I Review Things: Kaqriyo Terror Architect | “Cultural Mixing”

Hey, it’s a not-NECRONOMIDOL review! Yeah, that promise to write up some things in the queue, that didn’t pan out — I’m busy! — but, as soon as I saw that it was coming to Spotify, I knew that I wanted to hit up the latest from Codomomental’s latest. It only took six full listens to get here!

I’m going to preface this with: If you like your idol safe and predictable or on-brand, stay the heck away from Kaqriyo Terror Architect. On to the review!

Homicidols Album Review Scale:

Five Heartbleeds  One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews: Both in relation to itself and music as a whole, this album could not possibly be any better.
Four Heartbleeds One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews: This is a very damn good record, and you should probably buy it and listen to it all the time and consider starting a website dedicated to the artists that made it and albums like it.
Three Heartbleeds One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews: More good than bad, but not great; one or two awesome songs can’t get it over the hump.
Two Heartbleeds One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews: More bad than good, and lacks the kind of standout track that can take it out of the crappiness wallow.
One Heartbleed One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews: This is a bad, bad piece of work. Do not buy this.
Zero Heartbleeds: People associated with this should be ashamed of themselves; there’s pride to be had in any effort made to meet a goal, but that’s your only reward. Please don’t make music anymore.

Kind of on the sly, Codomomental has gone from being a multimedia production company interested in doing the idol thing pretty much to prove that they could to one of the best multi-project rosters in the business. Yes, I have a bias in that statement because I happen to approve wholeheartedly of the music produced, but they’re also undeniably taking much more creative paths than the overwhelming cookie-cutter majority out there. They matter, and have ever since “Neoneojealous Merochaos”.

And yet, I wasn’t convinced that they’d really earned it when a third group was announced last year. Yes, Zenkimi and Tsurezure were consistently doing great work, but the edges were fraying a little bit — despite being mostly true to form (and adding intermittent harsh vocals like all the rest of the cool kids these days), the original had become more than a little repetitive, and NSLE had veered in a direction that was increasingly reliant on lilt/scream juxtapositions and, often, just borrowing from Zenkimi’s sound catalog to diversify. Also yes, that will happen when you’re relying on pretty much the same two people to write for an entire company’s worth of projects; also but, one could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps the whole shebang had run out of steam, and what else was really there to accomplish (artistically) after how many singles, albums, exclusive tours and so on?

Apparently, the answer has been to just stomp all over expectations and take a crowbar to the genre-defying standard that both older sister groups had previously set in their own respective ways.

Kaqriyo Terror Architect didn’t start out as an obvious crowd favorite — if anything, their pre-debut left folks wondering if they should be taken all that seriously — but as teaser after teaser showed, this was going to be the project where syva and GESSHI and goodness knows who else flexed out all of the weird impulses they’d never spent on Zenkimi or Tsurezure, but might have a chance to experiment with within the confines of a project that I still don’t think has any particular boundaries.

Kakuriyo hasn’t disappointed yet, and they’ve developed as much positive buzz and gaijin fan support as anybody I’ve seen in such a relatively short amount of time. Yes, of course the album, their first, was going to be good — we have heard much of this already — but how good, and how definitive?

I am so glad to have titles written in romaji; Codomomental deserves awards for inexplicable titling

As far as I’m concerned, bookending the record with “yubikirgenman” and “kagome kagome” is an immediately smart move, as it puts what are possibly the group’s (current) two most signature songs into the two most important positions.

It took a few listens to notice that there isn’t much in the way of wasted space on this album. It’s an easy cop-out, especially well-known material already released, to just kind of fluff the listing with safe material that complements the known; Codomomental doesn’t usually take the safe route, thank heavens, because I could remove my two least favorite tracks (the Zenkimi knock-offs “irohani collage” and “Never”) and still have a very full, potent record.

For instance, “Oninoinumoando” is my kind of Codomocore, grindy and subtly brutal despite bright vocal work, appropriately applied synths and cool J-rock guitar leads around those big headbanger beats. Invert it, and you have the just-as-good “Like a Fake”; stick around for a hook, and you’ll get “Original Satire” and its incredible chorus.

I’m less a fan of (I know!) “Hide and Seek”, which I think is mostly fine but not quite at the same ridiculous standard, and of “Hybrid TABOO” and “Therefore?”, both of which are in that same “hip-hop club mix from heck” side of Kakuriyo’s work — and before it seems like I’m just not down with that style for them, note that a) I think all of the above are good songs and b) that “Makafushigism” is incredible, like if somebody handed trap beats and extra bass to a Tapestok songwriter.

The biggest winner, and easily worth the price of admission, is “Kaqriyo capriccio”; if you wanted a Metallica-reminiscent thrash riff to start things off, then go on a sonic voyage through some of the sweetest, kindest idol arrangements that, like the heavenly storm besetting Odysseus, is punctuated with escalating violence that leaves you disoriented but (because you survived!) satisfied.

I don’t know if I’m ready yet to give Cultural Mixing any of-the-year consideration — the highs are really high, but they’re balanced by kinda-high and even not-high — but I do know that things are off to a great start. Codomomental hit it out of the park again, and their newest project’s first full-length is setting things up for a very bright future.

Score: One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews One full Heartbleed, the logo of Homicidols.com, used for reviews