Hotei: Strangers

Japan’s mega-selling shredder marshals his forces

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Rare is the artist who, while relatively unknown in mainstream rock circles, really is big in Japan.

With sales exceeding 40 million there, virtuosic shredder Hotei qualifies for the latter and with his international debut he hopes to correct the former. The Japanese guitarist notched his first stroke of notoriety with Battle Without Honor Or Humanity – the ubiquitous theme from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill and included here.

In a bid to make as wide a splash as possible, Strangers boasts a raft of collaborators, including Iggy Pop (his leering contribution to the garagey How The Cookie Crumbles is worth the price of admission), Rammstein/Emigrate’s Richard Z Kruspe (on the pulsating industrial anthem Move It) and Bullet for My Valentine’s Matt Tuck (on the cinematic balladry of Kill To Love You).

With so many voices, Hotei’s own creative vision is obscured, yet bolstered by dramatic atmospherics, explosive production and an avalanche of tasty hooks. Strangers won’t make Hotei a household name but it might well be your new favourite party platter.