Ichi Ten Dai by Djizoes (Switzerland)


Songs on the CD:

  • 1. The Second Coming
  • 2. I Could Be Your Lawyer
  • 3. A Song for Them
  • 4. Culbutos
  • 5. The Machine
  • 6. Billy the Winner
  • 7. Pocket Kings
  • 8. The Cat Island War Dogs Reception and Training Resort
  • 9. The World is Undersized
  • 10. Ichi Ten Dai
  • 11. [Hidden Track]

I’ll start off with the only one thing that I could conceivably see as wrong with this album – the two songs that stretched well above 5 minutes seemed to run out of steam, and were a shade too long for their own good. Both Culbutos and The World is Undersized build up quite well till a minute or two before the end, and by going on for too long, somewhat undo the good work done by the rest of the song. I find that with Djizoes, the shorter they keep the songs, the better they are expressed. Otherwise, they risk moving into that narcissistic turf of pointless metal noodling that is more masturbatory than anything else. They’re not Television, after all.

But that’s it, and it is feeble criticism indeed; that’s because Ichi Ten Dai is just too bloody awesome for words. Listening to the album is like a lesson in the art of metal – despite having the primitiveness that a genre as hard-hitting as metal must possess, theirs is a highly nuanced brand of the same. Playing the guitar within the bounds of many of the various types and subgenres of metal, even while bridging them, is a tough feat, made to sound easy on the album. The drums are phenomenal throughout, the bass thuds along at warp speed, the vocals are damn solid, and the arrangements are uniformly excellent. Now, despite staying within the metal song-structure boundaries, they’re not constricted by it, and are effortlessly un-formulaic. While they’re not fond of being called punk and hardcore [didn’t know this? Wise up on Djizoes here], the drums, bass and tempo borrow appropriately from them.

The album begins with The Second Coming screamed in effete voice, full of profanity and cheers and applause, but soon collides into the solid I Could Be your Lawyer. The song goes straight for the jugular, and instantly you know you’re dealing with very talented, and canny, musicians. The song is surprisingly anthemic especially for one with the word lawyer in its title (hehe). “This is a song for all you losers” opens the petulant A Song for Them, instantly setting up the tremendous attitude of the song. The vocals are mildly Zombie-esque at times, and clear and firm at others, but constantly with a compelling sort of angry desperation. Each song has menacing shredding that can only be described as simply awesome, taking cues from Metallica and Sepultura in particular. They prove that they haven’t lost their earlier overtones of the Seattle sound (especially the Soundgarden – Alice in Chains side), especially so in Culbutos and The Machine (which has a very sing-able chorus). Pocket Kings is more dark and brooding, and texturally completely different, and sung as if with Mark Lanegan’s technique.

Suddenly, they shock you with the acoustic guitar of Ichi Ten Dai, a pensive little ditty that doesn’t lose its heaviness along with the electricity of the guitars. It undercuts the coarseness of album’s title really cleverly (it’s coarse, believe me – keep saying the title out loud, quickly and repeatedly if you haven’t got it yet). I choose to interpret this as a satire of the indulgent, self-important songs made by people who take themselves too seriously, and you’ll be humming this song under your breath the next time you meet someone you hate. Just when you think its over, comes the final shock of this cheesy, synthesiser tune and beats, which moves into a thudding, jumping metal song, in a slightly more Noughties style than the rest of the album.

But to hell with all my piddling nitpicking – the best thing to be said about the album is that it’ll make even the most jaded metalhead want to headbang their neck off, it’s really that enjoyable, and it even has a sense of humour in it…This album must be heard!!

— Shashwati Kala

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