HomeMusicMUSIC REVIEW | Electric Eel Shock Earns "Black Belt" in the Art of Metal

MUSIC REVIEW | Electric Eel Shock Earns "Black Belt" in the Art of Metal

MUSIC REVIEW | Electric Eel Shock Earns "Black Belt" in the Art of Metal

In the years since their mothers declared they could beat Nirvana, Electric Eel Shock have accomplished a lot. Acclaimed records, nods from Bruce Dickinson & Mastodon, legendary shows at Roskilde and Bonnaroo, and countless tours all across the world have cemented as one of the world’s wildest and best live acts. With 2024 being their 30th anniversary, it’s clear that Aki, Kazuto, and Gian have to show the world what they’ve learned from all that experience. Enter Heavy Metal Black Belt, album number 9, with thirteen tracks that deliver fast licks, tongue-in-cheek lyrics, and delightfully sneerful vibes.

Opener “Scum Vader” flies in like a Boeing on fire, with Aki hiding in plain sight as he claims that he “looks like you”, with full intention to declare war with slick guitars and a roaring bass. “Up and Down” celebrates social drinking, with all of the fun and none of the regretful hangover afterwards. AC/DC is worn on the band’s sleeves during “Giri Giri Boys”, with its mixture of blues rock and mean speed metal. Meanwhile, “Super Strike” takes on a form similar to early Scorpions, with Aki somewhat namedropping them as Kazuto’s bass rings loudly in the back.

Of course, heavy metal is meant to be more than just loud; it’s also lots of fun. “Metalheads Just Want to Have Fun - High School wa Metalteria” is an interesting twist on a certain Cyndi Lauper hit, but only in small bits. Instead, it’s speed metal with a good dose of silliness. “Nice Guy of the Year” is a sequel to that BEAT ME signature track “Bastard”, with lyrics changed to show why the band’s so good-natured. But in true Electric Eel Shock fashion, the facade falls apart in the end to show that they’re still bastards, and proud of it!

It’s when Heavy Metal Black Belt takes some unexpected left turns where the highlights are shown. “Lost in Sweden” starts off slowly before diving into the band’s trademark sound. However, it’s in the first part when the hearts of the trio are on full display. “Mama Gotta Hurry”, is Van Halen-era dirty rock in sound, but its lyrics come off slightly somber. On the other hand, “Quit Your Day Job” has the band giving the proper advice to those who aim for rock & roll greatness, only to sneak in the fact that — sometimes — it’s best to have a backup in case those dreams turn into dust.

“Gata Gata Guillotine” brings the fun back, with the kind of melody you’d blare at full volume with the convertible top down and headbanging all the way through. Album closer “So Much 80s” is Electric Eel Shock saluting the era that made them the band they are today. Long hair, sexy riffs, and dressing like a queen while acting like a king are given their dues in the proper fashion. It’s here when Gian lets loose his Double Peace style, slamming drum heads and crashing cymbals with maniacal glee.

Would I trust Electric Eel Shock with the craft of karate? Probably not. But when it comes to metal, they’ve proven their mastery over and over again. Heavy Metal Black Belt is an album worthy of the band’s 30th anniversary, showcasing why they’re still the unsung heroes of Japanese metal. Forget the AARP card; give Electric Eel Shock their Goddamn flowers!


Heavy Metal Black Belt arrives in stores March 21. Check out a preview below via their Bandcamp!

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)