Showtaro Morikubo “Phantom Pain” (Review)

Credits: Lantis

Showtaro Morikubo‘s new single “PHANTOM PAIN” is already out. With a new look and a slightly heavier sound, Showtaro tries to go back to his roots, putting the electronica elements from “FOCUS” aside.

Let’s kick off this review.

Credit: Lantis
Credit: Lantis
Label: Lantis
Release date: 07/10/15
Genre: J-Rock


3.It’s me

Track by track analysis:


In what is one of the most aggressive title tracks Showtaro has released in these past few years, PHANTOM PAIN is a breath of fresh air in the middle of that alternative rock vibe exuded from the previous single “FOCUS“. Aggressive guitar riffs, powerful but slightly monotonous drums and a robust bass lead the way in a track that brings us back to the good old “Crazy Night” days. Although the instrumental piece doesn’t add anything new to his repertoire (but is a good headbanger), it was good to know that he’s revisiting his core rock sound from his debut days. The fierce vocals added the extra bits needed for this song to sound solid. 4.5/5


Instrumentaly SHAKE!! is an incredible song – an uptempo track with heavy guitar riffs with some ocasional dirty riffs, funky drums in the verses and an explosive bass. All this ingredients make for a perfect headbanger without any exaggerations or excessive aggressiveness. Lyricaly this song seriously lacks from start to finish – but does even more damage with the over repetitive chorus. Vocally Showtaro does his best to keep up with the rough aura coming from the instrumental piece but that doesn’t make for the serious lack of content in the lyrics. 3.5/5

3.It’s me

Making a statement, Showtaro lays the final pieces in this single with the industrial tune “It’s me“. Its eerie feel layed out by the dirty synths, special effects and strings in the begining set the pace and the mood in which we’ll keep on going with until the end. Increasingly dark, violent and creepier – all in the right amounts courtesy of the rough guitar riffs, strong drums and dirty synths – this track really shows us how a mix between Showtaro‘s trademark hardrock can blend so well with industrial elements, making an altogether powerful and entertaining mix. Vocally there was a whole lot of vocal manipulation but it fit the overall feel of the track. “It’s me” is the highlight of this single. 4.5/5

Final rating:4 stars

Our expectations for this single weren’t especially high to begin with. The previous single – “FOCUS” – although interesting due to the whole new elements presented, failed to capture perfectly Showtaro‘s rock essence while making his sound more “approachable” for new fans.

In what would have been the perfect way to redeem that single, PHANTOM PAIN turned out to be a train wreck. With a powerful title track but with a lacking instrumental, Showtaro made way for SHAKE!!, a track that had a complete and rich instrumental but seriously lacked lyrically, only to finish with the slightly eerie industrial hardrock tune “It’s me“, probably the only track that didn’t manage to fail in both the instrumental or the lyrics departments.

If this is a valuable release or not that is subjective. On our view of things it’s safe to say that if you’re looking for a good headbanging single – really from start to finish -, then this is your best choice. There’s never a dull moment thoroughout the whole single. Also Showtaro revisited his debut sound so if you miss those days this is also a great pick.

But if you’re looking for a single with rich content – both lyrics and instrumentals wise – this is a very unbalanced release, sounding slightly worse than “FOCUS“.

With that being said this was an interesting, up-tempo release but we’re still waiting for a single able to surpass the greatness of “CHAIN REACTION“.

PHANTOM PAIN is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

Vanessa Silva
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Also, the only person managing everything The Hand That Feeds HQ related. In 2011, I stumbled upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus". Since then I have been writing about male seiyuu music. You may find me writing almost essays whenever music is really good (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). I also host the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).





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