Friday 3 April 2020

Tetola93 - Tetola93

Labels: MeatCubeLabel/Zegema Beach Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 20 Jun 2014


1. Nagasaki Nightmare
2. Take Away The Life There Is No Right
3. Falsified Habit
5. Dying In One's Corrupt Country
6. Uninstall
7. Meritocracy
8. 'Someone'
9. End Of The Scorching Heat
10. Anti-Japanese Newspaper
11. Karma
12. Sinks In Marsh
13. R vs Hippie
14. Funeral Procession

After nearly ten years of writing this blog, I still come across records that I think I've already written about, even though I keep an up to date list of everything I've featured release-wise. That thought occurred when I was sitting down to write this one, as I realised I hadn't picked up my Zegema Bean Records series in a while. Tetola93 was a Japanese band that was active between 2003 and 2014. They release a few demos, a couple of split CDs and this LP, which was jointly released via both MeatCubeLabel and Zegema Beach back in 2014. As a side note, David Norman (ZBR) has started posting Youtube videos about his releases starting from the very beginning (you should definitely check them out!), so chances are he will have talked about more over the next few weeks than I've written about since this series started!

I’m super happy to be picking this series back up and I’m sorry for the pause in it recently. This should be a fun release to help get things underway again. I slept on this album when it first came out and I’ve got a feeling I’m going to regret that big time after this. Opener ‘Nagasaki Nightmare’ is a weird intro-type song with glimpses of the band’s screamo nestling alongside electronic additions. ‘Take Away The Life There Is No Right’ is more like it, it’s heavy and violent with crazed vocals. 

There’s still a strange heap of electronics going on and like the previous song, they’re present on ‘Falsified Habit’’. There’s also clean singing too, which adds to the madness.. I don’t now a great deal about the history to Tetola93, beyond what I said in the review’s opening paragraph but being a fan Japanese heavy bands, this is scratching the itch for the chaotic. They switch between intense grind and post-hardcore singing at the drop of the hat on ‘OVID’, where there’s plenty of variation throughout the guitar work and overall performance.

‘Dying For One’s Corrupt Country’ is a mash-up of many heavy sub-genres and yet it still seems to retain that characteristically traditional sound that’s consistent across many Japanese bands. I think it’s a cultural thing but it’s what makes them unique, as with other scenes from around the world, The digital-like sound is back on ‘Uninstall’, which is quite apt given the song-titled. It speeds by in no time, yet seems to last longer than it’s ninety-second running time. 

This record is certainly a journey but beneath it’s seemingly unrestrained noise, there’s a clear musical understanding and really clever song-writing. ‘Meritocracy’ has a kind of fast/slow dynamic, but it’s not that obvious while ‘Someone’ contains a hip-hop beat and unnerving nursery rhyme-style jingle laid on top of glitchy vocals. As I said earlier, Tetola93 doesn’t just mess with one genre. It pulls you into the album’s second-half and into the post-hardcore brilliance of ‘End Of The Scorching Heat’, which is a bizarre mix of pop and abrasive hardcore. 

‘Anti-Japanese Newspaper’ is the most metal-orientated song on the album and it contains some very soothing female choral singing at the start. ‘Karma’ brings back the craziness and it sparks a final quartet of songs that are lengthier and more menacing in places. They use an introspective mid-section on ‘Karma’ to break up what is probably the most violently intense song on the record. 

I just don’t know what to say about ‘Sinks In Marsh’ that hasn’t already been said about Tetola93. It’s just mental and there seem to be elements of death metal in it, which is cool. Once again, there’s a break in proceedings on penultimate song ‘R vs. Hippie”, which is another hip-hop like interlude of sorts, which goes through multiple movements with spoken word samples, classy piano and other electronic layers that build and fade. It’s actually quite stark and beautiful.

Despite it’s name, final song ‘Funeral Procession’ isn’t as mournful as you might think. It starts with a child’s voice and more lovely piano before Tetola93 explodes into one final, huge blast of violent post-hardcore. This song seems more emotional than the rest here and it strips back some of the more extreme elements of the band’s sound, for brief moments. It’s a heart-wrenching yet rousing way to finish an album that darts in so many directions. I do indeed regret sleeping on this following it’s initial release. At a time when mathcore and screamo are coming to the fore almost exponentially, this record should be on everybody’s playlist.

You can stream and purchase Tetola93 directly from the band below:-

Physical copies are sold out from both labels.

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