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Twelve Foot Ninja – Vengeance

Twelve Foot Ninja
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 11 November 2021, 2:54 PM

“TWELVE FOOT NINJA has never neatly fit into one musical genre, and true to form, their new album “Vengeance” sees them explore a whole new rich sonic palette. In a sense, the album-cover artwork says it all – a decrepit ’80s-era arcade video game listing sideways after being rudely plunged into the cracked earth of a dystopic wasteland. It’s a place where pinball meets post-truth. The band deemed it a vital innovation to broaden the band’s method of story-telling beyond music. At the very beginning of the band’s journey, they planned to expand their offering with a suite of deeply immersive and premium content. Finally, we start to experience the fruits of that early vision.”

“Start the Fire” leads off the album. It begins with electronic keyboard notes, and then the heavy riff drops with harsh vocals. The slow riff is punishing. The chorus is catchy with clean, harmonized vocals and some weird electronica. “Long Way Home” is a shorter song with even more odd electronica. The harsh vocals cut against the cleans in a way that is hard to describe…it’s like you are listening to pleasant elevator music on your way to a company holiday party but Death Metal keeps cutting in and out. “Vengeance” begins with heavy electronic accents and the steady beat of programmed drums. The vocals are light and airy at first, mixing in with the anger of harsh vocals. Death sentences are handed out with a smile and a drink of Kool-Aid.

“IDK” swings with the groove of a smooth-listening 70’s track that you might hear on the radio frequently. The harsh parts cut in for very brief amounts of time, as if your groovy, music friendly group’s bell-bottoms start coming to life and eating the wearer whole. “Shock to the System” will get your toe tapping along with the clean vocals and rhythms. Even the heavier guitar parts are somehow not rebarbative, but almost welcomed. The spoken words are slightly corny, but that is all a part of the band’s identity. “Gone” is another oddly pleasing song, with groovy bass guitar notes and smooth and plain sailing rhythm guitars. Did you just step back into a time machine? This 70’s/80’s groove is mostly fueled by fantastic bass guitar work. Very nice.

“Culture War” begins with heavy, punchy accents and vocals filled with hate and anger. The trumpet notes and folky instruments further the mystery of this band for me. “Dead End” features a jovial harsh riff (if those words are possible in one sentence). It bounces and bee-bops around until the harsh vocals come in and clean house. Again, what an odd combination for music that somehow can be pleasing and aggravating at the same time. “Over and Out” features JINJER vocalist Tatiana Shmayluk in another twisting track that combines bright, clean tones with weighted harsh tones. But a strong melody is the one constant here. “Tangled” closes the album…a sweet little song with some sad strings mixed in with complacency. This song is genuine and honest in its message.

If you know this band, you know to expect the unexpected when it comes to their music. Like BTBAM, their offerings are always a surprise. As an outside fan who is not familiar with their music, I have to question if some of it is cheeky, or if this is seriously what the band is all about? I honestly have no idea, but give credit to their unusual songwriting and fantastic musicianship. The brevity of many of the songs also brings into question what audience they band might have out there for the album…but with close to 100,000 Facebook fans I would say they are doing something right, and must be a trip to see live.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Start the Fire
2. Long Way Home
3. Vengeance
4. IDK
5. Shock to the System
6. Gone
7. Culture War
8. Dead End
9. Over and Out
10. Tangled
Record Label: Volkanik Music


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