Formed in 2008, Another Story is an energetic rock unit made up of five members- KeiGo (vocals), hero and yusuke (guitars), K-MASA (bass), and aki (drums). Having truly taken off in 2011, the project took its members overseas and into a whirlwind of releases, recently culminating in their first full album, Truth or Dare, hitting the shelves on May 21st. Their monochrome image and the dark PV for leading track ‘Happy Deathday’ caught my attention, and on hearing the album I was assured that this band wasn’t all about the look- fantastic instrumentation meets a vocal constantly switching between hope and anger.
The band is defined on the official website as a ‘hybrid rock band’, both ‘Loud’ and ‘Screamo’, and they deliver exactly that, often bringing in death metal and metalcore influences, although KeiGo’s vocal is a softening touch in the choruses, and tracks such as ‘From me to you’ show off a more sentimental side to the otherwise aggressive lineup. ‘Happy Deathday’, as the opening track, is typical of such aggressive and metal-influenced genres (see also ‘The greatest plan’), with moments of dramatic quiet erupting into shrieking voices and powerful drumming- the latter proving to be a key element of Another Story’s sound.
As far as the use of English goes, KeiGo’s is relatively clear, and the band is undoubtedly aiming to attract a wide English-speaking audience, what with their choice of genre, look, and language. Another Story is ‘hybrid’ in more than just their stylistic choices- they fuse Japanese and Western sounds too.
A particularly catchy riff opens ‘One of those days’, and the track continues to hold the listener with addictive rhythms and a great contrast between melodic verses and the fierce instrumentals in the middle- ‘One of those days’ is one of those tracks to remember from Truth or Dare (and indeed to play loudly and repeatedly for some time after your first listen). Also up at the top of the tracklist is ‘Masquerade’, which opens with a kitsch, creepy music box effect, but surprises in its complexity, with a beautiful vocal, bass solo, constant jumps from section to section, and some very moving moments (for fans of the tug at the heartstrings, the aforementioned ‘From me to you’ is the winner, however- try not to tear up at that breakdown!).
Worried about the lack of guitar solos so far? ‘Neverland’ is sure to show listeners that hero and yusuke are as influential to the band’s sound as aki’s epic drumming, and ‘City of Angels’ also features some close melodic interaction between the guitars and vocal.
However, for me both the metal-influence and technical skill of the instrumentalist’s peaks with the eighth track, ‘Beautiful world’. Volcanic energy is met with instants of calm when softer guitar joins with KeiGo’s more tuneful vocals, but all in all this track is a pounding assault on the eardrums that hits hard with emotion too.
The album wraps up with some gentler offerings, with ‘Closer’ featuring a smooth guitar accompaniment and pleasantly predictable builds and heartfelt choruses- although watch out for that final solo, which pushes the boundaries a little. And after such a loud, full-frontal album, ‘Storyteller[Piano ver.]’ is something of a shock. A recreation of the earlier track of the same name, which appeared on their debut EP in 2013, this version is closely focused on one of KeiGo’s best vocals in terms of control and feeling. Bittersweet lyrics and a charming and occasionally experimental piano accompaniment ensure that ‘Storyteller’ isn’t lost among the preceding noise.
There are some big competitors in the genre Another Story have chosen to pursue, and so early in their career, it’s hard to see where they might go, but undoubtedly they will continue to travel overseas and advertise themselves to a global audience, and with such a consistent and attention-grabbing first album, the band is surely set to accelerate all the more.
Words by Lauren du Plessis