SPECIAL FEATURE: Kaala’s Matt Ketchum’s Top 3 Albums from Japan’s Extreme Underground
I recently learned of the existence of Kaala, a web community working to shed light on Japan’s underground talent when it comes to metal, punk, and everything in between. If you’re like me, most of your knowledge of Japan’s metal and punk scenes probably comes from bands that have been signed to well-known underground labels (Coffins, Abigail, Sabbat etc.) or that have come over to the U.S. to play festivals or do short tours. But aside from that, you don’t tend to hear about everything else going on in the country, and as a journalist I haven’t found a lot of bands from Japan pitching me for stories. They definitely seem to have a problem getting the word out internationally, and that’s where Kaala has stepped in with writers based in different parts of the country spreading the word about local gigs, noteworthy releases, and a lot more.
It’s a great resource, and they recently threw the idea around of putting together a guided tour of Japan’s extreme music scene and assisting potential fans from all over the world in getting there. There’s a Google questionnaire running (which you can check out here) to gauge interest and budgets for pulling something off, but it has the potential to bring even more exposure to bands that could use it. Writing about extreme music from parts of the world that don’t get that much press is something I will be focusing on more this year on Transcending Obscurity, and Japan is a definite area of interest.
I’ll be spotlighting Kaala more as the potential logistics of this guided tour prove to be feasible or not, as well as pouring through their wealth of content to find some worthy bands to bring to your attention on TO. But to start, I’m happy to have Kaala’s founder Matt Ketchum contribute a guest post spotlighting his three favorite albums from Japan released in 2016. These are groups you’re not going to want to sleep on! –Chris Dahlberg