FeaturesSelected Singles - April/May 2024

Selected Singles – April/May 2024

It’s been a hot minute since I had time to dive into one of these columns again, but hearing a few new choice cuts, it was time to bring it back and hit a few notable releases that got neglected in the meantime. This month we look at Amaidantoudai, Babymetal/Electric Callboy, Bridear, Broken by the Scream, Caletwolf, Hanabie., Isiliel, Kaleido, LustQueen (pictured above), Nek, Quubi, Seien, and Unto Others.

Amaidantoudai “不滅の花
Fun, thrashy power metal from this group that seems to capture just the right amount of gallant riffage and energy with some soaring synths, peppered with some gentle yet suiting vocals at the top. Given the outfits, some may want to drop some Band Maid comparisons, but Amaidantoudai is a much heavier and epic beast. There’s a lot of potential behind the music here is you enjoy groups like Lovebites or Fate Gear. (Amaidantoudai official website/Amaidantoudai on Instagram)

Babymetal x Electric Callboy “RATATATA”
A collaboration between two very high-energy and notable bands within the modern metal scene, “RATATATA” does still manage to live up to it’s pre-release hype. Pulsating beats and electronics, moments of exhilarating heaviness, and an overall fun, party atmosphere make it a song that’s easy to listen to on repeat. They seemed to be able to merge the party vibes of Electric Callboy and fuse a bit of the Babymetal epicness into it with zero issues. A track that fans of either band should be able to not only appreciate, but crank it high and dance along. (Babymetal official website/Babymetal on X)(Electric Callboy official website/Electric Callboy on Facebook)

Bridear “Still Burning”
A staple in the Japanese metal community, Bridear has returned once more with the promise of a new album on the horizon. “Still Burning” is the first new offering from the band, and serves as a ferocious return. Energetic mid-tempo riffing and rock attitude mix together with some strong vocals  (and occasional growls) in an excellent merger of power metal proficiency meets modern metal aggression. It sets the bar nicely for the album to come. (Bridear official website/Bridear on Facebook)

Broken by the Scream “月光可憐ストライプ
One of Japan’s most extreme exports, Broken By the Scream return triumphantly as a four-piece with this new song. Newcomers Mikogami Shizuku and Takayashiki Yayoi join Io and Tsubaki in the group’s usual chaotic mix of guttural, extreme metal meets jpop in its finest form. It’s a catchy, adventurous track that follows the band’s trademarks in all their exhilarating glory. Anyone doubting the group’s return after losing two members should be quite satisfied by this latest iteration. Hopefully they can make the trip Stateside soon after their recently cancelled dates. (Broken by the Scream official website/Broken by the Scream on X)

Caletwolf “ArcadiaEgo”
Merging together heavy riffing and drum battery with danceable electronics and jpop sensibility, Caletwolf have been active since 2022, with “ArcadiaEgo” being their latest video. There’s some slight ‘PassCode’ vibes in terms of their energy, but Caletwolf feel more power metal-esque than metalcore in their heavier side. The jpop vibes are there as well, giving them an oddly danceable feeling that carries over into a lot of fun with this track. (Caletwolf on X)

Hanabie. “Girl’s Talk”
Their second single so far this year, Hanabie. returns with a song that was touted as being ‘a little different’ for the group. The same, fun high-energy vibes remain, but the song does feel a litle more ‘rock and roll’ than some of their more intense songs. Nonetheless, it’s an incredibly catchy song that should still impress with it’s very strong chorus and excellent vocal interplay between Yukina and Matsuri. Given it’s more melodic flavor, and occasional rapid-fire vocal tactics, it’s bound to only bring in even more fans to the fold as word of their wild live shows spreads. (Hanabie. on Instagram/Hanabie. on X)

Isiliel “Pinky Promise”
Released on April Fools Day, there’s nothing funny about Isiliel’s take on Japanese City Pop. Hooky, 80’s throwback synths lead the way for Himari’s voice to really take the front and center position. Given her idol status, it should be no surprise that she can easily pull off a poppy track like this, but the track really works well. It’s the right combination of retro fun, charming lyrics, and dreamy flow. Himari is at the top of her game, don’t miss her when she returns Stateside this spring! (Isiliel official website/Isiliel on X)

Kaleido “The Dark Hertz”
Kaleido continue their streak of singles as of late, with this latest track also emerging as a comic book at the same time. “The Dark Hertz” sits on the heavier side of songs that the group has done, with punchy grooves and hypnotic vocals in the chorus being an absolute highlight for this track with an effective headbanging intensity. The fact that it goes harder towards the end, complete with some harsh vocals and a breakdown, pushes it into even more thrilling territory. (Kaleido on Facebook/Kaleido on Instagram)

LustQueen “Ready Steady Go”
Yuina proved herself a vocal powerhouse with her work on Love Live Superstar!! as Wien Margarete (as well as her time in Drop Doll), and this newly formed LustQueen group is just the right fit to project her even farther. To add more ammo to the mix, LustQueen also includes Lovebites bassist Fami as well, and “Ready Steady Go” serves as the launching pad, with a merger of high energy rock and metal with some pop/idol undertones. It’s an addictive track, with Yuina’s potent vocals at their most soaringand enigmatic, guided by some playful riffing and an elegant solo later on. To be perfectly honest, it might be one of the strongest songs I’ve heard this year. (LustQueen official website/LustQueen on X)

Nek! “Get Over”
A driving, bouncy rocker to introduce this new act. There’s a lot to like about Nek! with just this one track. The mixture of an almost punk attitude being applied to a more urgent rock/metal tempo that leverages hooks as much as it does some intensity, the musicianship level is also worth noting. For starters, Kanade’s bass is both prominent and extraordinarily playful, and Natsu’s riffing gets to do much of the same. Round it out with some solid vocals that add to the hook-y melodies rather than just be the focal point make Nek! an act worth checking out before they explode in popularity. (Nek! on X/Nek! on Instagram)

Quubi “Rising”
Back with their first true single since last year (outside of a collaboration with Yoloz), Quubi make a statement with “Rising.” It has the same level of intensity and catchiness as their previous material, being full of hooks and attitude from start to finish. Some moments moving in more hip hop influence and a beautiful, serene section make the components that make up the song stand out more alongside with the pulsating grooves. Given the group’s energetic personalities, one has to hope this is the beginning of much more material to come out this year. (Quubi official website/Quubi on X)

Seien “Alnair Dance”
A group that was literally just launched less than two months ago, Seien is quite fresh. “Alnair Dance” is the heaviest of the three songs they have released so far. It has a nice mix of heavier riffing alongside the more danceable pop side, of course with the energy cranked up to 11. The urgency in the music and the soaring melodies make it a thrilling introduction to the group. While the other songs have more traditional ‘idol’ elements to them, Seien makes it quite interesting with their combination of voices and high-flying melodies. (Seien on X)

Unto Others “Butterfly”
With new label in tow, Unto Others are back for more! No album announcement just yet, but “Butterfly” showcases that they are back and firing on all cylinders. That old school metal meets gothic meets new wave vibe that the band captured feels just as strong and fresh as it ever has, and it certainly helps that the song is just absurdly catchy. The chorus really personifies the music that Unto Others have been putting out since the beginning, and it bodes well for whatever else the group has coming down the pipeline.  (Unto Others on Facebook/Unto Others on Instagram)

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