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Like many J-rock albums, Girugämesh's eponymous release is a double-layered affair, both layers being generic but enjoyable (also typical for Japanese music). It starts off as a perfect replica of any nu metal band that ever laid down start-stomp riffs in the studio, being actually better than a typical second-tier release of the genre -- less artificial than Dark New Day, for instance, and just as competent. They may not reach for the level of Sevendust, but Girugämesh make up for it with some genuine thrash of the Machine Head ilk. In other words, the band is very good at what it does -- but there's just no way around the predictability of these tracks, and even the Japanese lyrics don't help, because -- as often as not -- they are undecipherable anyway. However, while Japanese musicians have a predilection for copying Western role models, they also sport a somewhat naïve disregard for genre conventions, and that comes in handy here. There are lighter post-grunge numbers made with obvious commercial intent, but impressive for that very reason, a nod to the classics in the neat little venomous speed metal number "Rocker's," and a disco-metal track ("Dance Rock Night") that seems aimed to prove that Electric Six are weaklings. Most of the tracks are still nothing but a rehash of modern American metal, but the detours are just satisfying enough to fend off the "heard it all before" vibe that can ruin the fun of any album in any genre. Sure, you're likely to have heard all the notes and riffs of Girugämesh before, but not in this particular combination, which also has the additional bonus of avoiding the monotony that plagues so many nu metal and alt-metal records.

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