Indie and underground idol has gone through quite an evolution from the early days when the scene was predominated by screaming metal and loud, raucous punk. The genre has expanded to include just about every conceivable alt-rock and alt-pop sub genre including shoegaze, rockabilly, trap, house, grunge, dreampop and many, many more. The depth and breadth of the genre has become immense and we can now even track musical sub-influences as they wash through the scene, like a couple of years ago when a retro city pop vibe was flavoring everything, or the current trend of electro swing popping up all over the place.
Against this backdrop, it was refreshing to spin up THE 8th FAREWELL, KOSAME’s first EP, and get a stunning reminder of what drew many of us to the genre in the first place: idols being straight-up, brutally hardcore.
KOSAME is produced by Idol Underworld who give the EP the following description: “The 8th Farewell is what happens when you take a real life genius Japanese girl who is really pissed off and give her a platform to express her anger through music.” That alone is enough to get me to give an album a spin so, if you are like me, stop reading here and go grab a copy.
If you need more info, check out this MV for KOSAME’s debut single, “CORD”, the first vocal track on the new EP.
KOSAME’s style of harsh vocals, both growls and screams intermittently transitioning to a clean chorus or bridge with dramatic affect, is much in the same vein as site favorite 14th Generation Toilet Hanako-San. In fact, I highly recommend that anyone who enjoys Hanako-san to sang a copy of this EP as they will most definitely enjoy the heck out of it.
Despite being in the same aesthetic wheelhouse vocally, KOSAME and Hanako-Sans’ overall styles are distinct. Where Hanako-San’s music is largely grindcore punk with a gothic carnival-like flair, KOSAME, here on THE 8th FAREWELL, sticks to more progressive punk and metal with infusions of a pseudo-classical influence like what sometimes appears in work by power metal groups like Mary’s Blood.
In addition to “CORD” and the opening instrumental track, the EP also features a couple of progressive punk-metal tunes,「 待って」(“Wait for me”) and「寡欲グランマの憤怒」 (“The anger of grandmother who doesn’t expect much”). These two tracks bounce between tones and tempos like System of a Down at their best except with detours into some dramatically emotional territory.
KOSAME created the lyrical content for all of the songs on THE 8th FAREWELL and they delve into some emotionally and narratively complex themes. “Wait for me” explores the conflicting thoughts and feelings “at the inevitable moment of farewell.” Meanwhile, “The anger of grandmother who doesn’t expect much” tells of the bitter resentment directed by a grandmother who survived war at a younger generation whose concerns seem so trivial in comparison.
The final track, “DIRTY WOMB”, is, quite possibly, my favorite song on the EP. It’s a groove metal tune with hardcore vocals except for the chorus which could have been stripped out of one the more unhinged singles by The Sugarcubes (imagine a three-way collaboration between Bjork, Broken By the Scream and Anthrax). It is an altogether brilliant and deranged piece of work and the closing screams are, by themselves, worth the price of admission.
THE 8th FAREWELL will be officially released on July 17th. You can grab a copy at IDOL UNDERWORLD along with a number of pre-order bonuses (I’m not sure how much longer they are available, so you will probably want to order those right now). You can also sang a ticket for KOSAME’s CD Release Party Live Event via livestream as well.