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Healed By Metal - 90%

Sekrys, March 14th, 2019

To put it simply, metal has always remained relatively underground in Japan, at least when it comes to overall popularity in the country. The genre has seemingly never been able to take hold there, as opposed to places like the US and UK, where metal was indeed popular in the mainstream, though this is not the case anymore, of course. Lest I digress any further, the main point is that Japan really has never been known for its metal scene. That is why I was rather surprised to find Anatomy.

Ignoring the band’s weird lyrical gimmick for now, the three songs included on Kaibou (which from I can tell, means Anatomy, so this is a self-titled release) are exceptional. Both “Nyctophilia” and “Synesthesia” are power metal numbers that start off with keyboard intros, each one being rather unique and epic. The former song, despite its name being the love of darkness, is rather uplifting and bright (a rather odd choice of a song title given these circumstances, but whatever.) Its memorability is mostly attained through a dominant vocal line, though a rapid and heavy riff appears in several points in the song when the vocals are absent, subsiding and resuming once the verses have ebbed and flowed. Contrasting with this pattern, the song “Synesthesia”, while still mainly being powered vocally, has many additional moments where the guitars contribute towards adding various accents to the track, enhancing its catchiness and noteworthiness. As a result of this, it does edge out in greatness over its counterpart, but again, it must be stressed that both are enjoyable in their own right as melodic power metal anthems. Finally, the remaining song not yet mentioned until now: “Akatoshiro” (translates to “Red Clover”, which seems to be an herb of some sort). To define this track’s genre is rather difficult to me, as I don’t listen to anything really similar to it, but it would probably be characterized as a kind of bluesy, old style rock sort of song. Despite it definitely not being a metal song at all, its eccentric and amiable style are rather welcome in making Kaibou a more varied release.

Of course, it must be stated that the musicians here appear to be playing to the best of their abilities. Guitar solos, when they do occur, are in good taste and fit well. The production is also strong and clear, something that seems to be becoming quite common with obscure bands (at least from what I’ve listened to.)

The only real flaw for me at least with this EP is a rather minor one: I honestly cannot tell if the vocalist is speaking in English or Japanese. I swear I hear some sort of Engrish here and there, but I’m not sure. While this isn’t a huge deal, and with many metal genres the lyrics are incomprehensible anyways, I do take issue with this more so because the band’s main niche is to deliver songs about medicine and whatnot. Any enjoyment of this is lost when the words are seemingly inarticulate. It may be very well that the lyrics are in Japanese, and that I don’t understand them because of this, but I can’t tell. Additionally, the vocals have a sparky, juvenile, almost shrill (dare I say poppy?) tone, so those who dislike this general approach may be more apprehensive when it comes to enjoying this release as compared to me. It is nice to find a band with a female vocalist who isn’t a Tarja Turunen clone, I must admit.

Either way, Anatomy has crafted a remarkable first release in Kaibou, something I did not expect out of some random band out of Japan, a place which really can’t be considered a holy bastion of the metal genre. Now, it would appear that the band is going to be releasing a full-length album here shortly from the time of this review. Hopefully the quality and finesse present in Kaibou will make its way to this new music. And it had better be more inspired than I was when I named this review (thanks Grave Digger for the idea.)