Despite their name, these Tokyo noisesmiths are more about melting frontal lobes than fruit. Who knows what it is about Japanese culture that can provoke a response as extreme as that country's thriving underground noise scene? Perhaps it's the claustrophobia of intense overpopulation, a strong cultural conservatism, or all the artifice that comes with a society of near-constant technological advancement. Whatever it is, it all works to constrain the masses to such an extent that a few of them lash out, and with enough violence to make the corpse-paint of a thousand black-metal bands run from the nervous sweat on their brows.
And sure to make Marduk perspire is Melt-Banana. With pint-sized female vocalist Yasuko shrieking over cochleas-be-damned guitar and a maelstrom of blast beats, Melt-Banana sounds kinda like a school bus driven off a cliff. Still, the band's approach is a bit more structured than the free-for-all noisemongering of its scenemates in the Boredoms and Merzbow. Whereas much of Japanese hardcore comes off as a manic, stream-of-consciousness shit fit as unbounded as it is unlistenable, Melt-Banana grounds its mayhem in songs that are at least halfway discernible, meaning that you can digest this band's catharsis instead of simply being waylaid by it. But be warned: Melt-Banana has two speeds: stop and blitzkrieg. And quite frankly, your heart will quit before this bunch does.