yoshufukushu
Release Date: July 31st 2013

Track Listing

  1. Yoshu Fukushu
  2. Utsukushiki OP ~Tsuki no Bakugekiki~
  3. Utsukushiki Hitobito no Uta
  4. Benjo Sandal Dance
  5. Chu2 The Beam
  6. 「F」
  7. Tsume Tsume Tsume
  8. Rock Oreimairi ~3 Chord de Omae Full Bocco~
  9. Unbelievable! ~Suwomintsu Hockereiro Mifueho~
  10. A・L・I・E・N
  11. my girl
  12. Mesubuta no Ketsu ni Binta (Kick mo)
  13. Beauty Colosseum
  14. maximum the hormone
  15. Koi no Sperm

Review

Maximum the Hormone hold a pretty special place in my heart. I suppose that’s to be expected when they were one of my main gateways into Japanese music back when I was but a wee lad. Fast forward a few more years than I’d like to admit and here I am, a modestly successful (in reputation only, and even that’s up for debate) writer covering Japanese music. For that they have my most sincere gratitude.

Like most people, I was introduced to Maximum the Hormone through the Death Note anime. They performed the opening and ending themes for the second half of the series and I’d honestly never heard anything like it before. It was this heavy metal sound but…it was so catchy. I had to know more about this group! From there I checked out their “Buikikaesu” album and the rest as they say, is history.

Six years and several hiatuses later we finally have the follow up to “Buikikaesu”. It was a long wait and I imagine the weight (see what I did there?) of expectation didn’t make the writing process very easy but “Yoshu Fukushu” is here and I’m going to give you the rundown.

As you can read above, the album comes with 15 tracks. These include previously released songs like “Tsume Tsume Tsume”, “「F」” and “Utsukushiki Hitobito no Uta”, so it’s not an album of entirely new work but you have to catch the casual listener up somehow. I know everyone always wants as much new material as possible but the songs I mentioned are all really good so it’s difficult to criticize the decision.

Where the new material is concerned, for the most part it’s still the same Maximum the Hormone that we know and love. The hooks are still there and you can still headbang, circle pit or whatever it is the kids are doing these days.

However, the sound has changed a bit from the “Buikikaesu” era in that for whatever reason, drummer Kawakita Nao’s vocals take a back seat for much of the album. I don’t know if this was an artistic decision because the group were going for a heavier sound or what but it did hinder my enjoyment somewhat.

If you were going into this album expecting songs like “Kuso Breakin No Breakin Lilly” or “Chu Chu Lovely Muni Muni Mura Mura Purin Purin Boron Nururu Rerorero” then you are probably going to be sorely disappointed.

Hopefully you can get past that though (which I’m trying to for the sake of this review), as there are still a lot of really enjoyable songs on offer. Personal highlights for me are “Yoshu Fukushu”, “Chu2 The Beam”, “Rock Oreimairi ~3 Chord de Omae Full Bocco~”, “A・L・I・E・N” and “Mesubuta no Ketsu ni Binta (Kick mo)”.

The more observant of you will notice that I’ve essentially just named the majority of the album here. That’s a good thing right? It shows that the sound hasn’t changed so dramatically that I was grasping for something to enjoy. It also means that you shouldn’t be either if you’re coming into this with the same expectations that I did.

You also might notice that I did specifically pick the catchier songs from the album, because that’s the Maximum the Hormone I personally enjoy the most. Though if you really enjoy their heavier and more thrashy stuff then you’re just going to love this album too, I can guarantee that. There’s a lot more balance this time around.

I think the lynchpin to your enjoyment of this album is that you really just have to understand that while “Buikikaesu” is great, they couldn’t just go and re-make it. Groups have to grow with each release and I think that’s what Maximum the Hormone are doing here. I just hope they don’t “grow” so much that they start to lose all of the aspects of their music that make it so interesting and unique. The world doesn’t need another generic heavy metal band.

Overall this is an incredibly enjoyable album and it’s good to see that Maximum the Hormone are still firing on all cylinders. I just hope we don’t have to wait another six years for the next one.

Yoshu Fukushi

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