Twist: Maximum The Hormone

If you have even a vague idea who Maximum The Hormone is, figuring out the big surprise awaiting in the video for their new single ends up being a pretty easy task. If that name means nothing to you it could be a little trickier – this new song opens with an idiot bounce, light as rice cakes accompanied in the clip by some dorky dancing. Considering tons of J-Rock acts boast names stupider than “Maximum The Hormone,” it’s not a stretch to hear the goofy rock of this track and write them off as yet another limp-wristed outfit out to write emotional van-fodder for overly nostalgic moms. About two minutes in though the true nature of Hormone splatters through as a man perched on a TV playing the aforementioned schlock vomits a yogurt-like substance all over the screen. Turns out the band was busting mainstream Japanese rock’s balls, and those familiar with the group probably saw it coming from the first shimmy – though the length they stretch the joke out raises eyebrows too. Promptly, the band returns to normal with throat-ravaging screams and a lot of head banging.

What elevates Hormone’s latest above a cute little joke, though, is the surprising musical depth they commit to here. Where a lot of metal and hard rock loses me is bands seem content to play into stereotypes, turning into real-life Dethkloks. Hormone take elements of each – deep growling, Metallica-like verses, complete spazz-outs – and builds a multi-faced monstrosity out of it. Nothing borders on stupidity because the group balances everything out, relatively calm portions suddenly spinning around completely to reveal foaming freak outs. The J-Rock parody opening the song’s video works perfectly in the context of this manic thing – here’s a group not remotely afraid to take risks with structure without ever giving up the core of their sound.

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