Since the mid-‘90s, Japan’s Melt-Banana (MxBx to fans) has purveyed a unique musical niche: experimental grindcore that combines punk, noise-rock, fractured effects and intensely frenzied vocals. Yasuko “Yako” Onuki’s unorthodox singing (shrieks, high-velocity raps, screams) and Ichirou Agata’s overlapping guitars and siren-like effects provide an incomparable impression.
After a six-year studio hiatus, Melt-Banana (formerly a quartet, then a trio, now a duo) has returned with the 12-track, 34-minute sonic fusillade, Fetch, which opens with the spastic “Candy Gun” that commences with a surprisingly passive intro before whip-sawing into laser-etched distortion. Mid-point tune, “My Missing Link,” is jerky and jagged, with a sly melody lurking way down under the drum machine and Agata’s multi-dubbed guitar riffs and lines. In dependable Melt-Banana style, closer “Zero” melds dance-beats commotion with artfully skewed pop smarts, an unadulterated distillation of the band’s balance of anarchy and controlled chaos.