With over ten million views and almost one hundred thousand subscribers NEMOPHILIA is an upcoming all-female “modern metal” band that draws heavily from other sub genres such as thrash, metalcore, and groove Metal. The group is made up of members from other Japanese metal bands such as Mary’s Blood, Soramimi, Lisa-X BAND, Disqualia, and Destrose, thus making the band a bit of a supergroup.
The opening track of the album, also the title track, “OIRAN” heavily shows off the diverse sub genres they draw from showing off intense thrash riffs with some metalcore breakdowns and the signature down-tuned guitars of the genre. Lead guitarist Saki from the start of the track leads off with a face melting riff into a short technical tapping break, only to introduce the powerhouse vocals of Mayu who shows off her high end screams into her melodic vocals. This first minute of the track perfectly demonstrates all of NEMOPHILIA’s strengths from Saki and Hazuki’s tight guitarwork with Mayu’s over the top vocals, all with Tamu masterful drum work and Haraguchi-san’s Bass lines keep everything in one extremely raw tight package, “OIRAN” is a masterpiece and easily the best J-rock song of 2020.
The power metal-synth hybrid “MONSTERS” is next and it shows off NEMOPHILIA’s power metal influences with Saki and Hazuki’s guitar being more of an undertone to Mayu’s powerful vocals in this song. However Tamu’s drum’s are on full display here, and with fill after fill she keeps impressing and keeping the up tempo of the song from slowing. Just when you think you have the song figured out, again comes another genre switch, with an extremely heavy metalcore breakdown into my favorite solo on the album: a heavily 80’s influenced Power Metal dual guitar solo. I cannot get enough of Saki and Hazuki’s guitarwork.
“Life” is NEMOPHILIA’s ballad of the album, and while it does show off a more pop side to them, their musicianship still shows off how talented each individual member is. Mayu’s melodic power metal vocals hard carry this song’s inspiring lyrics, and you can tell it was written for the band and its members. All the signatures, from a fantastic melodic guitar solo to a standard power metal chant section, are included in this ballad, and overall it’s my least favorite song on the album.
“RAITEI” was the group’s second single they released in August of 2020, and right out of the gate we’re treated with more of the aggressive NEMOPHILIA riffs that have been absent in the past two songs. “RAITEI” is the first of their songs to offer more backing vocals in their aggressive songs with the other members backing up Mayu’s aggressive belting for the chorus. One thing that really sticks out is the guitar tone and style of both solo’s really giving me some Testament “Practice What You Preach” solo vibes from it that then ends with Saki’s own personal flair, which is then interwoven with Mayu’s vocal which end off the climax of the song. Tamu’s ending double bass is a great addition bringing a strong ending to their second single.
“SORAI” is my favorite song on the album, from it’s groove heavy intro riff to the power metal chanting section, this song has it all and solidified my love for this album. Back to the down-tuned guitars for this one, “SORAI” also includes some heavy double bass and nasty drum fills underlaid below all the groove riffs and Mayu’s screams.
“Dissension” is the band’s third single, and honestly is the best representation of their hybrid style. Opening with the songs main thrash riff, it transitions into a stand power metal sweeping solo only to then be bookended with a metal-core style breakdown all within the first minute. This song also both lyrically and vocally is the most aggressive song, with Mayu both swearing and screaming right from the start, only for the song to have it’s first tonal shift during the chorus, going from in your face thrash vocals to the melodic belting you’re accustomed to by now from Mayu.
Meanwhile Saki and Hazuki are shifting from standard power chords into an intense chord progression riff that you can’t help but headbang. The technicality in their guitar work is phenomenal, which is only amplified by their solo and reminds me so much of something you would see Marty Friedman shred too amazing stuff here. Tamu’s drums really add an extra layer to how heavy the breakdowns are on this track; her bass pedals really harmonize perfectly with the open note riffs Saki and Hazuki are using throughout the track.
“Fighter” starts off with just Haraguchi-san’s bass and Tamu’s drums , which I really loved. Haraguchi-san really gets to shine with this intro. It also shows a different more blues style NEMOPHILIA with Saki and Hazuki using a lot of harmonics for the riffs and taking a backseat for a bit. Meanwhile Tamu is going to town with double bass fills and really getting the spotlight for this track. This, of course, is all thrown on it’s head when Hazuki and Saki get their face melting call and answer solo. Overall, “Fighter” shows us how versatile each member of this group is.
NEMOPHILIA’s amazing musicianship is on full display with Tamu’s versatile drums along with Haraguchi-san’s bass work laying the foundation for Saki and Hazuki to show off their masterclass lead and rhythm guitar work, while Mayu shows off her amazing vocal skills: She can deliver powerful melodic vocals, scream, belt and deliver all of this over the course of one track. Every member of NEMOPHILIA excels at their own instrument and continues to show off how versatile they can be with their hybrid sound.
NEMOPHILIA’s ‘OIRAN’ is a crash course of just how versatile metal can be. This super group has only been moving forward with quality single after single and OIRAN Extended Edition is a collection of some of the best metal that’s come out of Japan in years. If you want to see one of the best upcoming metal bands check out NEMOPHILIA and listen to some of their bangers!