For this month’s pick, I’ve got something a little more in my wheel house, if you know what I mean.
人間椅子 (Ningen Isu) formed in 1989 with their first album, which was self-titled. Shinji Wajima (guitars/vocals), Ken-ichi Suzuki (bass/vocals), Nobu Nakajima (drums/vocals) are a wonderful metal band with HEAVY (Get it? Heavy? ‘Cause it’s metal??) Black Sabbath influences.
This track, “Namahage,” starts off by dropping a massive boulder in your arms and making you trudge through the mud with some slow, heavy guitar and bass, pounding drums, and these demonic growls/moans. Which I find fitting, because the bass player looks like a demonic monk to me. ANYWAY… After that the pace is kicked up a bit more with some slightly faster drumming. I really love the part before the chorus, though. Things get dark! A creepy high-pitched tone starts floating in the song while Suzuki takes up the vocals with some (once again fitting) demonic singing. The riff is HEAVY and you know I loooove when that double pedal starts rolling. After that is the chorus, then it’s rinse and repeat.
In the second go around, though, is when things really pick up. If you’re not a fan of the slowness, just give it some time and you will be rewarded. This song really gets kicked into high gear with some good old fashioned metal. Nothing flashy, just fast and heavy playing. After some shamisen-like playing, Wajima starts playing just a bit more furiously and then cranks out a pretty rad solo. After the solo, they go back into the beginning of the song to the mud-trudging boulder carrying. However… Just when you think the song is over, and it starts to fade off…… BLAM! Nakajima starts cranking out some double pedal bass with Wajima and Suzuki following suit with fast fast guitar and bass playing.
The whole song makes me imagine riding a bike. You start off by going up a mountain at a gruelingly slow pace, like if your bike was stuck in the highest gear. After a punishingly slow ascent, you crest over the top with no time for a break. It’s straight down after that, in an insane downhill ride that has you holding on for dear life. BUT YOU’RE HAVING SOOOO MUCH FUN! And there’s no boulder or mud to trudge through. That’s kinda what this song is like for me. This is definitely a band I might cut off a toe to see live. Preferably not either of my big toes, though.
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