Broken By The Scream (also known as BBTS) are an alternative Idol group formed in 2016, the current line-up consists of Io Nodukidaira (野月平イオ), Tsubaki Nanaougi (七々扇ツバキ), Ayame Yabusame (流鏑馬アヤメ) and Kagura Uriin (雲林院カグラ). The concept of the group is to mix screaming vocals with J-Pop vocals, with a further clash in the instrumental parts that works to match both styles of vocals. They have been making a name for themselves not only in Japan, but internationally as they have appeared at events in the US, Korea & etc, and this year saw the release of their third album which is their first major label release on Tokuma Japan Communications, RISE into CHAOS.
From left to right: IO, AYAME, KAGURA, and TSUBAKI
As you can imagine from the description of screaming with pop vocals, the songs are chaotic, in a good way. Taking BABYMETAL a step into the heavier side of metal, bringing it more in line with other alternative idols such as GARUDA and NECRONOMIDOL Although a more true comparison would be to Hysteric Panic and Backdrop Cinderella as the genre-hopping in the tracks is more in line with their music (despite the lack of idol). There is a bit of an undersell, as it is more than just death metal and J-Pop being merged, there are elements of nu-metal, pop-rock, disco, and even jazz to add some variety. Nonetheless, the production is solid to maximise all the different sounds to give them emphasis and to sonically create a cohesive package that complements when it wants and clashes when it wants.
The vocals themselves have variety in the screams as one vocalist is higher pitched and the other is deeper, where in contrast the more pop style vocals are similar but it works to create a strength to balance out the screaming vocals. Throughout the album there is a solid performance by the vocalists, particularly for the first couple of tracks the pop vocals feel they have no chance to shine, on the more pop driven tracks such as Ano Natsu no Shinkirou where they are more forefront. There is enough different styles of track to showcase all their vocal talents and bring them together in both supporting and contrasting performances.
Admittedly there is sometimes a bit too much variation, some songs drag a bit as each verse can be completely different styles and it feels like a completely different track. Where I enjoyed the bouncing around, sometimes it wasn’t refined enough and it felt like a couple of tracks had 3 different bridge sections. This is further not helped as most songs have a quite weak end, not really built into but just seem to drop off. That being said, the last track, Bokura no Mirai is a real powerful end as a predominately gospel track, something I was not expecting.
Still on the flipside, it does mean each track is quite distinctive and Broken By The Scream don’t fall into a predictive formula, early on it can feel like it will be a pattern of metal verses and pop choruses but then tracks like Gyakuten no Kanewa Naru flip that trope. The experimentation is a true gift, just needs to be honed a little more to help the tracks maintain the consistency.
If you like your music on the chaotic side, or something a bit different this is for you. In all honesty it isn’t for everyone, but it does mash metalcore and J-Pop well, with a couple of other genres to mix it up. Where there is a bit too much variety in individual tracks, it is not an album you will get bored of any time soon.
You can listen to RiSE into CHAOS on Apple Music, Spotify, and other streaming platforms. But you can also get a physical CD at JPU Records (affiliate link)! The album via JPU Records includes an exclusive bonus booklet with English lyric translations and Romaji transliterations.
Tracklist RISE into CHAOS:
1. 感情クロスカウンター (Kanjo Cross Counter)
2. TOKYO RIDE
3. I tai no…
4. セツナフープ (RiC mix)
5. ココロ、晴レ晴レ (Kokoro Hare Bare)
6. パノラマ (Panorama)
7. メラメラセニョリータ (Mera Mera Senorita)
8. あの夏の蜃気楼 (Ano Natsu no Shinkirou)
9. キラキラスプラッシュ!! (Kira Kira Splash!!)
10. Hang in there
11. 逆転の鐘は鳴る (Gyakuten no kane wa naru)
12. ボクらの未来 (Bokura no Mirai)