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Friday, April 3, 2009



Cocobat "Searching for Change"

Compared early in their career by U.K. rock rag Kerrang! with U.S. metal heavyweights Pantera, Tokyo quartet Cocobat attempt to once again ascend the ranks of the local aggressive-music scene with the release of "Searching For Change," their first album in five years.

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Recorded in Sweden with respected heavy-metal producer Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, In Flames), their eighth full-length offering opens strong with "Riyacar Man." Frontman Hideki spits out his lyrics over classic metal-accented, intricate hardcore rhythms; while bassist Take-Shit (the only original member from the group's 1991 inception) and guitarist Seiki provide backup yelps on the vehement chorus. The two indulge in more brief "singing" on "Digitate," where their simple rapid-fire screams of "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" add an infectious edge to the circle-pit-inducing thrash track. Then, a heavy, brooding 1990s alt-rock groove slows things down on "Bloodline," with Hideki's deep, dark vocals bringing to mind those of the late Layne Staley from grunge act Alice in Chains.

The rest of the songs aren't bad, but there is little to make them stand out, causing the bulk of the disc to blur into generic hard-rock noise. The forgettable instrumental title cut chugs on for a too-long 10 1/2 minutes, closing out the record with a whimper. "Searching for Change" is not vital for anyone but Cocobat enthusiasts.

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