I have been sleeping on Madmans Esprit. Mainly because the band released a lot of singles and then I missed their EP releases. Now after their 2023 Korean Music Awards win for Best Metal & Hardcore Album, I listened to 나는 나를 통해 우리를 보는 너를 통해 나를 본다. The album is a collision of genres. It’s a combination of hardcore, metal, rock, opera, and frantic energy. From the start, it has the same crazy energy that I get when I listen to Mindless Self Indulgence (even if the music isn’t identical).
Madmans Esprit offers 13 songs that reach about 54 minutes of music. It’s a constant barrage of sound and at some points sounds like it’s too many ideas smashed together. “자해와 해방” mixes hardcore vocals, a speedrun of vocals, and additional operatic delivery all at the same time.
The band also harnesses gothic themes on “妄誕詩” but never strays far from their core sound. If you don’t listen to Madmans Esprit with your full attention, you can easily get lost because songs change from verse to verse. I like how Madmans Esprit isn’t afraid of manipulating tempo during a song going from a sprint to a slow walk. They manipulate expectations at will.
And while Madmans Espirt are firmly entrenched in the metal and the hardcore world, they aren’t afraid to lean further in one direction. “Bitter” reminds me of End These Days, going deeper into melodic hardcore. Honestly, it’s hard to describe the experience an individual will have with Madmans Espirt. I think Japanese rock fans will get hooked on “이분법” while hard rock fans will like “Idon’tknowwhoIambutthesexygoeson.” It’s an album that seems to have something for everyone while having its own signature.
Madmans Esprit has been creating music since 2018 and polishing their craft over the years. 나는 나를 통해 우리를 보는 너를 통해 나를 본다 is the summation of all that work and should be considered an important marker in Korean rock music. I mean, listen to “백골의 정원” and realize how it sounds like a throwback to older Korean music while sounding perfect for the times. But it’s sad to hear that the band’s lineup will be disbanding and will only exist as Kyuho’s solo project in the future.
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