BRAHMAN – Antinomy Album Review

brahman.jpg

BRAHMAN
Vo. TOSHI-LOW

Gu. KOHKI

Ba. MOKOTO

Dr. RONZI

Antinomy Track Listing and Rating (*****):

1. The only way ****
2. Speculation*****
3. Epigram ***
4. Stand aloof ***1/2
5. Silent day *****
6. Oneness ****1/2
7. Handan’s pillow *****
8. You don’t live here anymore *****
9. Causation ****
10. Fibs in the hand ****1/2
11. 逆光 ****
12. Kamuy-pirma ****
BONUS TRACK 01***** + BONUS TRACK 02*****

BRAHMAN is one of the largest jindies rock (post-punk/alternative) names around, selling out venues all over the place, with one album release in the U.S. (A FORLORN HOPE reissue). They’ve been active since 1995, but this is actually the first album from them that I’ve heard because they’re not as well-known in the states. And I have to say, I’m impressed. TOSHI-LOW’s vocals take a bit to get used to, because they’re very…errr…gruff. But it grows on you. If you’re looking for something a little different, this is for you. ^^

FYI: “antinomy” is spelled correctly (and is not alimony or an element from the periodic table, lol, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinomy, had to look it up myself)

Now take a moment to prepare yourself with a reeeeaaaalllly loooong review…but I have a treat just for you at the end: you can hear the lovely tracks for yourself!! (I hope it works… :sweatdrop:)

The first track, The Only Way, instantly starts of with a folkish, Middle Eastern-type guitar intro, which quickly turns into an interesting strumming with RONZI starting in on those drums with a fast-paced style that seems to be prevalent throughout the whole album, in this case a more primal, ethnic dance-beat for the intro. This moves into the more driving melody of the song and TOSHI-LOW’s gruff vocals calling out “The only way!”, only pierced by a brief, more classic rock sound that serves as a sort of verse/bridge, since the song is only 2 minutes and 44 seconds long. But it doesn’t sound quite as cool the second time around. A good start to the album, however.

Onto track two (Speculative), which begins with another of KOHKI’s interesting guitar concoctions, which does give off this inquisitive feel. Overall, this song is punk, and certainly not slow. I find myself tapping my fingers in no particular beat. Speculative actually flows into the next song, Epigram.

Epigram has a peppy beat, and TOSHI-LOW really just yells out the lyrics, which adds to the effect as it seems to be building up into a fast song. It seems to move away from this into a steady beat toward the last minute, but then becomes louder and louder until TOSHI-LOW begins yelling “NO WAY! NO NEVER!”, and rock mayhem ensues (after an interesting little guitar ditty) until the cut-off.

Stand aloof is a song where you can guess by the title that it would be slower, but if you listen Ronzi’s quiet tapping, you can tell that the chorus will reveal a song that gives you a feeling of rising above your surroundings, and standing aloof. Triumph in “a world without illusions” (the only Engrish I could catch)! At first it seems like something you’ve heard before, but about halfway through they start to hit their stride.

Track 5, Silent day, is another song that starts out quiet but has a brash, loud chorus. The guitar seems to evoke the image of a crawling spider in my mind when solo, but is very driving combined with MOKOTO’s bass. Oh, and this song is mostly in Japanese. And definitely not silent.

The title of track 6 is Oneness, which instantly makes you think of the Buddhism the band’s name evokes, but this song is actually very dreamy, with a kind of sway-and-snap aspect that gives the song an extra jolt. Handan’s pillow, on the other hand, uses RONZI’s drums to impel force throughout the almost-melancholy, slightly wistful song.

Handan’s pillow is one of my favorite songs. It is instantly wistful and driving at the same time, embodying the principles of the albums title (Antinomy, which the mutual incompatibility of things. Like trying to put a rational label on something unexplainable). The idea of the song seems to be “See the world with one eye/See the world with one mind/Now you can see the whole picture”, which is antimony. kekeke. The song is never quite quiet, and it builds up pressure that boils over into the chorus. All of the band members are on top of their game.

You don’t live here anymore is the most vigorously energetic song on the album, not including the bonus tracks. At first it seems like this song could easily be part of Handan’s pillow with a faster tempo, but the chorus individualizes it. That tactic seems to be part of the song’s brilliance. I noticed MOKOTO’s bass quite a bit in this song. When you think of this song, you definitely get that clear, “What’re you gonna do?” vibe, made even clearer when TOSHI-LOW stresses it toward the end of the song. Fun.

Causation (Track 9) begins with acoustics that could be played in a lounge, until you hear that abstract electric give two jeering notes and then two more, and away you go into rock-land. We get a guitar almost-solo, meaning it never really comes to fruition (this song is called causation, not effect, lol). There is a guitar/bass duet that brings back that lounge feel, but before you know it you’re back into the chorus without even a pause.

Track 10, fibs in the hand, is melodic rock, the kind that sounds acoustic despite being played with the instruments plugged in. It is the softest of rock on the album, despite adding some stronger tones to affix some emphasis to the end of the song. Not the most memorable, but very well constructed.

逆光 or Track 11 is the song with the cool drum intro. It isn’t the most wonderful thing you’ve ever heard, nor is it especially complicated, but it seems Brahman has a skill for giving all their songs a slightly unpolished feel, so you can feel the raw emotion and talent they evoke. KOHKI’s guitar in the areas where the tempo changes remind me of Red Hot Chili Peppers (maybe because they performed together). We hear a clear bass solo from MOKOTO beneath the guitar solo, then a sudden gruff tone and an electric guitar solo that is cut off to go back into the rest of the song, with all its tempo changes. It isn’t the most striking thing until toward the end, which prevents easy listening for the easily distracted.

Track 12, Kamuy Pirma, is where TOSHI-LOW’s vocals, shine. It can barely be categorized as rock because it is folksy. The focus is definitely on the Japanese lyrics/melody. KOHKI lightly adds accompaniment, while the ending notes sound as if a program was used to create a whimisical reverberation.

The bonus tracks actually lean more toward metal than anything else and include a lot of speaking or shouting. Veeerry different from the rest of the album. BONUS TRACK 01 has TOSHI-LOW speaking in a way that reminds me of something Ruki would do, but the rest of the song, including the weird haunted house organ-sounding thingie, is very dismal and jarring, with quite a bit of screaming and a strange funereal-type synth going on right before the end, which is all blaring rock. And more screaming.

BONUS TRACK 02? Suspicious-sounding bass intro, leading to more driving rock and screaming. It almost seems like it’s taunting you, galloping about at a chase (yes, galloping) that TOSHI-LOW is narrating. It gives you the feeling that something is lurking right under the surface, or hiding just around the corner. I don’t really have a lot to say on this one, even though it’s probably my favorite. Just listen to it.

BRAHMAN Antimony coverOVERALL RATING: ***** (Five stars = Loooooove!) A must listen. My only criticism? I can barely understand a word of TOSHI-LOW’s “engrish”. Help, anyone?

(Aside from the bonus, the tracks below are chosen because they are available on BRAHMAN’s official myspace so I assume they’re okay for promotion)

BONUS TRACK 02

02 Speculation

04 Stand aloof

music copyright BRAHMAN (Antinomy – 2008 tactic records; Speculation and Stand alone featured on official myspace) image featured on www.genovatune.net (official promotion image)

More information on BRAHMAN: http://jame-world.com/us/database-artist.php?id=531

BRAHMAN – Official Myspace

BRAHMAN – Official Home Page

Mark Muffin OHP (Side project feat. RONZI)

BUY ALBUM AT YESASIA.COM US$24.99

~review done by rina

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~ by jrockadmin on March 2, 2008.

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