Twelve Foot Ninja
|©2012 Self Released
1. Coming For You
3. Mother Sky
8. Silent Machine
10. Myth Of Progress
11. Ain't That A Bitch
Australia's Twelve Foot Ninja just released their first full-length record after two outstanding EPs, New Dawn and Smoke Bomb, and I'll be damned if it's not one of the best albums I have heard all year (and it's been a great year: Ihsahn, Van Halen, Steve Vai, Animals as Leaders, T.R.A.M., Ne Obliviscaris, Rush, Sonny Landreth and Ohmphrey have released excellent records in the past 11 months).
At first blush, Twelve Foot Ninja is a natural evolution of Faith No More and Mr Bungle circa 1994, updated for the 21st century with even more genre-hopping and djenty riffage. It's tempting to call them a clone of Mike Patton's old bands, especially given the singer's timbre, melodies, and harmonized vocals straight off Faith No More's Angel Dust. The resemblance and inspiration are undeniable, and I would forgive hardcore FNM fans for dismissing Twelve Foot Ninja outright.
But that'd be their loss, because derivative or not, Twelve Foot Ninja does have its own personality--quirky video-game keyboards, very complex rhythms and riffs, and more stylistic swaps within songs, including metal, lounge, reggae, surf, mambo and dub--and most importantly catchy, melodic, varied and kick-ass songs. The genre-hopping never feels forced; it's always seamless, very natural, and often hilarious without turning into comedy. Most songs are tightly written, very dense, complex, yet extremely catchy and melodic ("Mother Sky", "Luna", "Ain't That A Bitch", "Rogue").
A couple of the songs ("Myth of Progress" and to a lesser extent "Kingdom") do sound a little artificial, as if they had tried a little too hard to come up with a melody to fit the riffs and the lyrics, and as a result the lyrical meter is awkwardly off, the melody not particularly memorable, and the melisma a bit irritating.
That said, the rest of the material is so compelling I'll gladly give them a pass and very strongly recommend that you check out these kangaroos ASAP--their earlier EPs are just as good as this album and absolutely worth tracking down.
Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier
Review date: 11/2012