G.I.S.M.

G.I.S.M. is Japanese hardcore from the early 80’s and they were on the first Japanese hardcore compilation. Surrounded by a veil of secrecy and rumor, they haven’t played outside of Japan and are the very definition of underground. Singer Sakevi is supposedly a Yakuza member, with stories of him firing a pistol during shows, using a flamethrower, once stabbing a member of the audience for photographing him, threatening members of the press, throwing a cash register out of a window and threatening to kill the clerk of a store selling bootleg G.I.S.M. shirts, etc. The list goes on and on, but the music is even better than the stories.
Randy Uchida was easily one of the best guitarists of the era (was, because he died in 2001). G.I.S.M. has been labeled thrash and crossover as well as punk/ hardcore, any of which is an over simplification, there are even space rock sounds sprinked throughout their albums. They don’t sit squarly in any genre, more parallel to Swans and Burzum than “like” the Sex Pistols. G.I.S.M. is a must have for any respectable music library and far more playable than most bands of the era. Highly recommended.
Also, they have reunited and are playing at this year’s Roadburn festival in the Netherlands.

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Metallum

Mono- The Last Dawn (2014)

Post-rock is like pizza. It’s normally pretty good and different everywhere you go. Mono is the Japanese parallel to Pelican, instrumental and brooding, their latest release The Last Dawn is magnificent, easily the best post-rock album of last year. I would say more, dissect the album by song and by sound. But, my mind is cloudy, muddled by the excellent mango, so all I can manage to say, is check it out. It’s an instrumental masterpiece that suits the Monday morning session quite nicely.

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