BAND: noy (Japan)
RELEASE: HARD CHOICE BRINGS US THE PAIN (2018)
LABEL: BREAK THE RECORDS (JAPAN)
REVIEWER: Arthur Urquiola
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While ‘HARD CHOICE BRINGS US THE PAIN’ is the first full-length record from Tokyo, Japan’s noy, the band actually started more than 10 years ago. Despite having shared the stage with bands like Unbroken, Strife and Modern Life is War, who rank among the biggest names in Hardcore to pass through Japan, noy’s output in the last decade has only consisted of one mini-album and a single.
Considering that the band plays with such speed and intensity one wouldn’t think noy would be ones to hold back on anything in regards to their music, much less waiting 10 years to finally drop a full length. At times there’s hints of Post-Hardcore that recalls acts like Naiad and Endzweck, but in just under 30 minutes, the 12 songs which make up ‘HARD CHOICE BRINGS US THE PAIN’ are incredibly dynamic and prove that noy are far from a band that relies on a small number of tricks to justify their first lp.
The strength of noy’s melodies is evident from the start – an introductory track with fast moving guitars over a syncopated beat. The melodicism isn’t extended to the vocals, which are impassioned, raw and in the band’s native Japanese throughout. Here they burst forward over soaring octaves which kick in at the same time.
‘示される正誤’ adds a darker tone with a more straightforward and propulsive rhythm underneath. The song maintains its ferocity while somehow assembling itself at different movements. Three songs in and there have been as many notable stylistic shifts as ‘繰り返す選択’ plays up the uplifting melodies and the riffage even while working at a slower tempo.
‘重ねる時代’ builds before exploding forward with two distinct screams trading off over more dizzying trills. The following track ‘嘘’ utilises more tension-building before working in more of a mid-‘90s bounce with chugs working underneath the more melodic guitars.
Despite the ground covered so far, ‘息’ is the first real slow-burner on the record. It also sees the band easing of the distortion for the first time. They use this to great effect. The song climbs for over three minutes before the vocals are deployed to end the track in an epic and exhilarating fashion.
On its own ‘盲目の蟻’ may be one of the record’s more straightforward tracks, but it finds its place perfectly after the preceding tune’s slow burn. It’s a fitting representation of noy in a sub-two-minute burst.
Perhaps it’s the fact that noy waited 10 years and took the time to craft a debut album that keeps its momentum throughout, along with the surprises coming in its final third. ‘失くした主体性’ moves from a waltz to a crushing halftime beat. It stops dead in a squall of feedback to start itself back up again. The penultimate track ‘褪せない遺恨’ begins with some uncharacteristic discordance and also features a balls-out pentatonic solo.
The strongest guitar interplay seems to have been saved for the finale, ‘THIS IS ME’, which sees the band fading out in the middle for an impassioned gang-chant of the song’s title before one last charge into the final breakdown.
While ‘HARD CHOICE BRINGS US THE PAIN’ announces itself right out the gate as an exceptionally melodic, raging Hardcore record, it rewards repeated listens with new discoveries each time. Whether it will be another 10 years before noy follows this up remains to be seen. But if the passion and cathartic tension the band has exuded throughout this collection is any indication, they’re probably one hell of a live band.