For the second Retrospective Sound article, we’re looking at this seminal Japanese import from 2001.
Ah, The Mad Capsule Markets – the descriptor is in the name. They are mad in a wonderful, wonderful way. An eclectic mix of punk rock, metal and techno, the band formed in Japan in 1990 but made their way to western shores in 2001 with a re-issue of their 199 album Osc-Dis.
This import can be attributed to the hugely popular single, Pulse, which featured in the video game Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3 and had a bonkers 3D animated video which received a healthy rotation on MTV (back when MTV actually played music)
Their mash of genres and mix of both English and Japanese lyrics was probably too far out for many listeners, but their similarity to the burgeoning western “Nu-Metal” genre allowed them to carve a niche in the alternative crowd and Osc-Dis showcases that perfectly.
Starter track Tribe sets the with a hypnotic, sweeping snythasizer giving way to toe tappingly crunchy guitar and drums, providing a perfect blend of dancefloor and moshpit anthems. This is the motif carried through much of the album with tracks like Multiples and Jag adding in stabbing staccato guitars and vocals.
Mixing things up, tracks like Pulse and Good Girl give a pop-punk flavour to the proceedings while All The Time In Sunny Beach and Island have a distinct surf rock style with hardcore punk leanings.
Restart! shows some of the bands more techno leanings blending metal with glow stick waving beats, while Step Into Yourself is a slower, more atmospheric effort – a comedown track. The album ends with Midi Surf, a combination of wet synth loops, crunching metal riffs and a roof raising chorus which ends things on a high.
It’s a shame that The Mad Capsule Markets are on an indefinite hiatus as their creativity and ability to expertly blend genres is something that few bands seem to be able to do. Fans of modern contemporaries such as Enter Shikari would do well to track down Osc-Dis and its follow up 010 for a look at this bands phenomenal and no doubt influential sound.