My first exposure to Japan’s Nemophila came via their lively take on classic metal standards (check out their YouTube channel and you’ll find raucous renditions of “Detroit Rock City”, “The Trooper” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”). However, they’ve equally stellar original tunes and it was only a matter of time until the world took notice and, now signed to JPU Records, their debut EP Oiran gets an (expanded) international release.
Like most Japanese bands Nemophila have an insane work ethic and since forming in Tokyo in 2019 they’ve released a three track single and two lengthy EP’s. Oiran was their debut and, as openers go, the title track is the perfect introduction; wasting little time on pleasantries it arrives like a musical tornado as the guitars fire off each other, riffing and then soloing in tandem while vocalist Mayu delivers an ear piercing scream from within the eye of the storm. It’s pretty fast and frantic and the band don’t let up over four-and-a-half blistering minutes and they speed past like a bullet train and leave the listener windswept in their wake. Nevertheless, the band are no one trick ponies as next cut “Monsters” illustrates and incorporates everything from grunge to thrash before the hook laden “Life” could snare a man at 100 yards.
Nemophila could be described as something of a supergroup with all of the members serving time in other bands most notably guitarist Saki (Mary’s Blood/Detrose) and they each bring something unique to the table which results in a pretty unique sound. The Raitei EP followed their debut by a mere six months and both tracks that are included here evidence a band who’re more confident in their skins to deliver a bold and brash sound that swings like a huge wrecking ball. Bringing things bang up to date are two tracks from the Dissension release that further forges forward and those who only know Maya from her tenure with glam rockers Lipstick might be surprised at her demonic, glass-shattering screech which electrifies proceedings.
Fans of Japanese metal are pretty hardcore and tend to purchase everything a band unleashes but what makes this an essential buy is an unreleased, English language version of “Dissension”. The bands two EP’s both contain instrumental tracks from previous releases and it would have been nice if they were included here (as bonus tracks) to bolster the running time but as debuts go Oiran is pretty damn perfect and sets the sky as a limit.
Oiran: Extended Edition is released via JPU Records on 25th June 2021