AUDIO REVIEW: Space Ninjas From Hell, by Victorius

ninjas.jpg

Label: Napalm Records

Genre: Speed Metal/Science Fantasy

Tracks: 12

Runtime: 45 minutes

Release Date: 17/01/2020

Verdict: 4/5

I don’t like anime. In fact, I hate it. The jarring visual style, the over the top storytelling, the incomprehensible plotlines, the absolute black hole of a fandom. Yes, these are all ungenerous generalisations, but everything I’ve encountered regarding the form has put me off. Yet somehow, everything I dislike about it as a visual media works amazingly as a heavy metal concept album. I mean, come on, just look at that cover art.

If the title Space Ninjas From Hell didn’t make it obvious, this is not a terribly serious album. Victorius may dress and present as the most hardcore edgelords you could imagine, but this album is sheer cheesy fun, and not embarassed about the fact. I never thought I’d find a band who made Gloryhammer look serious, but here they are. When they’re screaming at the top of the lungs about human sacrifice and the end of the world, it’s clear they’re having fun. And even the relatively serious Wrath of the Dragongod is immediately balanced by the sheer lunacy of the brilliant Astral Assassin Shark Attack. For some unknown reason there’s also a surprise appearance from the Annoying Orange meme. Don’t ask me why, because I haven’t a clue.

Musically, a lot of the songs are rather similar. All in on the drums and guitar in an unrelenting assault from start to finish. If you don’t like metal, this may not be for you. I have a fairly eclectic taste in music, and this is about as close to thrash as I can get without my ears starting to bleed. The repeaed rhythms give a sense of cohension to an otherwise scatterbrained album, but it does mean that the songs start to blur into one after a few listens, and the intros are sometimes indistinguishable from one another.

Lyrically, Victorius are on another level. They make rhymes and verses out of things that just shouldn’t work. Nippon Knight, for example, begins as an ode to the way of the saurai, but by the end has become a song about different makes of car. few bands can get away with this level of insanity, and Victorius are in that exclusive club. Their sheer enthusiasm and earnest love of what they do is undeniable. After a few listens, I can all but guarantee you’ll be singing along to the surprisingly and infectiously catchy lyrics. I know I was.

A quick look at their back catalogue shows that Victorius are a band constantly reinventing themselves, from the bland if proficient Dreamchaser to the oddity of Dinosaur Warfare – Legend of the Power Saurus. Now that they are signed to Napalm records, a label who seemingly say yes to anything a band suggests, I can only imagine what they’re going to come up with next. Whether it’s a return for the Space Ninjas or something entirely different, I know for certain I’ll be giving it a listen.

If you like anime, metal, or just plain fun, then this is definitely worth a look. Even if you don’t like it, it’s an experience that few things can replicate.

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