in media.  Do I want them all to become true, not really, but for now, with inspiration from Band-Maid being a legitimate hard rock band who just happens to have a specified image, I have a crazy idea for a rock band if you have any interest in knowing.  Specifically the idea of creating a band with legitimate music with a specified theme and idea and an image that translates into other media like movies, TV, cartoons, comics, literature, and so on.  For a basic overview, think KISS except the merchandise were all based around stories that serve as the focus for albums.  Also, think of Coheed and Cambria except with a band image that reflected the Armory Wars rather than casual wear.  Effectively, if a band had a comic, a book series, or a planned movie, TV, or cartoon series that can allow for awesome, hard hitting music across multiple albums serving as a soundtrack to the story, and the image and live performances create the illusion of bringing these stories to life.  That’s rock band idea #1.

Number #2 would be more of a cosplay band (like with the recent progressive metal juggernaut Galactic Empire).  The idea would be that the music is inspired by a series or franchise that each member of the band cosplays as characters from.  And the band’s story would effectively be musical fanfiction, but with a focus on quality musicianship and songwriting, making music that sounds as if the style of music being played actually existed in the series being paid tribute to.  For example, a band who’s gimmick is that the Straw Hat Pirates decided to start a band with a musical style based on Alestorm and having the same goofy lyrical style, but based on their adventures.  Another example would be a band with folk, punk, blues, bluegrass, and rock elements singing about the events going on in the town of Gravity Falls.  How about the Sailor Scouts playing symphonic power metal based on their battles, starting their first album with songs about their fight against the forces of Queen Beryl.  How about a 70s rock-inspired Guardians of the Galaxy tribute band that covers classic rock in the guise of bringing it to Knowhere and Xandar.  All of these ideas being based around writing legitimate songs or playing cool covers of songs from other sources and paying the highest respect to those franchises.  But probably my personal direction would be a band consisting of BlazBlue cosplayers writing and playing legitimate heavy metal in the guise of the band being characters who put aside their differences to play hard rock inspired by their situations (with a lineup of Bang and Noel sharing vocals, either Terumi, Jin, Mai, Ragna, or any combination of them on guitar, Tsubaki or Tao on bass, Makoto, Asrael, or Bullet on drums, Litchi, Amane, or Carl on keyboards, and managed by Professor Kokonoe or Rachel).  And yes, the musical style will have to be something along the lines of Holy Grail’s style to work.

Oh, and because of the date, Happy Birthday, Ragna the Bloodedge!
"Shut up and reveal your next review topic!  Oh, and thanks for remembering."
Can do!  Next time on Let Them Eat Metal: Ride the Lightning by Metallica (explanation for trends coming next week).

Until next time, this is the Rock Otaku.  Live Loud, Play Hard, and Eat Metal.

All used references are done under the rules of fair use and are owned by their original creators.

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