Through the conflicting commentary of the loud sounds of heavy metal, beauty in the form of noise rock shines for all to see. The stereotypical opinions of the genre steer many people away from its musical antics. However, the controversial music has made a prominent home in many places around the globe. One place on planet earth is the electronic musical mecca of Tokyo. The stylish and impactful Grind Core band, "Melt Banana" slips their way into Grind core royalty and continues to achieve hardcore musical excellence.
Don’t Slip on the Banana! Embrace the Noise Rock Sounds of Melt Banana!
When people meet my lovely and beautiful sister, they are always greeted with a heavenly smile. My sister has a strong will and passionate personality, that many lean on for guidance and overall good time. Her creative and ambitious nature captures the attention of many, as she embodies what it truly means to be a strong independent black woman. A person of that strength and personality of power seeks refuge through many aspects of music. One may be surprised however that my sister has a deep-rooted and core listening respect for heavy metal. “You listen to heavy metal?” people would respond in a gasping manner as their eyes become wide in awe. My sister responds in a resounding “Yes, I do”.
It took me a while to understand the depth of her love for heavy metal music. As my sister eagerly showed me different artists of a heavy metal ancestry, I would immediately cover my ears as if my eardrums were begging for a sweet escape. “Turn it off please!” I would yell over the crashing and thrashing and the astonishment of yelling. My sister would respectfully listen as she would turn it down to a peaceful nature, yet sadness would form upon her face. This reaction is common for heavy metal listeners, as some to majority of people may not appreciate nor understand the value of the genre. However, as the hair has fallen out of my head due to older age and the years begin to change in a rapid pace, my interest and tolerance for the unique genre has become substantially better. Artists such as Tokyo legends “Melt Bananas” create a personal and rare interpretation of the world of noise rock!
A Fruit Basket Full of Bananas!
While attending the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in 1991, lead singer “Yasuko Onuki” created the band “Mizu”. After various drops of band members “Rika”, prominent base player along with a new drummer “Sudoh Toshiaki” officially formed “Melt-Banana” in November 1992 (later the band would become a duo, lending on computer technology to simulate rhythms and various drum beats) That following year, the band played a showcase for “KK Null”, an experimental multi-instrumentalist artist of a popular noise rock band “Zeni Geva”. After the impressive performance, “Melt Banana” was offered a promising record deal, which gave them the necessary tools and push toward ultimate rock stardom.
In 1996, the band’s famous song “Sick Zip Everywhere” landed them a monumental nomination for MTVs UK Best Video. In 2007, the bands recording song entitled “Hair-Cat” was placed famously in the Adult swim show “Perfect Hair Forever”, making the band an international subculture of grind core. The band went on performing at various locations around the world including China, United States, Australia and Europe! Their 2013 album “Fetch” released in September of that year with rave reviews. The musical stylings of the band is a heavy mixture of “grind core” and “noise rock” splashed with a heavy load of electro pop and punk accents. Noise rock is a noise-oriented style of experimental rock that incorporates the heritage of punk rock of the 1980s. With strong influence of industrial music and minimalist musical texture, the genre used a massive amount of distortion through elements such as electric guitar. Grind core is an extreme pairing of hardcore punk and heavy metal. Similar to noise rock influence, the sub-genre originated in the 1980s drawing comparisons from thrash core and crust punk. Through the tasteful mixture of all the musical elements, “Melt Banana” is hardcore Tokyo rock royalty.
Although I am not a huge noise rock fan, the track “Left Dog” gave me an insanely high level of adrenaline as I embarked on the fast pace roller coaster of electronic sounds molded around a musical splash of intricate synch infused sounds. The song allowed my energy to pulse at a higher speed as I felt my head nodding in a rapid, fiery enticing motion. The video captivates the artsy texture the band implements through its heavy Avant Garde sound.
Made in a similar musical manner, the track “The Hive” gives the same intensity as “Left Dog” however incorporates more of a 70’s psychedelic atmosphere. Through the highly intense world of heavy metal, the genre, as other musical implications do, may be shadowed through subjective negative outlooks. However, through artists such as “Melt Banana” the loud puck atmosphere still requires a high level of skill and precision. The track shows extreme musical intelligence as the song continues into a grind core wonderland.
The softer side and more experimental indie incorporation are found on the 2013 album “Fetch”. The project exudes many different sides of the band while still maintaining its core punk influence. In the track “Zero+” the band’s sound almost takes an energetic break as the track forms into repetitive sounds of bewildering musical illusions. This one is my favorite of the band as it still pays homage to the sound the audience knows and loves, but challenges the listener through a music altering environment.
Listen to “Zero+” Now on Spotify!
The dynamic listening variety my sister upholds in her music library is very diverse in nature. Her, along with other punk and heavy metal influencers have a sound of their own, and the musical genre to call their home. It’s a beautiful and unique perspective on what it means to be an open-minded music indulger. Through the efforts of my sister and “Melt Banana” my eardrums will live to experiment another musical day.
Photo: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney
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