Greatest The Hits 2011-2011 review by Maximum the Hormone

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  • Released: Mar 23, 2011
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 6.3 Neat
  • Users' score: 7.6 (15 votes)
Maximum the Hormone: Greatest The Hits 2011-2011
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Sound — 7
Maximum the Hormone is a Japanese band with an indescribably unique blend of nu-metal, punk, funk, and JPop. Perhaps the most apt comparison in terms of western rock would be to describe them as the bastard child of System of a Down and Red Hot Chili Peppers with a dabbling of Blink 182, yet even this really doesn't describe them adequately. Expect heavy guitars, slap bass, brutal rap, and jarringly clean female vocals. Seriously. "Greatest the Hits: 2011-2011" is their first single release since "Tsume Tsume Tsume"/"F"/"Kill all the 394". On the whole, it represents movement towards a decidedly more metal sound, nearly abandoning the funk-punk that played such an integral role in previous releases such as the "Rockinpo Goroshi" and "Buiikikaesu" albums. However, the toned-down genre-hopping has given way to what I find to be overall better song structure and arrangement, leaving me with mixed feelings. Part of their initial appeal to many is their ability to seamlessly transition between funky riffing driven by slap bass to pop-punk-style choruses into brutal metal grooves. However, "Greatest the Hits" is for the most part a metal release. The drop-tuned guitar is huge and satisfying, but it forces the bass to take a back-seat role much of the time. Previous releases proudly put the bass and guitar on equal ground in the mix, but such is not the case here.

Lyrics — 6
The vocals are very much dominated by vocalist Daisuke's low screams and high-pitched, abrasive rap-style vocals, with guitarist Ryo's clean vocals and drummer Nao's female vocals acting more as a temporary relief than anything else. Part of what made "Buiikikaesu" special was that the three vocalists were essentially of equal importance, with each singer adding their own color and variety. "Greatest the Hits" gives each vocalist a few shining moments, but it simply lacks the vocal dynamism and unpredictability that is supposed to be the Maximum the Hormone trademark. Additionally, there are a few instances of gag auto-tuned vocals. I understand that it's there as a joke, but it just rubs me the wrong way.

Overall Impression — 6
Overall, the word to describe "Greatest the Hits" relative to previous releases would be "streamlined". The composition is smoother and more polished, with greater focus on continuity and arrangement; however the result is an overall lack of variety. It lacks the witty, infectious chaos that I think would normally be a major draw to new listeners. It's not a bad album, but it certainly doesn't fit the type of music one would expect from Maximum the Hormone. It comes off more as slightly tongue-in-cheek nu-metal than the wild, idiosyncratic musical chameleon act that Maximum the Hormone has built their sound on. Bottom line: if you're already a fan and crave a more focused, metal sound, then give it a listen. However, if you've never even heard of Maximum the Hormone, then "Greatest the Hits" is not a fitting introduction.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    EpiExplorer
    This is all really confusing. Despite unfortunate problems in Japan, you still have to say, they can be really wierd sometimes..
    BeRaD
    The self-titled song on this album is actually a perfect introduction to Maximum the Hormone. The other two tracks however, tend to focus on their punk sound rather than their harder sound. I'd have to give it a 6.5. I just hope the actual album is harder. I feel the Tsume Tsume Tsume single is the counterpart to the Greatest The Hits single.
    horandago
    I was sad that it was given a 6.5, but you did hit the nail on the head. I like their 'new style' but they have abandoned things that they shouldn't let go. I'm not sure if the bass did take the back seat at all apart from in utsukushiki hitobito no uta where all ue-chan plays is root notes. Utsukushiki hitobito no uta is a good song, but nothing particularly inventive. self titled song maximum the hormone is very good and brings something new in a positive way for the band. i like my girl, but i think it's a bit boring until the awesome section at the end. I think the heavy bits in that song are a bit amateurish. When is there going to be a new album?!?!
    monteneer
    I've absolutely loved all Maximum the Hormone stuff, except for this. I do like this stuff, but there's just something about the fun bass that gives it the extra umph. The claim of Youth is my favorite song by them, tons of funk/slap bass. Tons of awesome. I wish this band were more well known in America.