Osaka Punch - Death Monster Super Squad (Birds Robe/MGM)

Brisbane’s masters of eclectic progressive funk-rock-metal Osaka Punch unleash the madness that is Death Monster Super Squad. Funky, heavy, sleazy and downright fun, this seven-track EP is packs serious punch and totally worth its weight in gold.
Release Date: 
16 Sep 2016 (All day)

Funk-prog-metal band Osaka Punch may be Brisbane-based but this EP is the brainchild of the UK, and specifically Osaka Punch’s recent time there. The result of their UK sessions is new EP Death Monster Super Squad, which is appropriately described as chaotic, yet eerily coherent. It is very much in a class of its own, genre-wise, and reflects Osaka Punch’s renowned energetic intensive live performance. 

Overall a really playful collection of tracks that mixes fantastic clean vocals with thicker heavy sections and edgy keyboard melodies. Each track has its own avatar with backstory but the main event regarding this release for me is the music itself, which is undoubtedly able to hold its own without the narrative scaffolding. But the imaginative approach to each of the tracks as mini stories is kinda cool as well and lends itself to a comic-strip approach. You don’t need it, however, to totally get into the songs in their own right.

Death Monster Super Squad kicks off in upbeat style with Eat You Up featuring funky bass work by Brenton Page. The flagship track Make the Call follows and represents the main tenets of Death Monster Super Squad’s style: groovy rhythm section, slinky edgy keyboard-driven melodies and fluctuating heavy guitar sections. Tracks such as Stonk feature distinctive drum work by Dane Pulvirenti and promise to turn up the intensity even further in Osaka Punch’s live set. Overall Death Monster Super Squad has a kind of hedonistic groove to it, epitomised in the closing tracks In Or Out and Spider and the Fly.

Attempts to describe or comprehend Osaka Punch have lead observers to draw parallels with Frank Zappa and Mr Bungle, with which I tend to concur, and would note the Mike Patton influence particularly in vocalist Jack Venables’ ability to communicate anger and sarcasm as well as fun and tease through clean vocals. I would enlarge these similarities to include a bit of Living Colour flavour, particularly in the oscillation between heavy and sparse sections, the strong presence of super-funky bass on the recordings and iconic melody lines. Basically, it’s a blended sound with strong lyrical narratives supported by compositions tailored from diverse genre-influences to fit specifically to each track. The clean vocals are captivating and lyrically this has to be one of the catchiest and punchiest releases I’ve heard in a while.

Each song has distinctive properties that make for seven very self-contained tracks that feed into a rollercoaster overarching sequence. Energetic and varied, this EP is above all totally fun and thoroughly enjoyable. I think I smiled through every minute of it. Danced a little, even. Death Monsters Super Squad is out TODAY so get onto it!