Heads Up: It’s Actually A Surprisingly Pretty Guy

Okay, so just to confirm, it’s not a girl. But seeing that guy I get this urge I’ve never felt before. At least not for a guy. I just really, really need to ask him what shampoo he uses. I mean, look at that condition. And the shine. I’m pretty certain they submerged him in olive oil between takes. But moving beyond his hair, Acid Black Cherry continue hard rock and heavy metal’s fine tradition of looking at what’s allowable for each gender and saying “fuck that shit.” From Bowie’s guyliner to Cobain’s dresses by way of the whole hair metal thing in the eighties and the shorter-haired women of punk rock, it’s another way to challenge the expected and poke fun at society’s expectations of what we should do and look like, and have a good time while doing so. Rob Halford used Judas Priest’s leather and chains look as a way to explore repressed aspects of his own sexuality and I like to think that in a similar way rock stars’ disdain for the gender divide helped people who felt uncomfortable with the way they were expected to dress feel more understood and accepted.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox. On to the music. Every time I feel like I know what bombast is, Japan comes along and shows me the true meaning of  the word. Acid Black Cherry is the latest band to slap me with a dose of the real thing. It has all the traditional heavy metal elements like crunchy guitars and fun up-tempo riffs, providing a solid amount of theater in their own right. But combining that sound with a horn section is the work of a mad genius. Somehow, Sinatra’s band crashing the party, despite its innovation, feels like a natural extension of the  heavy metal sound, adding to the frenetic musical chaos. A sort of next-level hair metal if you will. And the drama is topped with a guitar solo, because of course it is. I can’t  believe this piece of music has existed for eight years and I’m only getting around to hearing it now. You’ve done it again, visual kei. Take Friday off. You can get another bite of the cherry on iTunes here.

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