Like Alphaville's cheesy '80s dance hit once whined, everybody wants to be "Big In Japan." And most usually are, given the Eastern seaboard's rabid consumption of almost anything from American pop culture. But not too many local Japanese acts make that trip across the pond to the States for any extended period of time -- unless they play baseball for the Seattle Mariners, that is. The Mad Capsule Markets might change that trend somewhat, at least among the metal-heads who suck down Atari Teenage Riot, Helmet, Tool, and industrial metal like it's going out of style. Especially since bands like Tool so often marry their unbridled sonic assault with cutting-edge visuals, something headbangers have been digging since before Iron Maiden introduced their corpse mascot, Eddie. Enter Mad Capsule Markets' Star-Wars-inspired, CGI-heavy video for "Pulse" -- which features the band in full storm trooper gear infiltrating a Death Star-like compound with their guns blazing -- one of six videos compiled on a second DVD for the Palm Pictures' reissue of Mad Capsule's last release. Palm is banking on that extra disc to pull in or expand a crowd already piqued by Mad Capsule's deft explorations of all things 'core', and it works like a charm. Watching Kyono, Takeshi Ueda, Motokatsu Miyagami, and Toru XXX bounce with violent energy in the "Tribe" video only makes their best song even better, and the digital kaleidoscoping in the clip gives their programmed sub-beats that much more visual impact. There is also a cinematic shout-out to Cali skate punk in the videos for "All the Time in Sunny Beach" and "Midi Surf," replete with familiar footage of shirt-less skaters repeatedly mouthing the F-word, smacking each other around, drinking and spilling their beers, ogling chicks in bikinis, and generally rolling through town executing tricks off rails and stairs. Similarly, "Good Girl (Dedicated to Bride 20 Years Earlier)" is a visual paean to a steady stream of tech-savvy Japanese fans preening, pouting, and performing for the camera: a region-specific move that might make your average American hardcore fan scratch his head as he's catching the video on a local cable access punk show. But that's the cool thing about Mad Capsule's head-banging blend of Rage Against the Machine, Ministry, and SoCal pop-punk: everything sounds familiar even though it's foreign. The bonus DVD on this reissue is just another reminder that music is a universal language, even in its visual form. And these cats have a lexicon polished and shiny enough to make it stick in the States. Here's hoping they infiltrate America as easily as they shot down an entire opposing army of black shirts in the "Pulse" video, because U.S. metal could use a new face. Even one that has, like the Mad Capsule Markets', been around for over a decade.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Thill