Label: The Sign Records
偏執症者 (Paranoid) have built up quite a reputation for themselves over the past few years, with their mix of Disclose-worshiping D-beat grit, Japanese hardcore madness, and heavy metal heroics seeming like a combination that is perhaps an obvious one; but it’s one that few, if any, other bands do quite so well. New album Heavy Metal Fuck-Up!, as its title implies, has a much more metallic edge to it than previous releases, but it’s still recognisable as 偏執症者 (Paranoid) through-and-through. Imagine a combination between early Sodom and Disclose (but with a halfway decent production), and you’re pretty much there; and Heavy Metal Fuck-Up! is every bit as violent, energising, and exciting as that implies. It’s hardly original; but that doesn’t stop it being bloody great.
There’s what, on paper, looks like a fairly simple formula to Heavy Metal Fuck-Up! Start with a typical D-Beat rhythm; add some chainsaw guitars torn from your favourite proto-black metal record; and top it off with raw, shouted vocals, full of punk urgency. All of which might sound fairly standard for modern D-beat, where the influence of early extreme metal never seems to be far away these days; but in the case of 偏執症者 (Paranoid), there’s a charisma and sense of character that might be lacking in other bands. And, on top of that, there’s also something quite simple; the songs are simply good. The riffs are never complicated, and most of the songs follow the same kind of structures as those pretty much every D-beat song since the release of Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing; but there’s little use in denying the energy they put across, or their invigorating nature.
Yet nor is it possible to pretend that Heavy Metal Fuck-Up! is, in any way, an adventurous record. ‘Fukusyuu’ may throw in a mid-tempo mosh section around its half-way mark, and the chainsaw sample that follows is a lot of fun; opener ‘Jideidan’ features a killer heavy metal solo; and closer ‘Shi Ni Itarumade’ is full of ominous atmosphere, with some interesting changes in tempo and drum patterns; but these are the exceptions to the rule. Heavy Metal Fuck-Up! largely sticks true to its chosen template, rarely deviating from a formula that 偏執症者 (Paranoid) have pretty much perfected.
Which, in its own way, is absolutely fine. Heavy Metal Fuck-Up! may challenge few genre conventions, but that doesn’t stop it being a whole lot of fun. There’s no denying its swagger, that gives it real charisma even at its most vicious; or the energy the band put across throughout, which is infectious and all but impossible to resist. It’s the kind of album that will make you want to wear leather and spikes, to fashion your hair into a mohawk, and to tell your boss exactly what you think of them. It’s the spirit of protest and rebellion in musical form. If you’ve ever been a fan of D-beat – especially of the Swedish or Japanese schools – then Heavy Metal Fuck-Up! is sure to delight.