Big Bang!

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It's fairly rare for J-Rockers to make it too far on the Oricon charts, but the Breakerz trio did just that with their third album, 2008's Big Bang. The album opens with the title track, which is also figuratively the big bang of the set. Pounding guitar riffs and a stuttering instrumental delivery add up to a surprisingly complex sound surrounding the group's vocals. The group immediately starts pounding their way through high-energy anthems, using rapid guitar stutters to build energy and suspense and their nearly-wailing vocals to re-anchor the sound back at a more angst-driven level. With some ornamentation from violin tracks, Sekai Wa Oduru slows down the tempo a bit, only to be amped back up within a single track on Guilty, something of a poor man's Foo Fighters track. The tempo only increases for Shakunetsu, tapering off a bit afterward. Buzzer Beater uses a Papa Roach-like riff structure to walk the line between frenetic and tragic. There's a little bit of more classical-style guitar snuck into Aitakute, probably the only true ballad in the set. The album finishes much as it carried on for the majority, with a quick, riff-heavy piece of power pop. From start to end, the Breakerz pulled out all the stops of power pop in their pursuit of J-Rock success. They may still be more pop than rock, but they're making strides instrumentally with Big Bang, and keeping themselves commercially viable at the same time.