When the legendary Japanese post-hardcore band FACT disbanded at the end of 2015, the members split into two amazing groups, on one end there’s SHADOWS continuing on a similar sound to FACT, and the other is the more rock oriented Joy Opposites. From their debut album SWIM in 2016, Joy Opposites have found comfort and a sound of their own, and now in their second album Find Hell the band has solidified that sound, whilst exploring out even further.
Find Hell‘s opening track “Blind Dogs” starts with the sound of a tuning radio, before the guitar comes crashing in, a heavy drum beat in the background, before washing into Adam Graham (vocals & guitar) singing softly. The track is an amazing place to start, and forms into a dark base for the rest of the album. Lines such as “… and we wait too long, until we notice that there’s something wrong, with everything and anything” set up an environment of uncertainty, a state where everything isn’t as it should be, which is what the album focuses in on.
There’s some fantastic imagery used in the lyrics throughout Find Hell, from “Your halo has lost it’s shine” in “Head Full of Tongues” to “Cut off my feet my friend, I won’t be running when the sleep comes calling” in “Sleep.” To perfectly compliment Adam’s (and occasionally backing from Imran) vocals flowing from soft words to yelling out, the instruments dip and crest in time, the band all able to accentuate their own individuality on the tracks. The tracks on Find Hell use some interesting sound design and combine different elements to sound complicated at times, but always flowing smoothly, all the pieces falling into place.
“Either/Or” is certainly a standout track which highlights the growth coming into Find Hell, being a much calmer and more melancholic song. “I still believe, I hear them say, what’s done is done, it doesn’t matter anyway,” The track comes as a calm in the center of the album, a contemplative midpoint that feels like the sort of thing you’d lay down and stare at the sky listening to. The track transitions into “Cinnamon,” which starts out at the same level but kicks things back up a bit as it goes on. Then there are tracks such as “Acid Kiss” and “Head Full of Tongues” that place themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum to “Either/Or,” up tempo tracks with an anger and determination behind them. “Acid Kiss” is another one of those standout tracks that I’m sure I’ll be singing along to in my head for weeks, from that opening riff to when the chorus crashes in, to the powerful wind down at the end. A beautiful balance can be found on the final track, the one to see us out, “Good Luck.” Gravity lets us go as the track fades out, capping off a phenomenal album.
Eiji Matsumoto’s creative drumming combined with Tomohiro Takayasu’s always impressive bass provide the perfect base to each track on the album, complimented with both Adam Graham and Imran Siddiqi on guitar pounding out the beats that range from spacey and atmospheric to fast, hard, and loud. Whilst SWIM found their footing and built a base for the Joy Opposites sound, Find Hell shows their very capable range as the band plays with some unique elements and effects. Find Hell shines out in the dark night it places the listener in, with tracks from “Sleep” to “Acid Kiss” soaring to the best the band has put out.