By Paris365 on February 27, 2013No comments
Man With A Mission is a Japanese band who make music that ranges from hard rock to dance pop. The members all use stage names: Tokyo Tanaka (vocals), Jean-Ken Johnny (guitar), Kamikaze Boy (bass), DJ Santa Monica (disc jockey), and Spear Rib (drums). As if some of those names weren't strange enough, the members of the band wear wolf masks when they play concerts or appear in their music videos. Yes, you read that correctly -- they wear WOLF masks. And Wiki has a weird explanation for why they do that. It "involves them being created as the "Ultimate Life Form" by Jimi Hendrix, who is described by the band as being the doctor of the guitar and master wolf biologist." The band released their first mini-album, Welcome To The New World, on November 3, 2010 and they have since become quite popular with singles charting in the Oricon Top 10 and concerts selling out quickly.
The video for "Emotions" involves a child running through a forest with someone apparently chasing her, which proves to be a member of the band, and then all of the members of the band, but eventually the band stop chasing the child when they happen upon their instruments and start playing. (I suppose you could argue that they weren't chasing the child, that they just happened to be walking in the same direction, but the child clearly thinks she's being chased and is fleeing them.) The child peaks at them while they're playing then runs away again and goes to sleep near a tree. The video ends with the band members holding flashlights as they find the child and just stand there, apparently looking at the child, leaving you to wonder what they're going to do with the child. It's pretty creepy considering that, again, they're wearing wolf masks. But this is supposed to be a review of their music, not their video, so I digress.
"Emotions" begins with warm synth while someone speaks. "This is the message for tomorrow, it's the beginning of our new days, hope is all in ourselves..." He says a bit more than that, but at that point the synth is so loud you can't decipher it. This leads to the band singing the chorus -- they harmonize beautifully -- which is in English. The first half goes, "Without the light in dark, but I feel the deepest emotions, throughout the fight with mind, I don't care about the lapse." As the song progresses, about two thirds of it are in English but there are some parts in Japanese. Ultimately, I believe it's about using your inner self to conquer any obstacles. In any case, the lyrics do seem positive and the music is very upbeat, turbo-charged, melodious hard rock with lots of synth in the background (and some occasional scratching -- they have a DJ, remember). If not for the normal rock vocals, I'd be inclined to compare their music to symphonic metal bands like Within Temptation and Edenbridge.
"Take What U Want" begins with some furious drumming and a bit of scratching. Guitars, bass and vocals soon enter the mix. While "Emotions" had a nice, clear and consistent, melodic vocal, there are many different vocal styles used in this song, some of them being obnoxious -- think Limp Bizkit -- while others are just plain silly. At times it feels like the whole song falls apart and then turns into a different song. I've listened to it several times and it's just left me feeling more confused with each listen. The only thing that truly stands out in my mind is the vocal "take what u want" and the song kind of leaves you feeling like those words were shoved down your throat.
The following B-side, "アカツキ" (Google: "Akatsuki"), features an enticing electro beat, melancholic piano, warm acoustic guitars and soothing synth. And vocals, of course, which are beautiful and perfectly melodic here. I would consider this a mid-tempo ballad and it's really quite lovely. "Take What U Want" was horrible and had me thinking I wouldn't like anything else from this band, but this song is truly amazing, just gorgeous. I would have made this the A-side.
The single's final track is a remix of a song called "Bubble Of Life." I'm assuming that the remixing was done by the band themselves since nobody is credited for it. Regardless, it's begins as a rather interesting remix. It has some nice, punchy beats, occasional outbursts of guitar and seemingly looped vocals that go on and on about the "bubble of life." Around the middle of the track it shifts into a hip-hop part, which is actually not bad, then it reverts back to mostly consisting of various beats and guitars. I can't compare it to the original version of the song, having never heard it before, but I would say it's a solid remix. Not something you'd play in a club, as it doesn't always have banging beats, but I'm sure fans will appreciate it as an alternate version of the original song. -Michael McCarthy