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Nipon
The Judgement

by Samuel Barker
September 14, 2000


File Under: Hardcore/Punk/Ska/Experimental
rating: A
tracks

1. Fall In Step

2. The Judgement

3. Candace Valez

4. Just My Luck

5. Thoughts

6. Metamorphosis

7. The Truth

8. Just Fine

9. Swan Lake

10. The Wonder

11. Tomorrow

12. Grown Up Life

13. Alone

14. Hung-Up

15. Untitled

16. Winter

related links
  • Nipon
  • One of the beauties of making your own album is that you can do whatever you want, and explore any sound you see fit. Nipon took this idea and ran with it. Fusing hardcore punk, and ska with the occassional steel drum, samples, drum machines tracks, and piano, Nipon makes a captivating album you will be into from start to finish.

    Nipon is a 4-piece band from Detroit, MI, who have evolved very nicely over the past years. The band utilizes the talents of all it's members to make a sound that is rather unique to your average listener. The usage of two vocalists gives a great contrast to the album. The album is set up with almost no breaks, almost every song leads right into the next.

    The album begins with "Fall In Step". This is a great starter. The song begins with heavily palm-muted guitar and the pained vocals of Nipon lead vocalist, Terry. The song is full of tension until the chorus explodes and the back-up vocals from bassist/vocalist, Brad, kicks in. This song is like the rest of the album only in the way it keeps the tension so high. The next song is title track, "The Judgement". It's got an upbeat ska sound, and even features Terry on steel drum. "The Judgement" runs directly into "Candace Valez", which is 8-seconds of hardcore enjoyment with only the title repeated a few times, and this song runs directly into the next track, "Just My Luck". The first "breakdown" part of the album is "Metamorphosis". This is rad cut. It's got a chaotic guitar sound, with a pinball style electonic loop going on. It's nice little break from the tension of the album up to that point.

    The album now takes a more experimental direction. There are still a lot of straight ahead rockers, but there is more thought in the next ten songs. "The Truth" packs a strong punch. Another song that utilizes the duel vocalists to a tee. The album then heads deep into the experimental end with "Swan Lake", this track has some definite classical overtones. It's a nice sound that showcases the musical talents of the band. After that comes "The Wonder", this song has a definite club feel. I know you may be scratching your head now wondering how can a techno-club track make it's way into this album, but it's really not that off track. It does a great job of blending in with the rest of the album. This new release even ventures into the bands past with "Grown Up Life" which is from one of the band's early demos. It's fun, a straight punk song. This soon gives way to the emo sounds of "Alone" which shows Terry can actually sing softer songs. He drifts out a bit during the chorus, but overall he's strong on the entire track. The final track of the album is the greatest final track of an album ever, it's the perfect summary of what you had just heard. The vocals at first are kinda withdrawn and the music is slow, but you can feel the tension building. Then at the climax of the sound, the sound explodes and Brad kicks in with his vocals. The album relaxes once more, but the final cut is soon upon you as the song explodes once more and the tension breaks.

    This is one of the best albums I've ever received. At this point I'd say Nipon is the most promising band out of Detroit at this moment. I urge all who read this to visit their web site, Nipon and buy a copy of this CD. Hopefully it will be released by a larger label soon, but for now it's on drummer Ryan Vandeburghe's Filthy Stinkin' Records label. It's 16 tracks of pure imagination and talent, it's a view into what true musicians can do with complete freedom.

    Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.


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