Good can come from death. Some would argue that, indeed, djent is a dead genre. I’d have to admit that it has seen better days, but, every once in a while, some shiny thing rises through the ashes and comes to the surface. A miniature speck of jade in a dull grey pile. Today, this is thanks to Mexican quartet 遺伝学者 (Iden Gakusha) and their Japan-oriented EP, 芸者 (Geisha). I believe the band achieves something great with this twenty-minute EP; here’s why.
First of all, the foundation of djent—and metal—is the riffs. Fear not, the riffs of Iden Gakusha are of the superior kind: layered, with lots of counterpoint, complex, technical… On top of that, there is a heavy influence of Japanese music on them. Not only melodically, with the liberal use of Japanese pentatonic scales, but also timbrally, thanks to the constant 琴 (koto) playing all throughout the EP. It’s unfortunate that the instrument had to be programmed and not played acoustically, but it honestly does a good job of mimicking the physical instrument. That instrument, and its characteristic note bends, is brilliantly paralleled by the guitarist and bassist, who also use of bends, more often than they probably would have without the influence of the koto.
All of this results in a convincing Japanese djent EP. I have to mention that the vocals are always melodic, not harsh, and are absolutely fantastic, thanks to the voice of Noam Rittner. Everyone on record displays a highly professional and almost virtuosic level of musicianship, and the compositions themselves are just as impressive. For as long as there will be such hidden gems in a genre, it must be monitored. Iden Gakusha proves this.