Song Introduction: Tokyo Sapiens - Actor

 The heyday of cruise liner sized riffs is debatably long gone. The Grunge legends of the 90s are far out of view and their juniors are largely pop and reverb addicts. The Iommi-an Doom metallers and Desert rockers can do almost nothing but repeat themselves or find new paths far from where they came. The Indie contemporaries of the late 80s have disappeared, survived by 4 chord wonders who are more interested in a single cute catchy chorus rather than an intricately woven barn-stormer. Even the Nu-Metallers are almost completely extinct. Yet there are some mad scientists who stay the course and continue to bring forward monstrous apparitions, like for example our own Tokyo Sapiens on the track, 'Actor'.

On ‘Actor’, the band wears its influences on its sleeve as it flares into life with a chunky bass riff that sounds like a metal baseball bat violently driving out an epic homer. Hidenori’s bass is hulking and massive but refined enough that Geddy Lee himself would be proud. Then boom, vocalist Masahiko’s guttural growl snaps the song to attention and guitarist Ham’s broken glass guitar riff shatters into the air.

The song is completely schizophrenic in nature as it proceeds at one moment with a kind of languid groove and then without warning charges with full punk ferocity. Moments later, it dives into a solo straight from the Thin Lizzy dual guitar playbook which then slithers into moments of almost Hawkwind-like hazy psychedelia. This might sound like a confusing and unnecessarily complex blend of approaches, but these four men make the cacophony feel completely natural.

‘Actor’ feels much like the early efforts of Grunge bands such as Soundgarden, King’s X, or even Melvins, bands that have an obvious affinity for heavy riffs but are not at all afraid of dropping out into completely different or unrelated territory. Tokyo Sapiens are a band with terrific range and unassailable talent, the aforementioned cruise liner sized riffs are only a corner of their potential. The only bad thing I have to say is that they have yet to release an album or even an EP and if there’s any justice in the world such a release is only around the corner.

Catch them at their next gig May 29th with The Shamisenists and BO-PEEP.

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