Her Name In Blood @ Shibuya O-West, (Sept. 27th 2014)

Return of the Beast Finale Rips Up Shibuya
Live Reports “Return of the Beast Finale Rips Up Shibuya” @ Shibuya O-West 2014.09.27

Her Name In Blood

Since the release of their eponymously titled second album in April 2014, Her Name In Blood have spent the summer touring relentlessly around Japan. They finished up with 3 final dates in Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo on September 26th with a jubilant and blisteringly energetic set at O-West on a stage bathed throughout the show in a slick of red lights, the HNIB banner hung aloft behind the band roasting in a projection of flames.

Looking at my notes from the show, I often come across the words “anthemic,” “circle pit,” and the slightly Lovecraftian “benthic.” Having not managed to catch the band in action since a multi-band show earlier this year supporting Periphery and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the absence actually allowed for the difference that a new album and touring have made to their live show to come through, and to showcase a sound which is a subtle evolution from their earlier work.

“Her Name In Blood” is an album that retains the band’s characteristic hardcore sound whilst bringing in more melodic moments. “Zero” kicked the show off in suitably brutal style, whilst “Impulses Within” finished off the opening four songs with a neck-break nod to extreme riffs and those pleasingly guttural pig screams that are recognizably Ikepy’s. The band’s preference for grindingly-heavy riffs and throat-scarifying screams intensified during “Revolver” when Before My Fails singer Takahito Matsuno joined Ikepy on stage for dual snarl-duty, the former spending much of the song making the security guards nervous by looking like he wanted to hurl himself into the throng below the stage.

The set took in the whole of Her Name in Blood’s back catalogue, with songs from the “The Beast EP” being well met by the crowd. “We Refuse” called for audience participation with the crowd asked to hunker down and then leap up for the start of the song. As the main riff the leaping turned into a flurry of head-banging and a deluge of crowd-surfing, which must have resulted in quite a few sore heads the next morning as not a few people met the edge of the stage with their skulls. Meanwhile, bassist Makoto and guitarist Daiki spent some of the song running around high-fiving each other and executing their impressive mid-air split jumps.

Not only did the older songs have the crowd-pleasing welcome, but newer songs have already established themselves as firm favourites. Whilst “City of Desperation” seemed comparatively unremarkable against the earlier songs with its sludgy hardcore, “The Crown” picked things back up with a mid-song peak that hints at where Her Name In Blood are heading, with heavily choral guitar riffs. “This is Retribution” is another example of when HNIB’s melodic side brings out their more remarkable qualities. Being joined by Crystal Lake’s Ryo on vocals certainly added a little extra frisson to the number.

“Dusting” is quite an uncharacteristic number for HNIB, not only for its lack of vocals, but for the melodic qualities it shows off – one could imagine a set of soaring vocals over the top of things – but as a break in the set it allowed for the band to have a quick breather. Meanwhile Umebo, who appeared to be clad in budgie-smuggling, tight denim shorts (or perhaps just his underwear), took the spotlight for five minutes. With all the references to beasts HNIB make Umebo asserted his own place as one with a dynamic drum solo full of crowd callbacks and humour.

Then it was into the final half of the show, where the band pulled out the crowd-pleasing “All That Living Inside Our Heads” and a personal favourite, “Halo,” from the new album as well as older tracks like “Decadence” and “Invisible Wounds.” The band ended the encore, as usual, with their inspired cover of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.”

Her Name In Blood put on a show which showed that their album has not only built on the intense hardcore elements of their sound, but has also brought in a more melodic angle, and it will be interesting to see how their music develops should the band choose to take things in that direction. Whilst the band have taken a little break after touring pretty hard the past few months, there is little rest for the wickedly good – they’ll be back in action next week with a series of shows around the country through to December.


Zero/ Gasolines/ Revolver/ Impulses Within/ City of Desperation/ The Clown/ We Refuse/ This is Retribution/ Dusting/ Drum Solo/ All That Living Inside Our Heads/ Pray To The Sun/ Unshaken Fire/ Decadence/ Halo


Here We Come/ Invisible Wounds/ Poker Face

Image taken from Her Name In Blood’s EP release show in 2013 by Julen Esteban-Pretel.

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Laura Cooper
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