If you’re something of a heavy idol regular, you know Guso Drop, and nothing about this should come as any surprise to you; if you’re new to Guso Drop or relatively unfamiliar with them,
what’s the matter with you you can use this as a starting-off point: Earlier this year, when BiSH announced a ban on certain rowdiness at their live shows, Guso Drop decided to stay true to their underground, punk-as-fuck core and proclaimed that not only would they never dream of doing such a thing, but they were henceforward therefore to be considered the heaviest idols in the world.
We could debate all day whether that’s exactly true (our poll on the matter proved inconclusive), but what’s not up for debate is this: Guso Drop brings the pain. Sweet, delicious, water-spitting, bat-wielding pain.
Mushi (夢四: “Four Dreams”) was released in the aftermath of that bit of drama and the sudden departure of Shion, transitioning the five-piece to a quartet overnight and briefly creating a bit of a panic among the fans — would they continue? After the answer came back that there was no quit in Guso Drop, they announced a big one-man and the simultaneous release of this mini-album.
Although it wasn’t a desperation move, it was still one that they seemed to have to make. While not exactly newbies, Guso Drop and their associated acts occupy probably the most punk-minded space in the whole idol scene, and as such they need to keep their (very loyal) fans motivated; little bits of turmoil at the same time as other not-dissimilar groups rocket to relative stardom and the old underground promotes its mainstays into little tastes of almost-mainstream success can’t be allowed to create cracks in the edifice, no matter how purely speculative those cracks may be.
That’s a long way of saying that, in its own way, Mushi was an essential release. Does it deliver?
If their intent was to throw down the gauntlet and stick to their “heaviest in the world” declaration, I’d say so.
What’s kind of cool is how much this barely-an-EP is able to portray despite being all of four tracks and like 12 minutes long.
Things kick off with the title track … for the group. Yes, Guso Drop has their own entrance theme song, “Guso Drop,” which fans who’ve experienced their live performance know well at this point. It’s not the superstar of the record, but it is a nice pace-setter. It’s followed by “Hirari Hira Hira,” the song that many people (including me!) can say is their first Guso Drop experience thanks to its pretty great live video, though I’ll just go ahead and say that it’s this albumlet’s weakest point; the song is fine, but if what you’re used to is the old version, this one sounds a little bit off in the vocals; Rei’s snarl is cleaned up and diminished, and Saki’s rougher edges have been smoothed down. Still, it’s an idolcore staple for a reason, and the overall intensity remains even with the studio recording.
It’s the latter two tracks that make the whole thing work, though.
“I do! I do!” is a fantastic banger, with a kicking lead guitar riff and overall grimy metalcore nastiness that just keeps blasting at your head until you accept that whatever it is that Guso Drop is saying they do, they can just go ahead and do.
Its partner, “No. 18,” is for my money an instant classic. It isn’t as heavy as “I do! I do!”, but it makes up for that with twice the tunefulness, driving emotions between guitars and synths, almost like something you could get out of Avenged Sevenfold or Fall Out Boy; the chorus is straight-up post-punk triumph given an ominous air by Rei’s subterranean growl. Somebody should bronze this song; my only wish for it is that it had a better ending than its current Alice in Chains-esque “okay, song’s done now I guess” move.
I almost don’t know how to evaluate this whole thing, to be honest. There are two legitimately great moments and two good ones, but that’s it, just four songs, and none of them new per se as they’ve been part of the performance rotation for a while (that last thing isn’t a knock, just a point of fact). And despite holding hardcore in general very dear to my heart, I can never really evaluate it beyond “Is it heavy?”
So it’s time to fall back to the ol’ Album Review Scale, and this is what I think: One of these tracks should eventually be on an idolcore greatest hits album, another one should be on a best-of, another one would be on Guso Drop’s own personal best-of, and the final probably would, too, just for propriety’s sake.
Guso Drop doesn’t have a huge discography or anything, but that’s still a pretty good haul.
Added to the Ultimate Homicidol Playlist: Nothing. Guso Drop, pretty please get an MV out to the world. Especially if it’s for “No. 18.”