12 O'Clock Track: Doom, "Why!?"



The cover of Dooms Go Mad Yourself! EP
  • The cover of Doom's Go Mad Yourself! EP
A couple weeks ago Marc Fischer of Chicago artists' collective Temporary Services posted the record cover to the left on his Public Collectors Tumblr, identifying it as belonging to a seven-inch EP by "raging Japanese metal band Doom" that he'd scored on eBay. He included a YouTube link to the song "Last Stand to Hell," and before I'd gotten a minute into it I knew I had to find out more about the group.

Vocalist and guitarist Takashi "Taka" Fujita, bassist Koh "Pirarucu" Morota, and drummer Jyo-ichi "Joe" Hirokawa formed Doom in 1985 in the Kanto region of Honshu, which includes greater Tokyo, and the EP in question, 1986's Go Mad Yourself! (on the Rock House Explosion label), was one of their first releases. Today's 12 O'Clock Track, "Why!?," also came out on a single at about the same time, but the version streaming after the jump is from the EP.

Despite their Engrish lyrics and the schizophrenic strangeness of their avant-garde thrash, Doom got popular enough to play overseas in New York in 1988—the same year they released their second full-length, Complicated Mind, which appears to be available via a 2007 Japanese reissue. English information on the band is scarce, but as far as I can tell their earliest records are out of print.

Pirarucu departed Doom in late '93 or early '94, and in 1999 he was found dead, apparently drowned. The band's productivity fell off sharply in his absence, and they seem to have split up in 2000. Once you hear the astonishingly manic bass on "Why!?," you'll understand why it was difficult for them to carry on as Doom without him.

I'm not sure who's pictured in the photo to the right, but since Taka was the band's guitarist from day one till the end, I think I can say with confidence that it's him at the upper left. Pirarucu played fretless bass, and the bass in the photo looks to be fretless, so odds are good we're looking at the band before he left. The drummer on the right is probably Joe but could also be Shigeru "Pazz" Kobayasho—he took over after 1989's Incompetent. Alas, I don't know the year of the photo.

Anyhow. Apologies for the uncertainty, but the picture was too amazing not to share. Seriously, click on it to get a better look.

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