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Melt-Banana 

With Roue and Pankration. Monday, October 6, at the Grog Shop.

Despite their name, these Tokyo noisesmiths are more about melting frontal lobes than fruit. Who knows what it is about Japanese culture that can provoke a response as extreme as that country's thriving underground noise scene? Perhaps it's the claustrophobia of intense overpopulation, a strong cultural conservatism, or all the artifice that comes with a society of near-constant technological advancement. Whatever it is, it all works to constrain the masses to such an extent that a few of them lash out, and with enough violence to make the corpse-paint of a thousand black-metal bands run from the nervous sweat on their brows.

And sure to make Marduk perspire is Melt-Banana. With pint-sized female vocalist Yasuko shrieking over cochleas-be-damned guitar and a maelstrom of blast beats, Melt-Banana sounds kinda like a school bus driven off a cliff. Still, the band's approach is a bit more structured than the free-for-all noisemongering of its scenemates in the Boredoms and Merzbow. Whereas much of Japanese hardcore comes off as a manic, stream-of-consciousness shit fit as unbounded as it is unlistenable, Melt-Banana grounds its mayhem in songs that are at least halfway discernible, meaning that you can digest this band's catharsis instead of simply being waylaid by it. But be warned: Melt-Banana has two speeds: stop and blitzkrieg. And quite frankly, your heart will quit before this bunch does.

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