ALBUM REVIEW: coldrain – Nonnegative


 

Fifteen years, and now seven albums into a successful career that has seen them move into both chart success status in their native Japan and mainstream culture by providing the opening theme for Netflix original anime series Bastard, Nagoya five-piece metalcore outfit coldrain are back following the longest gap between releases, with new offering Nonnegative (Warner Japan).

From the off, the intention is clear – engaging high-energy metalcore, snarled verses and arena-sized choruses, powered by Katsuma’s driving force from behind the kit. ‘Help Me Help You’ brings it all, including an electro and guitar solo led slowdown before returning back to the chorus and a “Woah-oh-oh-oh” refrain to take us home. And it is a momentum that is maintained as each track that follows buys into the approach, each identifiable as coldrain, and each exceptionally well-produced and with the requisite hooks and stylish composition that you would expect of a band of their status and quality.

While switching it up or exploring too much outside of the established mould (while ‘Cut Me’ may be chunkier and heavier with some alternative percussion and a nu-metal twisted heartbeat, it soon opens up into a trademark melodic monster when we get to the chorus) isn’t the raison d’être of Nonnegative, delivering the goods for their rabid fanbase certainly is, and fifteen years in (as Masato is happy to remind us all in the epic and rousing ‘Calling’) they have perfected the art. Effortlessly shining in all the areas you’d expect, they blast through six tracks, each of which could easily have been singles to rival the powerful ‘Paradise (Kill The Silence)’, before the ‘Boys And Girls’ is a saccharine deviation in the vein of Linkin Park’s ‘Shadow Of The Day’. Normal service is resumed with the aforementioned ‘Paradise’, before a coldrain take on No Doubt’s ‘Don’t Speak’, delivering a faithful, if uninspired version. ‘From Today’ closes things out, a melodic, rocking tour-de-force back in the comfort zone.

 

Such is the seeming ease that coldrain belt out another series of strong melodic metalcore songs that perhaps their quality is taken for granted, and it really shouldn’t be, as this is another selection of crowd-pleasing missives that marry an infectious sense of power and melody to the staple riffs, licks, solos swirls and drive.

 

Buy the album here: https://coldrain.jp

 

7 / 10

STEVE TOVEY