Jeremiah Kane - Ronin
This review was commissioned. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
Jeremiah Kane is an electrometal, cyberpunk, and synthwave act that was initially formed as the solo project of the titular producer and musician. After taking his time playing in various metal outfits, he took an interest in the rise of retro electronic music and synthesizers. His fascination led him to craft his own beats and music and released his debut solo EP “NEOANGELES” in May of 2017, which was swiftly followed up by his debut album “THE NEW DAWN” in November of 2017. Looking to expand the project’s potential, childhood friend and former bandmate Vincy Kane joined Jeremiah. At first as just a live member, but soon after he came on as a full member, co-writing all the band’s later releases. Their second album “ALL OR NOTHING” came out in October of 2018 and gained them notoriety within the synthwave scene.
Following a European tour in 2019, Jeremiah Kane went on to work with German music producer, Kristian “Kohle” Kohlmannslehner (Eskimo Callboy, Powerwolf, and Hamatom) for future material. This culminated in one of Jeremiah Kane’s most popular singles to date ‘Never Back Down’, as well as ‘Specter’, and a remix of ‘Never Back Down’ by BlazerJacket. Continuing upon their success, Jeremiah Kane signed a record deal with NoCut Entertainment, and went onto perform throughout the world, including at the revered Castle Party Festival on the main stage.
Now, just talking about their latest album seems to have all the tropes you’d expect of a metal / synthwave / darksynth hybrid project. They combine all their love of Japanese culture, anime, manga, and cyberpunk under one aesthetic roof. It’s not something that’s unheard of within the scene (in fact, it’s more than common at this point). However, what makes the band is not what they list as an influence, but what they do with that influence that counts. And, boy, does Jeremiah Kane deliver on all fronts.
The albums starts with a quick introductory track titled ‘Yokoso’. Traditional xylophone notes and the ambiance of a Japanese city play out. What we’re given is a relatively slow build-up for around one-minute and seventeen seconds before Jeremiah Kane completely unleashes an assault of electronic guitars and sweeping, cinematic synths. Like the opening credits to a movie does ‘Yokoso’ sink its teeth in and clenches with all its might. Right after we’re brought into what’s arguably Jeremiah Kane’s most popular song to date, ‘Never Back Down’. With a whopping one-million-and-some odd streams on Spotify, it’s no wonder this is popular. It’s a fast and frenetic thrill ride of blazing electrometal orgies, and stunning backdrops of cinematic set pieces. Purely instrumental, and a great track for speeding on the autobahn at one-hundred and fifty miles per hour.
Popping more into industrial rock territory, Jeremiah Kane gets a more dance feel going on in ‘Lights Out’. Like a cybernetically modified Rob Zombie does Jeremiah Kane let out a performance of a lifetime on the track. ‘This Night is Ours’ is the first collaboration on the album featuring ‘SANZ’. Jeremiah Kane again rips out a wonderful electrometal ballad from start to end. I wish that SANZ wouldn’t have done the typical, auto-tuned and nasally sounding clean voice for the track, however. It’s very, very standard for the genre and doesn’t give much of a unique identity to either himself or the track. There’s room for some rougher growls in SANZ’s delivery, but it isn’t enough. If this was purely instrumental, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
‘Kanjozoku’ begins with notes of a flute, followed suit by military style drums; throughout the track, it keeps to this theme. Battle-ready, this song waves the flag for an imminent battle – like the little drummer boy if he was a corpo kid from the near future. ‘Way of the Ronin’ serves as a bit of an intermission. Following on the theme of the previous track, Jeremiah Kane begins the album with the clash of steel on steel and a singular choral charm. Alen Ljubic provides his masculine tone to the song, and gives a performance worthy of a Ronin – a warrior, a protector, a mercenary with a heart of gold. His voice is both soothing and powerful at the same time. My only complaint is that I wish his lyricial delivery was a bit slower to match the energy of the song.
Throughout the rest of the album, we’re given spectacles of Jeremiah Kane’s genius with songs such as ‘Wangan Devil’, ‘Sinners’, ‘Specter’, and ‘Gokudo’. While they are all good songs and with the exception of ‘Gokudo’, I do think that some of the sounds begin to blend in with one another and it’s hard to separate every instrumental from one another. I think that Jeremiah Kane either needs to be more experimental, perhaps by leaning harder into one genre than the other for songs or open up their sound bank to incorporate a wider range of sources. Everything sounds good and production is great, but variation is key.
Jeremiah Kane also puts out two more collaborations, the first of which is on ‘Shinigami Eyes’ with Prexss. Prexss delivers vocals worthy of a death metal track on the single but I’m not quite sure it meshes too well with the song. I often feel as if the vocals are above the music, and don’t quite flow with the music aside from within the chorus. It’s a clash of two different styles that, while it can sound decent at times, fails to completely flow throughout the entirety of the song.
The other collaboration occurs on the track ‘Wild Child’ and features Ldmv. This collaboration I quite enjoyed as the strained, robotic whispers of Ldmv perfectly fit within the universe Jeremiah Kane has built. There’s also a ton of variation on the track, ranging from the standard Jeremiah Kane electrometal affair, to the arcade-y video game sounds that erupt around the three-minute mark, to a guitar solo. It’s a thrill ride that never ceases to amaze, and it’s something I’d love to see more from Jeremiah Kane in the future.
Jeremiah Kane’s “Ronin” is a very, very swell album that I’m proud to have listened to multiple times – and its one that I’ll definitely visit in the near future. I do think there was room on the chopping board for a few of the instrumentals, and some of the collaborations weren’t as enduring as I had hoped they would have been. Nonetheless, what’s presented on “Ronin” is solid for the most part. Songs such as ‘Never Back Down’ and ‘Way of the Ronin’ are finding a comfortable home on my personal playlist, and that’s a great compliment. Seven out of ten.Oct 30 2022
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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