Since forming in Tokyo in 2019 things have moved pretty fast for NEMOPHILA. Three raucous singles caught the attention of the global metal community and landed them a contract with London label JPU Records. As a precursor to the release of their debut album, OIRAN (Extended Edition), the band convened to record this special show which was streamed live on 19th June 2021 in two parts, a partly show on YouTube and the full-length show through Zaiko. This article will highlight the YouTube stream, as in the first part of the show.
Let’s be honest, the current embargo on live gigs has been pretty horrific but it has forced bands to get a bit creative and these “pre-recorded” shows and live streams have provided a few rays of light in an otherwise dark year. It must be strange for a group to perform sans audience but NEMOPHILA arrive like a band of avenging angels and launch straight into the latest single DISSENSION. Those who only know vocalist mayu from her tenure with glam rockers Lipstick might be surprised at her performance here as she effortlessly flits between clean vocals and throat-shredding guttural growls. A singer seemingly born to lead NEMOPHILA, mayu confidently commandeers centre stage with a presence that reminds me a little of Fear Factory’s Burton C Bell.
OIRAN (Extended Edition)* compiles the band’s singles and B-sides in one handy collection and it’s those tracks that make up the bulk of this 25-minute performance. With barely a pause for breath SORAI, with its insanely catchy, sing-along chorus causes all sorts of chaos and is delivered with a blast of sonic fury that makes the silence that follows all the more deafening. The gusto with which SORAI is delivered would normally generate a huge cheer but, of course, with no crowd present the deathlike silence which follows is slightly discombobulating. A live show without an audience is something I can’t quite get my head around and it is missing the real ale induced, good-natured buzz of an excited rock crowd and the two-way energy which both band and audience feed off is something that can’t be replicated.
However, audience or not, NEMOPHILA turn in a good-natured performance and FIGHTER (B-side of DISSENSION) arrives like a prize welterweight. Diminutive drummer Tamu Murata proves herself a beast behind the kit and, with a hard-hitting style, deftly switches rhythms while HARAGUCHI-SAN, with a satisfying bass rumble, stomps around like Gene Simmons, the God Of Thunder. To all intents and purposes, this is in every way a live gig from the epilepsy inducing light show to the chest-thumping sound it’s a full-on, foot-on-the-monitor, horns-held-high metal fest. Second single RAITEI becomes more visceral on stage before OIRAN closes the show and features some fine soloing from HAZUKI, stage right, then SAKI, stage left, before they both let the fire in tandem and bring the set to a frantic conclusion.