Selected Singles – January 2024

Tuesday, 30th January 2024

Decided to jump right back in with a second round of these, hopefully I can stick to a monthly column as there’s seemingly plenty of material out there to get covered. This month, we will look at the following groups: ALMONDot, Dreamwake, Fate Gear, Gore., Hanabie., Kaleido, Kuroguro, PaleNe0 (pictured above), Schrodinger’s Dog, STMLT, Sypha, Togenashi Togeari, and Without Warning.

ALMONDot “I’ll Go First, Sorry”
The debut single from this industrial metal act, there’s a fresh element that blurs together a few different things with ALMONDot’s sound. There’s heavy, industrial-laden riffs and soundscapes, more upbeat synths and electronics seemingly pulled from the jpop/anime scene, some rapping and hip hop elements, and a beautiful hooky chorus that mixes it all together. Considering the group’s young age and this is their first single, there’s a ton of potential here for the future. It seems ALMONDot could swerve into and out of different genres with little difficulty, setting the scene for another genre-blurring powerhouse from Japan to emerge. (ALMONDot on Facebook/ALMONDot on X)

Dreamwake “Memories”
Merging together post-hardcore, synthwave, and even jazzy saxophone, Dreamwake’s new single “Memories” will grab you by it’s playful and dreamy nature. Earworming melodies, intriguing chuggy riffs, soaring vocals, and the aforementioned sax all swirl together in a way that makes the band stand apart from others on the more melodic side of the metalcore spectrum. It’s an absolutely beautiful track that builds upon what they’ve done with 2022’s Virtual Reality. (Dreamwake on Facebook/Dreamwake official website)

Fate Gear “Winds of Fall”
Soaring power metal group Fate Gear are back at it again with a new single that is quick to take flight. “Winds of Fall” takes the straight-up shred route, with very catchy instrumentals that all but urge you to start moving with their frantic energy. Nana’s vocals (also of Gungire) hit the genre marks easily, elevating the shreddy gallops into something even more powerful. The energy is really off the charts with this song, it’s easily one of the strongest ones in recent memory. (Fate Gear official website/Fate Gear on Facebook)

Gore. “Doomsday”
The second single from Gore. goes a bit more melodic and atmospheric than their recent debut in “Pray,” but that’s not a bad thing. Showcasing a gradual build-up of heaviness from the most ethereal of openings to groovier, chunky riffs and scathing roars at it’s climax. Certainly one could make comparisons to that of Spiritbox or maybe even Bad Omens, but it seems unfair given the band’s newness. With an EP on the horizon, look for Gore. to really rise through the ranks, given the poignant explosiveness of their sound and excellent combination of potent songwriting dynamics. (Gore. on Facebook/Gore. on Instagram)

Hanabie. “OTAKU Lovely Densetsu”
Not counting last fall’s Imagine Dragons cover (“Believer”), this is the first new Hanabie. we have gotten since Raise wa Ijin, and it pleasingly sits on the heavier side of things. After a brief spoken word section, the band goes all in with thunderous drums, hooky/groovy guitars, and Yukina’s roars. The chorus is quite catchy, and plays off the heavier riffing nicely. All in all, it’s a solid track that explores more brutal territory for the band while still delivering plenty of addictive, catchy moments. Given Hanabie.’s exponential growth lately, “OTAKU Lovely Densetsu” is only going to help garner them more fans. (Hanabie. official website/Hanabie. on Instagram)

Kaleido “Worth Believing”
The most recent in a spring of new single cuts, “Worth Believing” showcases all of Kaleido’s best aspects. Namely speaking, Christina Chriss’ soaring vocals, grooving riffs and earworming guitar melodies, and a catchy rhythm section all swirled together into a monstrous hard rock mix. There’s even a dose of heavier material with a punchy breakdown and some screamed vocals, for those seeking some of the band’s more aggressive side. We’ve covered Kaleido a bit over the years and they are one of the most underrated acts in the genre, making this song a great starting point if you haven’t checked them out yet. (Kaleido official website/Kaleido on Facebook)

Kuroguro “never never”
Coming back quickly after “Black Burst” last month, the newest cut from Kuroguro leans more into idol brightness, but it doesn’t abandon the frantic and metallic underpinnings that made “Black Burst” such an enjoyable ride. “never never” still gallops in its riff department in the verses, but the chorus has a more pristine feel that is definitely going to end up stuck in many a head after they hear it. If anything the contrast between the brighter chorus and more urgent verses makes for a great dynamic for them to play off of. (Kuroguro on X)

Ladybaby “Nippon manju”
The newest iteration of Ladybaby offers us a throwback to the original group’s debut single in this redone version of “Nippon manju.” It’s also marks the first new cut to feature some growled vocals into the mix. All in all, it’s just as fun as the original, bringing up the electronics and recording polish up to today’s standard (the original being almost a decade old at this point). It’s a a fun track that gives a definitive look back at the group’s roots, while showing a glimpse at how they can move forward. Hopefully we get more soon. (Ladybaby official website/Ladybaby on Instagram)


PaleNe0 “aLiVE”
Straddling the hard rock/metal line, Japanese act PaleNe0 manages to combine upbeat, almost pop-ish energy along with heavy riffs and even some dabblings into more extreme territory (especially the vocals). Their newest single, “aLiVE,” captures all of these qualities well, from the heavy grooves and harsh vocals to the more melodic moments that grab your attention with their hooks. There’s constantly a driving energy behind it all, whether it’s the hooky, galloping riffs, the playful electronics, or the harsh/sung vocal interplay – PaleNe0 seem to be on the verge of breaking out with this winning formula. (PaleNe0 on X/PaleNe0 on Instagram)

Schrodinger’s Dog “Wan-der”
Originally founded in 2020, Schrodinger no Inu (Schrodinger’s Dog) is an alt idol group that embraces hard-hitting electronics to go with equally frantic riffing, and of course, four vocalists at the front of it all. “Wan-der” is their latest single, and it captures that same frenetic energy that the urgent chiptune-esque synths would have you believe. Drum battery, crunchy riffs, and a swirl of pleasing voices all fight for the landscape, and it all equates to a fantastic song that soars high. While other alt idols have this particular sound as well, there’s something special about how it all comes together here in a headbanging, danceable fury. (Schrodinger’s Dog official website/Schrodinger’s Dog on X)

While we recently covered STMLT’s self-titled album, the band is back here once again with “EVOL AI,” which may not have any saxophones on board, but it’s still just as much as a fun slurry of heavy influences as anything else they’ve done. Bouncy and playful grooves, occasional growled vocals, and a strong melodic chorus hit hard, with just enough fury and hooks to whisk you away. It’s just such a fun mixture you can’t help but hit play as soon as it finishes. (STMLT on X)

Sypha “World’s End”
Hard and heavy rock from England with some doomy undertones, Sypha have a pleasantly murky feel to their sound on “World’s End.” The riffs are playful yet weighty, with the melodies doing all they can to lure you into their hypnotic mix. Vocally, things hit some alluring yet mysterious vibes, culminating in a listening experience that manages to avoid an easy classification. But keep your eyes on Sypha as they move forward, there’s a lot to dig into here. (Sypha on Facebook/Sypha on Instagram)

Togenashi Togeari “Lonely Fate to be Destined”
The ninth single in less than one year for Togenashi Togeari, “Lonely Fate to be Destined”  continues to showcase the catchy musical vibes as well as vocalist Rina’s impressive singing. Usually anime-based acts like this don’t have as much going on musically, but with TogeToge, one can really dissect out each of the instruments for a more progressive tone (especially the bass work). It’s a subtle aspect that can definitely be appreciated, and the group continues to absolutely hit each song out of the park. “Lonely Fate to be Destined” isn’t quite as heavy as some, but the poignancy definitely shines though. (Togenashi Togeari official website/Togenashi Togeari on X)

Without Warning “New Order”
Groovy modern metal that leverages everything from industrial to electronic into a lumbering beast, “New Order” is an aggressive cut that is as catchy as it is heavy. The third single from Without Warning, it never lacks for anything to catch your ear. Whether it’s an oozing industrial soundscape, snarling growl, catchy riff (entangled with synths), or a catchy chorus – it reverberates with energy. Those hip to the modern scene would do well to check this Finnish group out as they continue to rise up in the scene. (Without Warning official website/Without Warning on Facebook)

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