9mm Parabellum Bullet


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The differences between the first and second tier J-rock bands are often subtle, but the 9mm Parabellum Bullet debut album shows that they are there. That is a compliment, as the band definitely fits in the top category, even if it still dwells within the Japanese rock paradigm with its '80s rock foundation steeped in later influences, such as nu-metal, gothic, and, to a lesser extent, alternative rock and metal. The alt-rock part is actually very pronounced in 9mm's music, but, more importantly, the band is not content to borrow from its mentors and has its own things to say (well, to play, actually). Termination is deliciously free from the genre's excesses -- the singing is strong, but also natural (a big issue for bands like Alice Nine and UVERworld), the playing is mostly fast, but never hysterical (usually a bigger problem still), and then, there's the songwriting. 9mm Parabellum Bullet don't lose J-rock's knack for melody -- there are some guitar licks to die for -- but at the same time they take the power of heavy metal and work it into the alt-rock ethos with deceptive casualty. That kind of thing is easy to say and to attempt, but to actually shed all the pretentiousness from the heavy chops and to make them sound down to earth with honest immediacy is something that perhaps only Party of Helicopters accomplished before. 9mm Parabellum Bullet, indeed, sound like a more focused version of that band, and they've really got a lot to explore in the way of licks and textures -- each member of the band does his lines very well, and so the songs are fit for long-term listens. Add a killer track in "Battle March," and Termination is complete as a fresh and satisfying debut record of the same caliber as prime Luna Sea or Asian Kung-Fu Generation efforts.

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