Review by David Cirone
PassCode’s new release Locus — an “Early Works Reconstruction Album” featuring the group’s early favorites re-recorded with the current member lineup and new music backing tracks — is a perfect primer for jumping into the mosh pit with one of today’s most formidable Japanese alternative idol groups.
Lead track “Toxic” is all things PassCode: digital synths and sharply-processed vocals pitched against deeply-grounded guitar and drums. A non-stop 3-minute onslaught of sound that barely stops for breath, “Toxic” epitomizes the group’s aggressive, all-or-nothing approach to live performance.
“Axis” delivers a fierce “death-voice” vocal from Yuna and “Never Sleep Again” easily wins Most-Amped Metal Track of the album.
The delightful 8-bit intro and dance beat of “Nextage” melds into a heavy metal deep chord throwdown, then bounces back to delightful pop and back again — it’s possibly the ultimate pop-metal mood swing. Maybe, until 2015’s “Club Kids Never Die” with even more 8-bit candy, a wicked guitar bridge, and face-melting screamo makes you question your sanity: “Is this album, just possibly, bad for my mental health?”
Locus eases (just a bit) off the vocal effects to give us glimpses of the members’ true voices in “Gekidou Progressive” and the ballad “Now I Know”, and “Kiss no Hanataba” is probably the closest to Locus gets to standard idol fare.
The final track, the newly-penned “Parallel”, serves as a bridge to PassCode’s current incarnation, cut from the same cloth as 2017’s explosive Zenith. With its strong group chorus and a timed-just-right Yuna screamo-break, “Parallel” positions PassCode as aiming to the future, carrying the pride of their past tightly in hand.
LOCUS “All Songs Trailer”
Locus (Early Works Reconstruction Album)
04. Gekido Progressive
05. Never Sleep Again
06. Now I Know
07. Kiss no hanataba
08. Club Kids Never Die
09. Seize the day!!
10. Parallel (New Song)
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