Mainliner: Dual Myths / #2021reviews
Mainliner was originally formed in 1995 by Asahito Nanjo (of High Rise) on bass and vocals and Makoto Kawabata (of Acid Mothers Temple) on guitars and a few years, a few releases and two other drummers later Koji Shimura (who formerly played in White Heaven and is also in AMT nowadays) joined them, forming the lineup that stayed together until their final album, 2001’s Imaginative Plain. Playing an extremely chaotic and noisy sort of psychedelic noise rock, they became a legend on their own right, so when Kawabata and Shimura decided to reform the band in 2013 with Bo Ningen‘s vocalist / bassist Taigen Kawabe people had very high expectations. However the new album, Revelation Space was a bit of a let down. It was not a bad one at all, it just did not have the destructive qualities and power of their old releases and played more like a still good, but definitely lesser imitation of those.
They remained active on and off since then, playing shows, releasing some live material and a split 7″, but I skipped those and when I heard that they will release a new album this year, honestly I was not that excited either. However, I turned out to be absolutely wrong to sort of write them off and Dual Myths turned out to be a mindblowing album. The opener, Blasphemy Hunter starts out more like a Bo Ningen track, with Kawabe’s trademark vocals, but then the rhythm section kicks in all its heavy psychedelic glory and keeps swirling around us for a good 20 minutes. The basic rhythm stays the same and the whole track is basically built up around a single riff (but oh my, what a riff it is!), but it changes all the time with different instruments taking center stage. It’s an absolute masterpiece that alone could make this an Album Of The Year nominee, but it just goes on and offers three other tracks (similar in both style and length) of equal quality, including the somewhat more quiet and restrained Hibernator’s Dream.
On Revelation Space things just did not really work out yet and looking back at it, it feels more like a rehearsal tape with the three musicians still trying to figure out how to work together. But since then they managed to fit Kawabe into the picture and integrate his typical singing style into the band’s sound, delivering an extremely solid release that lives up to the Mainliner name. I am still not sure though if it was the right move to revive that band instead of starting a new one, as despite the mostly similar style, the new incarnation is also clearly different. While it is still the more-or-less same sort of noisy psychedelia, the extremely lo-fi and chaotic garage feel of the old albums is considerably toned down and the whole sound is taken to a slightly different direction, in part, but not only thanks to the new singer. But that’s just me being picky about details as all this aside, Dual Myths is easily amongst the best albums I’ve heard this year.
2021.02.19 / cd, 2xlp, digital
A year in reviews: in 2021 I was somewhat neglecting the site due to the lack of free time, but now I try to make up for it as much as possible, reviewing several important / good / interesting albums that were released this year. One for each day throughout December, from a very wide spectrum of genres. #2021reviews