The wolves of Man With A Mission, also known as Japan’s greatest rock sensation, are back in the game with a new studio album and are ready to take over the electro-rock scene of the international stage, not just locally. While Man With A Mission are no strangers to the chart-topping experience and being well-known and renowned in Asia, boasting touring experiences with bands such as Enter Shikari, Incubus, and Guns N’ Roses, the five-piece from Shibuya may escape the radar of Western audiences. While this may be the case, their latest album, ‘Chasing the Horizon’, has the potential to leave Man With A Mission’s mark across the globe.
Without a doubt, the opening song and latest released single from the 14 track album, 2045, establishes the electronic element that will accompany ‘Chasing the Horizon’ from beginning to end. Rather than sticking to strict conventions of one rock genre, Man With A Mission delves into the elements of dance-pop to create a genre hybrid that tastefully showcases that distinctive Japanese trademark. The following tracks, Broken People and Winding Road both follow a similar structure of electric guitar and rock instrumental inclusion while also incorporating a fast tempo, dance drum beats, and synth sections.
Hey Now touches more on the pop and dance aspect of the genre hybrid, and by this point, it is easy to identify minute similarities that this song and many on the album share with tracks from My Chemical Romance’s ‘Danger Days’ album (which was heavily influenced by Japanese music conventions). Please Forgive Me slows down the pace for a moment, taking the listener along for a ride with this key-focused, electro-pop-rock ballad. Following along with the momentum of the previous track, Take Me Under starts off slow, before building up to a fast-paced and drum-centred song. The inclusion of shredding guitar riffs is also heavily evident in this track, giving it a more generic rock feel while still incorporating the synth dance-pop elements in the background.
Freak It! serves as a fantastic middle point of the album, standing out as an individually different track from the rest, integrating a jazzy sound into the track that is primarily identified by the use of trumpet and other brass instruments in the song. Break The Conditions follows suit, successfully mixing fundamentals of the classic rock genre while giving the audience a taste of nu-metal with the use of rap-like vocals. Bass and string/synth loaded My Hero joins earlier track Take Me Under in the category of tracks with a more identifiable rock sound.
Dead End in Tokyo is a stand-out song on the album, since not only was it the first single to be released, but it was co-written, co-composed and co-produced by Patrick Stump. Without a doubt, the Fall Out Boy sound has stuck like glue to this track, but while the influence is evident, Man With A Mission has certainly managed to give it their own identity and made it their own. The title track, Chasing The Horizon, picks up once again on the ballad sound, and although on its own this song is positively more than decent, by this point I must unfortunately be honest and state that the sound is beginning to become repetitive.
Regrettably, Find You and Dog Days are tracks that I could easily skip with no remorse, but only because the length of the album and the similarity of each track causes the final songs to drag on in a tedious manner, and sadly, causes them to come across as dull and uninteresting. The opening of Sleepwalkers differs enough to capture my attention once again. However, it does not seem to be a strong enough album closer or a statement piece to end ‘Chasing the Horizon’ on a solid note.
All in all, Man With A Mission has created something great with ‘Chasing the Horizon’, and I do not doubt that it has the potential to place them beneath a global spotlight. The strength of the majority of the album triumphs over its colourless closer tracks and the album will, without a doubt, be an appealing collection of songs to fans of hybrid rock genres, especially those incorporating dance-pop and electronic.
Grab your copy of ‘Chasing The Horizon’ HERE!