THE RAMPAGE from EXILE TRIBE: “Lightning” – Single Review

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Released: January 25, 2017

So it sounds like another boy band has been added to LDH’s “oh-so-long-its-inevitable” list of bands and musicians. And who may it be? Well, the young, fresh-face 16-member band The Rampage from Exile Tribe. But, little back story here, so baaaaaccckkkk it up; The Rampage debuted back in early 2014 as a new sub-group within the infamous Exile Tribe, managed by Exile Hiro. With much excitement on the hands of infatuated J-pop lovers, The Rampage travelled throughout Japan to perform as dancers to their acts, occasionally hitting out so pre-released music too. Then, J-pop bomb shell hits tha flooooorrr; their debut single “Lightning” was released in January 2017.

But what’s the appeal of “Lightning” per say? Well, its the essentials for each Exile-based group; decent enough vocalists, nice looking guys with crisp tight choreography, and tracks that are completed doused in a pool of EDM cuts and beats that would show DJ’s how it’s really done (well, not really). The single offers a strong chorus that showcases some pretty dope deliveries and half-talk spits by member Kazuma Kawamura, and even shows-off a triumphant trumpet call that packages the track quite nicely. The B-sides are bangers too: “Elevation” is a four-on-the-floor killer that is screaming out “get on the F-ing floor”. NOW THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT BOI! The following two tracks, the cheesy titles “Go On the Rampage” and “Get On the Rampage” may come off a little ehhh, but it’s pretty thick and juicy enough to get your boppin’ on the floor! The boyz got it right!

But here are the issues. The Rampage only features three vocalists; Riku, Mr. Kawamura and Hokuto Yoshino, three young singers whom belt out all their might to push the singles along (Yuss everyone, credit where it’s due). However, if I have to be quite honest, (a.k.a. some shade in my language) all three of them as a collective aren’t packing the punch quite enough to stand out, as they sound pretty similar in some takes from the tracks here. BUT IN THEIR DEFENCE Y’ALL; It’s not their fault, it’s the fact that the LDH brand—oh yeah, and the producers from there—are so heavy into their traditional aesthetics that whatever they produce comes out a little bit… ehhh, predictable? (No shade but that’s the only word I could find sooooo, yeah.) And, while Kazuma’s deliveries are little more OG for the tracks, the other two fade just a little bit. But another itch is that while the tracks are… well, F-ing FIRE, with LDH’s heavy progression towards EDM and over-the-top club shenanigans, the potential of The Rampage’s sound isn’t bright enough, and their sound may be a little to pigeonholed, considering that other acts like J Soul Brothers, Generations and Exile are all within the LDH brand, it’s giving The Rampage very little room to breathe.

Whatever the case maybe, hopefully LDH start to open their wings a bit and offer a more outsider range for their acts. But considering that the work is still hot, whatever the genre, image, lyric (you get the picture…) maybe, it’s pretty inevitable that their singles and albums will be tight! And with no excuse, The Rampage’s “Lightning” is extremely catchy and well-executed. The vocals are there on some points, and the beat is up to scratch… yep, I can definitely see the potential here! Load ’em up boyz, cause it’s gon’ be a ruckus in the J-pop world!

3.5

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