Saturday, October 31, 2009

G.I.S.M. - M.A.N. (Military Affairs Neurotic) (1986)

Genre: Hardcore Punk / Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) [Not Metalcore, assholes]
Country: Japan

Japan has a reputation for putting out some weird shit. Whether it's Gonin-Ish, one of those thrash metal bands who were infatuated with Nazi-ism, or the poster band for Japanese-weirdness, Sigh, G.I.S.M. combined punk music, heavy metal, and had their stints with Industrial soundscaping which was unheard of at the time.

After releasing “DETESTation” in 1984, G.I.S.M. returned with the more metallic sounding M.A.N. There are 3 things that make a G.I.S.M. release, Sakevi's vocals, Randy's guitar playing, and the album's production. Each are in top form in this release. While the production on the previous release made the guitar sound like it was channeled through a Nintendo, this album gives it new life with a proper sound. Of course, we're talking about a punk band in the 80's, this thing isn't a cleanly produced piece of art. This album has a very hallow sound. The drums and the vocals are at the head of the mix, but it sounds distant and empty as a whole. Randy's guitar is buried underneath and isn't too loud, making it a chore to pick it out and listen.

When you are able to listen to it, it's a real treat. It's almost as if he forgot he was in a punk band and was a part of an Iron Maiden tribute. Riffs whirl, solos flutter, it all just comes together in a perfect circle. It's hard to choose something as a standout example when all of the songs are of an equal quality, but if I had to, I'd say that the opener “Good as It Is” is the prime example. The vocalist, Sakevi, is also a big part to the G.I.S.M. sound. His use of harsh vocals gives the music a new, dare I say, unique sound. It's a very throaty kind of bark, something similar to what Mirai of Sigh does now, but more of a lower end. Unfortunately, I can't understand a damn thing he's saying. I don't know if it's because he is speaking in Japanese, or I suck at deciphering harsh vocalists, but I can't pick out any iconic broken english commandments. Sorry guys, no “Endless Blockades for the Pussyfooter” or “Tear there syphilitic vaginas to feecees” here!

Closing note: G.I.S.M. Were a pretty special band. At the end of the day, I feel these guys established a better bridge between punk and metal than Discharge ever could. Still, while the G.I.S.M. Discography might not be as essential as any Discharge works (at least before their Glam era), it's one of those albums that is a must listen if you have any remote interest in extreme music whatsoever.


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