Detroit Metal City: Tribute to Krauser II the metal mix
by Rachael Carothers,
Click below for a clip of the song "Yuki-Joy"
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Recently, the Detroit Metal City manga has been adapted into both a live-action movie and an anime OAV. On March 28, 2008, DefSTAR Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment, released a Detroit Metal City tribute album sub-titled Tribute to Krauser II the metal mix. The album features a variety of artists such as BEAT CRUSADERS, Tommy february6, monobright and MUCC, among others. With so many non-metal bands, just how metal is the album?
BEAT CRUSADERS start things off with an amazing new rendition of the Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad theme song “Hit in the USA.” Besides being a much harder version of the song, it was also given a new chorus and the new title “Hit in the DMC.” The original version is a sugary pop tune; the metal version features fast guitars and pounding drum lines. Fortunately for us, this is an awesome song and a great beginning for the album.
Mixing pop and metal, Kimura Kaela appears with her new version of her pop hit “Riura Riruha” (“Real Life Real Heart”) titled “Riura Riruha ~kōtetsu gattai Robo Mix~.” For the most part, this is another great remix. Sadly, it doesn't seem to feature any new vocals. It is just a rehash of the original vocals with some filters and new background music. There is also a rather annoying instrumental smack dab in the middle of the song. It completely ruins the feel of the rest of it. If we could cut out that instrumental, this would be a great song.
Hip-hop group Scha Dara Parr blasts into the third spot with a remix of their 1991 rap song “0718 Anisolo.” Originally a lackluster song with boring lyrics and a dull beat, the remix, “0718 Anisolo (kyōfu no daitensai sairin Tucker kōkai shokei Mix),” has re-recorded vocals and a hard metal background instrumental. Surprisingly, this version isn't all that bad. It's a little more rap than metal but it still has that razor-sharp edge that allows it to fit on the album perfectly.
The original version of Midori's “Romantic NATSU mode” was already semi-punk-semi-metal but in a sort of messy way. As a remix, there is a lot more cohesion to the song. Another song that doesn't have a new vocal track, it seems that the mixer decided to try to cover up the oldness of the song by making the instruments louder. While this does give the song a solidity that the original version was missing, just being louder doesn't make the song better. On the contrary, the song is now rather grating.
Best known as the lead vocalist for the band Judy & Mary, the group that provided the first opening theme song to Rurouni Kenshin, Yuki's early 2005 single “Joy” comes up next. Despite keeping the same pop vocal line, the addition of a harsh electric guitar actually gives the song a new life. The softer vocals offset the instrumentals, resulting in a beautiful marriage of pop and metal.
A fairly new band, monobright is an unimpressive rock band. Their song “WARP” was transformed from a typically bland rock song into a hard-rocking metal tune. Again, the vocals stay the same and the metal sound is simply added to the original song. However, the vocals were never that amazing to begin with. This doesn't make it a terrible metal song but it doesn't make it great either.
Tommy February6, the alter ego of the brilliant green vocalist Tomoko Kawase, is probably best known in the anime community as the singer of the Paradise Kiss theme song. In 2003, she released the song “je t'aime « je t'aime.” Now the remixed version appears as the seventh track on the album. This is another very surprising mix of pop and metal. Much like “Joy,” the softer female vocals blend yet offset the harshness of the background instruments. If only more metal songs were like these.
Already a band on the harder side of rock, MUCC seemed to be a shoe-in for the album. While their song “Flight” is technically a remix, it isn't much more than MUCC turned up a notch or two. Almost everything is exactly the same, except the guitar and drum lines. Both of those get a little kick in the butt to become slightly louder and just a touch edgier. It comes out good. Then again, it's tough to screw up an almost exact copy of a good song.
While the pop and rock remixes have been mostly good so far, the same cannot be said for King Giddra's “Heisei Ishin.” Unfortunately, the song keeps a little too much of its rap roots by featuring record scratches on top of the instruments. When the scratches are absent, the song isn't terrible. However, once those scratches start up, so do the headaches. It's just one too many sounds trying to come together.
Electric Eel Shock is the only actual metal band on the album. Their song “America ōdan Ultra Metal” has a few good parts but the vocals feature little more than a lot of screaming. If the song had been placed earlier in the album, amid the pop tunes, I might have been a little more tolerant of it. Instead, it is placed directly after the pain-inducing “Heisei Ishin.” Perhaps if the screaming was toned down a bit, it might have been a better song.
Saving my ears and my sanity, ANA's “Shift” mix slides into the eleventh slot. ANA has a techno sound that is an odd choice for a metal remix, yet it works. The pounding drums combined with a repeating bass line keep the beat while the guitar can set itself apart from all of the other sounds. Since the instrumentals here are the main focus, the vocals are allowed to roam a bit. The combination is amazing.
Nearing the end of the song, Wagdug Futuristic Unity comes blaring in with “IMGNxLOUD (xMOTOR).” Sadly, it's back to the screaming and loud beats. On the good side, the screaming vocals are actually hidden underneath the instrumentals, which are a little metal with a slight techno edge. On the bad side, since there isn't anything to distract us, the drums are hard on the ears. Tone down the drums a little and bring up the vocals, the song might have had a chance.
Ending on a bit of a sour note, we are left with Kahimi Karie's “Le cheval blanc.” Karie's pretty vocals are marred with the screeching of an electric guitar. It's not quite feedback from the amps but it is very close to it. To top it off, the song is painfully slow. Five minutes of a piercing guitar is more than I can handle. I have no idea why this was even suggested as a track on the album.
Metal is most definitely not my forte. However, I did find myself liking most of the tracks here. I have to say that I am simply amazed at how many of these non-metal songs made awesome transitions into something harder. Who knew that a bubbly pop song could be such a great metal tune? Despite the few misses, this album would make a good addition to almost any music collection.
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