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CD Review: FAKE ISLAND – Cell Division

Formed in early 2017 FAKE ISLAND have been carving out a unique niche for themselves in the world of metalcore. Armed with two female vocalists and an incendiary sound their debut album Cell Division is the ultimate distillation of metal and hardcore that leaves the listener sandblasted in the wake of its sonic fury.

Musically I’d align FAKE ISLAND with Japanese compatriots Crossfaith, but in opposition to Crossfaith’s dealings with a dystopian future FAKE ISLAND explore the falsity of modern media which gives their take on metalcore a distinctly street level, gritty feel. With an eerie intro that brings to mind Fear Factory, the opening cut All At Once soon shapeshifts into a ferocious slab of metal. With an insane number of beats per minute, FAKE ISLAND attack from all angles; the rhythm section of drummer Reiji and bassist Igarashi combine to manically switch rhythms while guitarist Matsumoto unleashes riffs with machine-gun rapidity and the effect is a monolithic sonic structure that towers over the listener.

Introducing some brittle electronics Fortune was Cell Division’s lead single and it perfectly encapsulates the band’s tension of opposites as darkwave electronica nestles next to crushing brutality while, in a moment of existentialism, the disco flavoured midsection only serves to highlight the meaty metal that sandwiches it. However, it’s the two vocalists which raise FAKE ISLAND above the herd. Erica delivers a guttural growl as YuuriBjoux sings clean and this creates an interesting juxtaposition with each highlighting the other. Whether singing in tandem or providing counterpoints (like on Who The Hell Made This?) the effect is always arresting.

Just Wanna Live comes out swinging as the drums fire with perfect precision and, making good use of the loud/quiet dynamic, it sets off a series of detonations that echo throughout the song. Hang Onto My Dream features plenty of clean vocals from YuuriBjoux which raise the song upwards while Erica’s deathlike growl seems to emanate from the very depths of hell. Like Slipknot at their most disturbing Throw Down exists in a musical maze of an intricate design before No Truth races along like a runaway train obliterating all in its path. The groove-laden My Tranquilizer proceeds epic closer No Solution, a song that pulls all the disparate strands of Cell Division into a cohesive whole and ensures the album ends on an ominous tone.

Since the recording of Cell Division, FAKE ISLAND have parted ways with drummer Reiji and I hope it doesn’t hinder the band’s momentum because it’s an album that finds the band on an upward trajectory. At barely 26 minutes some may lament the brevity of this album but with music this brutal it’s ample time and it certainly leaves you hungry for more.

Tracklist Cell Division:

1. All At Once
2. Fortune
3. Who The Hell Made This?
4. Just Wanna Live
5. Hang Onto My Dream
6. Throw Down
7. No Trust
8. My Tranquilizer
9. No Solution

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