Blast Worship: Takafumi Matsubara

Where they from?
Kyoto, Japan. I always found it interesting that if you rearranged the letters in KYOTO it would spell out TOKYO. That’s an anagram, right? What’s up with that? That’s kind of like if the biggest city in New Jersey was called “KROY WEN.” When you don’t have a real job, you have time to think about these kinds of things.

What do they sound like?

Why the hype?
So, Takafumi was the guitarist of the world-renowned Gridlink who featured ex-Discordance Axis vocalist/graphic novel enthusiast Jon Chang. Gridlink broke up in 2014 after releasing their final full-length Longhena, an album whose praises are still being sung by grindcore fans around the world. Takafumi has had his hands in many projects since then, most notably Retortion Terror, but only announced recently his first solo album which would feature a few all-star musicians from the grind world and a rotating cast of vocalists from bands such as Full of Hell, Chepang and Kill the Client.

Takafumi’s guitar work has always stood unprecedented in the world of grind due to its emphasis on melody and symphonic aspects that I can honestly say no other guitarist in this style if music even broaches. It’s like Arsis mixed with tinges of black metal and the Power Rangers theme all on high doses of amphetamine. His guitar playing alone is worth the price of admission but oddly enough that’s not what stood out most to me about the new album…

Latest Release?
Strange, Beautiful, Fast. So, since most of the music here is anchored by Takafumi’s flowery speed riffs and fellow blast virtuoso Bryan Fajardo on drums, what this album really highlights are the different vocalists on each song. It’s interesting to be able to hear the vocal approaches of Dylan Walker to Champ Morgan to Bhotey Gore which this album allows you to do so easily since their songs are in such close proximity to each other. If anything this album serves as a showcase for the featured vocalists and shows how each has their own unique way of inhabiting the space above Matsubara’s riffing. It makes for a truly compelling listening experience that could teach the listener about just how important the vocals are in such a challenging style of music as grindcore. Also, there is a freestyle rap during the penultimate track by Dorian Rainwater that really makes me miss the ’90s when rap metal was a thing. This album gonna be in a lot of top ten lists for sure.