15 of the Most Brutal New Bands from Japan: Fresh Blood Feast in the East
In the underground clubs of Japan, far removed from the super arenas hosting Loudpark and Summer Sonic, you’ll find bands ripping it up nightly, determined to pulverize listeners with death metal of as fine quality as Kobe beef.
Influenced by the godfathers of the scene from the ’90s such as Coffins and Butcher ABC, this new breed of death metal acts seeks to push the extremes, proving that Japan doesn’t just specialize in violent horror and sick manga, but relentlessly brutal music, too.
Here are 15 newer brutal metal acts making waves in Japan today.
Shinda Saibo No Katamari 死んだ細胞の塊
This mass of dead cells, as the name translates to, personifies the new sickness brewing in Japan’s brutal death metal scene. Proverbial sons of the butcher, Shinda’s records have been distributed by Butcher ABC founder Narutoshi Sekine’s Obliteration Records. Ostriched Existence takes the pun literally, displaying ostriches stuck in the void on the album cover, while the music is an ostrich egg full of festering, maggoty sludge. Stick your head in for the entire 12 minutes.
Needle Contaminated Pork 注射針混入豚
Donning a gas mask and hazmat suit (perfect stage attire for the Covid-era), Needle Contaminated Pork is a one-man slamming brutal death metal act from Niigata conceived in 2006. A concert setting is truly the place to appreciate the contaminated one, as the riffs become the focal point in a cyclone of drum samples and gurgled vocals from behind his safety mask, bludgeoning eardrums and inciting reckless mosh pits.
There are more bands named Invictus than you probably think, and more than two of them are death metal bands. This particular Invictus, though, from Nagano, Japan, blast all the others away. The Catacombs of Fear, released on Obliteration Records, could stand alongside the great efforts from genre legends Coffins (who Invictus have shared the stage with). The band recently toured China as part of Brutal Fest with Needle Contaminated Pork and Lethal Incendiary, showing the brutal heads in China what the new breed of Japanese death metal is all about.
Just like in The Village of the Damned, just because they’re young doesn’t mean they’re wholesome. In fact, a hail of bullets in the worst trench of war you could possibly imagine is what Lethal Incendiary aim to sound like with their all-out blast of brutal death metal. The band has played such festivals as the Taiwan Deathfest (where they were joined by the king of extreme music in Taiwan, Larry Wang) and Brutal Fest in China. Get in the trench and pray for death.
Get your maggot jackets out from their meat drawers, because it’s about time for a urine burial. Another Obliteration Records’ prodigal son, Mortify don’t fuck around with song lengths, keeping them mainly grindcore-length, though their suffocating riffs and even more stifled vocals put them firmly in death metal territory. Check out Stench of Swedish Buzzsaw and ponder what it smells like.
“Nothing like a good old strangulation to get the circulation going.” Strangulation, formed in 2016, offer no frills, no cheap costumes and no shitty humor. Like the black-hooded murderer on their album cover for Display of Escalated Perversion, Strangulation simply kill it, then move onto the next track, kill it again, and so on. Best enjoyed during systematic, laborious work like digging graves.
“Psychopathic grind” is what Abort Mastication wrote on their album cover for 2019’s Dogmas, and there was clearly a good reason. Dogmas sounds as though it was recorded in a white room, instruments laid out and the straight jacket carefully taken off one of the more “active” patients of the Tokyo Metropolitan Matsuzawa Hospital. “Let’s just let him get his aggression out… it’s a new form of experimental therapy.”
Technical excellence and Japan go hand-in-hand. Anyone who has been to Tokyo will tell you that the subway system there is a complex mind map that, under the control of another urban planning team, would most likely end up being a catastrophic failure. This technical savviness bleeds into the musicianship of bands like Desecravity, who meticulously plan out their impure confrontations like kaiju masterminds working together to form a destructive alliance. Good luck trying to stop their all-out attack.
If in need of a band to help you summon demons or open hell’s gates, Neuroticos are taking orders. The Portuguese band name was inspired by the members’ original home of Brazil, though they now live in Hiroshima. Vocally, Corpsegrinder is likely a spiritual influence, though Neuroticos frontman Bruno needs a few more years of windmilling to get his neck to that same level of thickness.
The five gore-minded boys in Inferno Hades spent time in bands like Fecundation, Implicated Order and Crypt before igniting their own blaze in 2016. What you’ll hear on their 2018 debut album, Discreation Stabilized, is a back-to-the-basics, old school sound of a band who are simply glad to give your ears a relentless beating. Bangkok’s Swallow Vomit Productions took care of the distribution on this nasty piece of work; look to their roster for more brutal nuggets.
World End Man
From Osaka, World End Man bring the violent realm of hardcore into death metal, quite the dangerous combination. Use My Knife (what a great album title!) was released in 2018 and exemplifies this combo, with the video for the title track a grainy, VHS copied best-of compilation of serial murderers with diary-of-a-madman lyrics showing up on screen like blood-smeared messages on the wall of a homicide scene.
Infernal Revulsion know damn well that the power of a well-placed groove is integral in creating catchy and memorable death metal songs, and these show up in spades on the band’s debut, Devastate Under Hallucination. Imagine the best outros to Cannibal Corpse songs throughout the entire track mixed with gargled Swamp Thing vocals, and you get a sample of what Infernal Revulsion bring to the table. Live, their ferocious slamming can incite pits to dangerous extremes.
Tech-death savagery abounds on the debut album by Cry, a band that features members from fellow death metal act Inhuman Devotion. But just what are they crying about? Inhumanity, likely, as the band’s name was previously Cry With Inhumanity before shortening it. This act is a fine example of modern death/grind with a focus on the technical without diluting any of the brutality along the way.
Adipocere, also known as corpse wax, grave wax or mortuary wax, is a wax-like organic substance formed by the anaerobic bacterial hydrolysis of fat in tissue, such as body fat in corpses. You know what necrophilia is. Now that that’s out of the way, this group, with songs like “Funny Hole Cultivation,” reminds me of what a band would sound like if they were trying to perform while neck deep in vomit. Hard, chunky and nauseating death metal fronted by the sickly-sweet Katsu Don (who also does vocal covers of bands like Suicide Silence on her YouTube channel). Go pick up an album at your local “Vomit Shop.”
Despite being active since just 2018, Parasitario have worked as hard as hungry little parasites to reproduce several singles and demos in order to attach themselves to the ears of death metal fans in and around Osaka. Invictus drummer Haruki Tokutake teamed up with two ravenous musicians to form Parasitario, and the result is a goresick union of deranged minds playing unhinged metal.