New Element, the opening track of Fact’s fifth album, lays out the Japanese band’s manifesto in clear terms: ‘The Fundamental – “evolve to survive”. It’s instrumental, without it we die.’ This is not mere sloganeering.
Since the release of 2012’s Burundanga album the band have bulked up, with the recruitment of English guitarist/vocalist Adam Graham (formerly a member of Tokyo metal band Versus The Night): the traditional Noh masks that gave them a signature look have now gone, too.
Accordingly, 15 years into their career, their punchy post-hardcore sound has expanded; 2-1 sounds like a particularly jittery Enter Shikari, Circling is the kind of finger-picked power ballad that Lostprophets used to excel at, and the two-minute-long Drag is full-tilt punk rock fury.
This pushing of the envelope doesn’t always work – Ape contains a novelty ‘monkey chant’ vocal hook that must rank among the most irritating in the history of recorded music – but at their best Fact sound energised, intense and ferociously capable.