Japan in general is not known for their heavy metal. Bands from the west have always enjoyed a degree of popularity there, though; bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Deep Purple have recorded some of their best material on live albums from there, and western releases in Japan almost always come with a couple of bonus tracks not available in North America. It’s only recently, though, that Japan has begun to export its fantastic music on a wider scale worldwide. Thanks in part to the internet and to organizations like Next Music From Tokyo, Japanese music is growing in popularity worldwide, but few Japanese bands ever enjoy true international success, remaining known only in Japan itself and among a select few cult followers.
Japanese metal, however, is often far more extreme than its North American or European counterparts. The bands take the western sound and take it to its logical conclusion, recording material that ascends to levels of heaviness, extremity and aggression that most western bands would kill to attain. This is true for many bands, but nowhere is it more obvious than on Fastkill’s latest album, Bestial Thrashing Bulldozer.
Everything on this album’s package screams 80’s thrash metal. From the excellent hand-drawn cover, depicting a rotting half-skeleton with a rocket launcher and a pint of beer riding atop a bulldozer-tank amid the ruins of a city to the parody of Motley Crue’s Too Fast For Love album on the inside to their song titles, like “In Thrash We Trust,” “Toxic Tormentor,” and “Guillotine Attack,” this band makes no illusions about what they play. From the album’s first beat to its close, the tempo rarely strays from breakneck speed, pausing only occasionally for an 80’s-style riff oriented breakdown, devoid of the chugging riffs that too many modern bands employ. Maniacal vocalist Toshio Komori delivers lyrics with a vicious ferocity reminiscent of early Exodus or later Death, and each song is practically overflowing with spectacular, lightning-fast riffs. This album is so fast, in fact, that the tracks rarely extend much past the four minute mark. At this speed, the musicians’ arms would probably fall off if they played for much longer.
Despite several thrash releases so far this year, Fastkill manages to blow each and every one of them out of the water. The fact that this album wipes the floor with releases by Kreator, Testament, and others this year is not meant as an attack on their great albums, but rather as proof of just how fantastic Fastkill’s output is.
For an extreme thrash fest, check out Fastkill’s latest album. Whatever you’re listening to right now, trust me: this is heavier and faster. It’s not for the faint of heart, but those who enjoy this style will find Fastkill’s latest album is more than up to par with modern thrash metal, and can swing with the best the genre has to offer.