Nitro Mega Prayer started releasing stuff back in the early 2000's (the earliest thing I have is from 2002) and went through several phases. I saw them play at Whoopee's in Kyoto while I was studying, and they were in their "emotional metalcore" phase. I wasn't overly impressed by the live show. The music wasn't horrible, but I remember being pretty unimpressed. Later, once I'd returned to the States, I started corresponding with the singer, Nakano, and did a trade or something. Somehow, I got copies of their split with Blue Sky Resemble Sorrow (I'll post that on Friday), and possibly this full length (it was 9 years ago. please forgive my memory). Between the split and this album, their sound changed dramatically. Most of the members stayed the same between the two releases, but their sound became far more emotional and "screamo", I guess. What's true is that they came up with their own style, which is a weird amalgam of screamo, a little metal, and some pop-punk (the last track on this album is a cover of a NOFX song, and it still kind of sounds like NMP).
So, this album. It's definitely a classic of Japanese screamo. Nitro Mega Prayer played a huge part in the Kansai scene. Nakano worked at Kobe Club Blue Port for awhile and organized a lot of shows (including one I played with GMN, Dip Leg, Nitro Mega Prayer, Yarmulke, and Gamy). But let me be honest, this album is fricking hard for me to listen to. And there is one simple reason why: the bass is completely out of tune for the entire album. I'm sorry, but as a musician who has recorded a good amount, being out of tune is ABSOLUTELY unforgivable. If you're going to pay a chunk of money to record your music, you want your listeners to be able to hear it and enjoy it. Unless you want to be out of tune, you shouldn't be. NMP doesn't want to be out of tune, they just are. The bassist plays with a fret-less bass, and that's where all the out of tune-ness comes from. It's such a shame, because every time I listen to this album, the music is really great. They do sooooo many interesting, original things on here that no one has done before. But then there is that annoying bass that just ruins my enjoyment. Why, Japanese-God-Of-Screamo, why?
Still, this is a great album and only sets you up for the absolutely amazing things that NMP does after this. I won't be posting their following EP and split with Balboa, because you can buy them right now online (click where I linked you to). But, basically Nakano scrapped the whole band and replaced everyone. No more out of tune bass, no more drummer who wasn't so bad but had a weird style, no more guitarists who had some pretty neat ideas. Instead, he added a bunch of dudes, and most influentially, Ponchi from Gauge Means Nothing on guitar. He became the mastermind for the following songs and created some of the best Japanese screamo ever with the band.
When I was practicing the songs in preparation for playing with Gauge Means Nothing for their Malaysia tour, Ponchi sent me one or two songs that they were in the process of writing. He had recorded them all himself with just a metronome providing the tempo. I was completely floored by these songs. They were nowhere near completed, but the level of quality in the songwriting was amazing. It was different, and in some ways a lot better, than what GMN had done before and I was so excited to hear the finished product. In the end, we didn't play them on the tour, and Ponchi shortly left the band so they were never made into finished songs. But, Ponchi kept creating songs and once he got into NMP, the world got to see how amazing his songwriting was.
Here's the kind of music video for one of their newer songs:
9. Lori Myers (NOFX cover)