“Burning Spirits” is the term attached to the distinct style of bands performing after 1988 at the long-running live event series under the same name held at a small Tokyo club called Shinjuku Anti Knock. The unique style of bands like Death Side, Tetsu Array, Judgement, Bastard, etc. and their exhilarating live performances became an institution for Japanese hardcore and eventually spawned a cult following worldwide.
During the mid 90’s FORWARD continued the legacy of the golden days of Japanese hardcore punk. The band commenced in 1996 fronted by the legendary singer Ishiya (Death Side) and guitar player Souichi (Insane Youth). Keeping the flames still burning they continue releasing records, touring distant places and sharing the stage with famous US worshipers of Japanese hardcore like World Burns To Death or Tragedy. In the beginning of 2014 they participated in the “Burning Spirits 2014” Split EP with Teargas, where Forward continue their maniac Japacore assault with distorted and loud guitars, ferocious vocals and blistering thrash metal drumming in the tradition of their classic “Just Go Forward To Death” LP.
As mentioned before, over the years the Burning Spirits sound has gone out of the island to influence bands from all over the globe, so there’s no surprise that in Burning Spirits 2014 EP legendary Forward share the record with a band from Australia.
TEARGAS was a 5-piece band from Brisbane that has established themselves as advanced students taught in the craft of the Death Side / Tetsu Array mean and paranoid thrash. The definitive Japacore sound is alive in Teargas, spinned in a whirlwind of blistering aggression, galloping drums, blazing guitars and harsh Japanese-style vocals, although not an authentic Japanese band themselves. Unfortunately that was their final release and they called it quits after the Australian tour with Forward in January 2014 following the release of Burning Spirits 2014 EP.
The artwork for Burning Spirits 2014 EP was done by the grandmaster Ahikigo “Sugi” Sugimoto, widely recognized for his unique style of drawing bestial creatures, demons and skulls. And if you’re not aware of his works, Sugi is for the Japanese hardcore punk scene what Pettibone or Pushead have been for the US hardcore. So this is another masterpiece of Japanese influenced noise and art that is a must for every true fan of underground hardcore punk.