pioneered ‘anison metal’ – the art of adapting anime theme songs into heavy metal anthems – in the mid-‘90s, an impressive array of Japanese metal luminaries have dabbled in this uniquely Japanese subgenre. LOUDNESS
’s Akira Takasaki
, and GALNERYUS
, to name but a few.
added her name to this list in 2016, guesting on the female-fronted project ANIMETAL THE SECOND
’s Blizzard of ANIMETAL THE SECOND
. Her bandmates finally followed suit back in August this year with
the release of Re>Animator
, a collection dominated by bona fide ‘anison’ classics but with one or two surprises mixed in.
In addition to its status as a classic anime theme, the opening track – a take on MAKE-UP
’s 1985 “Saint Seiya”
opener Pegasus Fantasy
- arguably qualifies as a classic of the ‘anison metal’ subgenre as well. Twice covered by ANIMETAL
themselves and many others since (including two Italian bands), its popularity likely has something to do with how
the original’s hard rock DNA has always made it fairly simple to metallize.
What sets Mary’s Blood
’s version apart from previous interpretations is the fact they enlisted MAKE-UP
to sing it as a duet with EYE
Beyond some beefy chugging by SAKI
and bassist RIO
through the verses, the song is otherwise faithful to the source material. The same is essentially true of the album’s first half.
The one exception is Shukyoku: BATTLER
’s own admission, incorporates elements from an indeterminate number of other SEIKIMA-II
songs. Elsewhere, however, this hands-off approach shines the spotlight
that much more on EYE
’s vocals. Whilst certainly nothing to complain about, moments like her spot-on rendition of TK from Ling tosite sigure
’s whispery singing style can make the album feel like a classy karaoke session.
. This guitarless “Gundam SEED” anthem by electro-popster T.M.Revolution
was always going to demand some creativity to metallize. Perhaps inevitably, some synths are retained, but SAKI
plays the unforgettable jingle that
bookends each verse and chorus herself. Meanwhile, she and RIO
share the solo section.
From there, the trend away from songs that so readily lend themselves to the metal treatment continues. While the hands-off approach recurs for L’Arc-en-Ciel
and Nana Mizuki
, it was well and truly abandoned for the closing track: We Are!
of “One Piece” fame.
Throwing out any and all vestiges of Hiroshi Kitadani
1999 original - brass and synths included - except the core melody and lyrics, Mary’s Blood
reinvent the track as a clean and crunchy heavy metal number. Compared to ANIMETAL USA
’s unabashedly over-the-top rendering, this version should
be palatable to even the most straitlaced metalheads.
certainly isn’t the most adventurous album in the ‘anison metal’ canon. It’s got nothing on, say, the death metal makeover Imaginary Flying Machines
Studio Ghibli’s discography. Then again, this might be some fans’ first exposure to some very good non-metal songs.
The lack of SAKI
’s fretboard-searing finger work on anything besides BATTLER
may leave some folks dissatisfied.
That shouldn’t bother EYE
’s fanclub, however, for many of whom her renditions of the likes of X JAPAN
’s Forever Love
will be pure ear candy (or EYE
candy, if you will).