FACT is a Japanese band that has had a roller coaster year in the United States in 2009. Their self-titled album debuted in April to excellent reviews. Their first single “A Fact of Life” had a very memorable video and still is a catchy rock song. FACT started a U.S. tour in April, then near the end of their east coast tour, their van was involved in a head-on collision on a hwy in Alabama. FACT then went back to Japan to nurse some serious injuries, such as broken arms and concussions. They then came back to tour with Senses Fail this past fall. How is that for a roller coster ride?

So why am I just now getting their cd? Well unfortunately FACT’s self-titled came out the same day that Silversun Pickups’ Swoon hit shelves back in April. So it was a little overshadowed. But that didn’t stop me from going back and getting their CD before the end of the year. And I’m glad I did.

FACT is a real gem of an album. If you read other reviews for FACT, there is one commonality. It is really hard to define their sound. And that is always the best form of flattery. Honestly I’m having the same trouble. It is as difficult as describing what they look like, as these faceless boys often hide behind kabuki masks. So where do you start?

Well the lead singer, Hiro, has a youthful teen punk Blink-182 voice, but I personally would compare his vocals to the Japanese band Ellegarden and the vocals of Takeshi Hosomi. Both groups sing in their second language of English, so words are somewhat broken, but the feeling is there in the sound. 

The music is simply defined as rock. Do I dare define it as thrash, screamo, post-pop-punk, mainstream hardcore? I cannot. This album goes deeper than that. First listen, you hear the growls, cookie grunts, followed by the catchy melody choruses. After the second or third listen, you start to really catch the instrumentation. The first track “Paradox” is mysterious and alien and is a great introductory piece, and the song ends with an auto-tune harmony accompanied by a single drum beat that just sounds amazing.

There are some heavy licks and some serious shredding in these songs too. The song “Reborn” sounds like Megadeth and then corrupts into an 80’s Van Halen riff that surprisingly works. The pace and tempo of each song varies, as well as the length of each track, making for an easy listen. The slower track “45 days” would probably be your infamous power ballad, and I absolutely love it.

By the time you get to the end of the album, it kind of breaks off with “1-2” as a techno bleeps and bloops remix which is kind of jarring. But then again, it might just be showing you where these guys might be going. FACT is a versatile band with a ton of potential. FACT has released a couple more tracks in Japan since this album has come out and they are worth listening to as well. Their myspace page is always current and you can hear new singles.  Their newest single “Slip of the Lip” also has a video. You can watch it at this youtube link.