Aki Yama

Recently, I attended a Japanese Taiko drums show at my local performing arts center and during all the thunderous percussion, chanting, and Kai yelling I thought to myself how cool it would be it this stuff was mixed with metal…

Enter Japan’s Birushanah.

Leave it to the Japanese to take a tired metal genre, in this case post hardcore/shoegazer and add there own cultural and ethnic elements to make something creative and different. The six member band essentially take the ambitious tones of a band like The Ocean, that’s to say caustic, angular hardcore melded with scattered moments of experimental Neurosis core and throw in their own cultural/tribal percussive style and off kilter musical scales and the end result is simply unique and brilliant.

Originally released on Missing Link Records in 2007, Aki Yama consists of one chant filled intro and then 2, twenty minute songs that mix spats of scream filled, jagged, antagonistic noise with moments of elegant chants, strings, percussion and ambience that comes across as a group of pissed off Buddhist monks locked up in a recording studio with a few of their own native instruments on hand. Admittedly, it’s the more experimental and ethnic moments such as the intro, “Jyodo”, the awesome initial build and scattered moments of the title track and third track “Karai” (the 7:12 and 14:00 marks are just fucking epic) that make the album interesting, but even the spurts of chaos are unique in that their chord structures (imagine an Erhu played super fast through an amp) and Ethnic percussion give it all a very pure yet primal Far Eastern feel that’s virtually unheard to these ears. When not delivering haunting chants, even the vocals of Iso and Sougyo come across as the feral, defiant war cries of a dying Samurai. If Akira Kurosawa liked metal-this would be what he would listen to.

Much like England’s Fall of Efrafa, Deadbird and Rwake, Birushanah are taking a fairly stale scene getting some creative juice flowing again rather than simply mimicking Isis and Neurosis note for note. Get this if you want something completely different and challenging.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 12th, 2008


  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    this is fucking great, who’s got US distro?

  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas
  3. Commented by: Apollyon

    Damn you Eric. Just ordered this and the new Fall of Efrafa album. Without listening any clips. Better not disappoint ;)

  4. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Let me know what you think….

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