Matenro’s “Matenro -Onin Rinshou-“ is, hands down the best Hypnosis Mic release so far. This is the darkest and most introspective release part of the Hypnosis Mic project.
“Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle-“, is a rap battle project that counts with a total of 12 seiyuu split into 4 crews. This isn’t the typical idol rap project – hence it’s helmed by a real rap/hip-hop label – EVIL LINE RECORDS. For more information about this project please refer to this article.
Matenro (Shinjuku division) consists of Show Hayami, Ryuichi Kijima and Kento Ito.
Title: 麻天狼-音韻臨床- (Matenro- Onnin rinshou) Label: EVIL LINE RECORDS (King Records) Release date: 06/12/2017 Genre: Rap/Hip-Hop
1. 迷宮壁 (performed by Show Hayami) 2. シャンパン ゴールド (performed by Ryuichi Kijima) 3. チグリジア (performed by Kento Ito) 4. シンジュク・ディビジョン 麻天狼 Drama Track1 5. シンジュク・ディビジョン 麻天狼 Drama Track2 6. 迷宮壁（off vocal ver.） 7. シャンパン ゴールド（off vocal ver.） 8. チグリジア（off vocal ver.）
Track by track analysis:
Dramatic, dark with an underlying depressive tone, 迷宮壁 questions life through a powerful, strings imbued sound. The intro sets a dramatic and dark tone with an underlying depressive vibe through the rich instrumentalization including timpani, a slow paced, eerie pipe organ melody, choir parts, strings, simple beat and mesmerizing bassline. The urgency and tension in the instrumental is heightened as soon as the strings and bass are brought into the mix.
The build up to the chorus had us on the edge of our seats. This is no common rap song, this is a dramatic one with an orchestral touch and all around dark vibe. Show Hayami raps this song on a slower, almost talked rap fashion that, mixed with the dramatic instrumental and his trademark low tone, causes astounding impact on the listener.
When it’s time for those dramatic narration parts, you can’t help but to feel that this song and performance are grandiose but at the same time insanely intimidating and intense. Even after listening to the song, you’ll feel like its vibe lingers, that darkness and urgency stays with you.
This is a terrific performance that brought the best of both worlds, narration and rap, to the table, all performed by what is one of the best voices in the seiyuu industry.
To wash away that dark vibe from the previous track, we’re presented its antithesis, “Champagne Gold”, a typical host club type song that makes you forget about questioning life and instead live in the moment. This instrumental brings everything a club song needs, exciting synths, funky basslines, washy drums samples and a fun, addictive chorus. The outro will work out incredibly well on a live setting as it is asking for others’ chants to match Kijima’s.
Kijima’s performance had a little bit of everything: rap, singing, auto-tuned parts, narration. Everything fit like a glove into this song. His rap flow made the song even groovier than it initially was. His singing skills are surprisingly good, making the transition from rap to singing, seamless. No one would think this kind of song would work out on a rap release, but the reality is, it does work extremely well. Top marks.
A city soundscape introduces us to this melancholic rap song. Close your eyes because you’ll be experiencing a piece of Shinjuku with this song. A simplistic and melancholic, dark piano melody leads the way later being joined by a classy saxophone melody, melodic guitar riffs, live bassy drums and a thunderous bassline, the latter being a major force throughout the song.
The instrumental is, alone the best on this release. Rich, varied and sticking well to one mood, this instrumental is a highlight.
On the vocal end: Kento Ito showcases a completely different flow. There’s little to no off-beat rap as he tries to match his rap to the beat, he also flows well between faster sections on his rap, when it’s time to freely sing, Ito’s smooth vocals make the whole melancholic vibe even more noticeable.
In my opinion, better than his rap, his singing sections in the chorus were impressive and much more ear catching.
Matenro bring one theme to the table with this release: life. Some question it, others live it like there’s no tomorrow, but one thing is certain, life is the fuel to the busy, dark and party imbued Shinjuku. Fast paced, city life with no care for others, finding something you love in the middle of it, questioning choices in life, this release touches a little bit on each theme and more.
Packed with dark and dirty instrumentals, that prime on their slow pace and aggressive basslines, this release is one that demands respect as well as one that will make you question yourself.
From song to song we felt like we were experiencing shock treatment. 迷宮壁 left a lingering depressive vibe in the air that was hard to wash away. After listening to the song, you can’t help but to feel conflicted. The song doesn’t sound good nor does it sound bad, as a matter of fact, you won’t even know what you just listened to.
The song is deep, not only on its lyrics but also its instrumentalization, everything about it was jet black. There’s no hope and no light. We can’t think of anyone else that could perform such a song in the way Show Hayami did. His deep vocals intimidate as the same time that they put you at ease. It’s a strange feeling. Slow, almost spoken rap fit well with not only the song, but Hayami‘s tone as well.
The shock treatment came when the following song was so bright, so “live in the moment” that it blinded us. “Champagne Gold” approaches life in a completely different perspective.
Enjoying the moment, not being tied up to anyone or anything, being loved by everyone, enjoying the spotlight, those are the feelings you get from this song. Some people would argue that a song like this – mixing rap with dance and pop – doesn’t have a place on a rap release. We though so when we heard the previews. After such a dark song, “Champagne Gold” seemed and sounded out of place, ridiculous. But that was on the preview video.
The reality is, if you listen to this release from start to finish, no pauses between songs, you’ll notice that not only this song fits well on this release – the mood is the same but interpreted in a different way-, but it was also something that the listener was in dire need of after such an intense performance. Kijima did it all on the vocal department. His flow was the grooviest on this release and his singing wasn’t bad either.
To complete this release and shock us once again is an introspective song that sheds light over the overall theme once again. Life. Relying initially on two different piano melodies, one dark and the other melodic and with some hints of brightness, チグリジア’s instrumental is by far the best on this release.
Instead of relying only on drums samples, this instrumental has live, bassy drums, an excellent addition to the song. That introspective vibe we’ve mentioned is materialized by the saxophone melodies in the chorus and hi-hat driven drums. Kento Ito showed consistency on both ends of his performance – rapping and singing. His rap flow is among the most interesting and addictive part of the Hypnosis Mic project and his singing skills won us over in an instant.
As a whole, and without writing an essay about how impressive this release is, Matenro’s “Matenrou -Onin Rinshou-“ is, hands down the best Hypnosis Mic release so far.
The way they stick to and handled the release’s main concept was ingenious. Through various songs the listener experienced different, opposing points of view that, on its core share the same feelings about the main theme. An interesting and cleaver way to present one of the busiest and fast lived districts in Tokyo, Shinjuku.
Matenro- Onnin rinshou is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.