Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Death Side

There are two hardcore genres that are at the apex of the game. The first is NYHC which this blog has already discussed at length. The second is Burning Spirits from Japan. Burning Spirits is a brand of hardcore that came to life in mid 80s Japan. It can be characterized by the Poison Idea influence, virtuoso guitar work, and wildly frenetic drum patterns. If you were to ask me to make a top 10 of hardcore guitarists ever. At least half would be from Japan. That isn't a joke. A Burning Spirits guitarist is meticulous in their sound and their work. The drum work in Burning Spirits is terrifying. A Burning Spirits drummer is actually attacking his kit during a performance. To the point where they cast aside their own personal well-being. For example, during Framtid's second performance at Chaos In Tejas 2013 the drummer played at such a pace and with such ferocity that he collapsed and had to roll off the drum riser backstage where he had to be tended to in order to fucking revive him. The guy took a minute and got back out there to finish the set. It was simultaneously the most astounding and disturbing thing I'd ever seen at a hardcore show. Japanese culture has a concept called "fighting spirit", it is utilized frequently in puroresu (Japanese professional wrestling), where a person can take a gross amount of punishment and all it does is embolden them to go harder than before. Fighting spirit is real, I saw it that night watching Framtid. The point to all of this is that Burning Spirits is uniquely Japanese. Fighting spirit, that kind of surgical attention to detail, that high-speed pace. It all comes from growing up in Japan. In recent years it has become the source of great attention here in the USA and people are taking their cues from their heroes to the East (with good reason).

If Poison Idea is the Bad Brains of Burning Spirits and Gauze is the Agnostic Front, Death Side is the Warzone. Death Side is legendary. Everything about them. Their line up is a who's who of Burning Spirits legends. There might have been hardcore punk in Japan before Death Side, but it was Burning Spirits by the time they were finished. Vocals by Ishiya (of Forward, Smash Detox), Kenji Mukai (of Judgement, Smash Detox), You (of Forward), and the immortal Chelsea (RIP) (of Paintbox, Poison Arts, The Execute). Death Side is everything I just previously described. Fighting spirit. Guitars out of your wildest dreams. A drummer at war with his kit. Lyrics with aspects of fatalism. Death Side is the father of the modern Burning Spirits scene. Don't believe me? There is an even a family tree showing Death Side's impact to the scene.

This is their two albums, all of their EPs, their split with Chaos UK, and all of their comp appearances. If you don't have this stuff, I can't recommend it enough. This is the stuff that makes you better at this game. If you are a drummer or a guitarist in hardcore, this is the type of stuff you need to be listening to.

No comments:

Post a Comment