Self-proclaimed "disgusting music" band Kruelty just wrapped up their first-ever New Zealand dates. This week, they're hitting Australia for some brutal gigs with Honest Crooks, so we caught up with guitarist Zuma to celebrate!
Kruelty have been steadily building a reputation in their home country of Japan and abroad since releasing their 2020 debut full-length, A Dying Truth and EP, Immortal Nightmare, with their self-proclaimed "disgusting music".
Before then, the band had put out a string of demos, splits, singles, and an EP, Phøbia, in 2018. Since the release of A Dying Truth, Kruelty have received coverage on Unite Asia, Exclaim, New Noise Magazine, Brooklyn Vegan, hate5six and more outlets dedicated to discovering heavy music from around the globe. They also already have a page on the Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives.
On 17 March, Kruelty will release their second album, Untopia, a seven-track beast that will be distributed via the independent label Profound Lore Records. Before the album comes out, though, the band have made their New Zealand debut, and their inaugural shows in Australia begin this week, with an opening slot for Sydney's own Honest Crooks. We caught up with guitarist Zuma to celebrate the epic achievements of Kruelty.
To understand the appeal of Kruelty, watching them perform live and seeing kids who love hardcore lose their shit over the Japanese band will do it. "He [Sunny Singh, the man behind hate5six] is huge in the scene, so we got a bunch of new followers, comments etc., on social media every time he posts something about us. He’s the best!" Zuma says, recalling the impact their set has had on the band.
Jem Siow from Sydney's hardcore punk band SPEED has recently lent a shout-out to Kruelty on The Pitch of Discontent podcast as part of his list of Asian hardcore bands he's enjoying, something unexpected for Zuma. "He’s obviously nice, and I’m glad to hear the good recognition regarding the records or shows of us," Zuma replies, appreciative of his band's growth within a thriving hardcore scene.
Untopia is coming next month, an album that features new influences but is still disgusting. "This time around, we put more Finnish or Swedish death metal flavours on it," Zuma explains about their second album. There are plenty of influences sprinkled throughout the album, "every kind of death metal bands except symphonic and tech ones," he adds, but the members of Kruelty do have a fondness for "heavy hardcore bands, as you can guess. I also love grindcore/crust punk stuff, too.
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"Our singer is mostly singing in Japanese, which might sound interesting to you all," Zuma hints about Untopia. The first single, Burn The System, is a brutal number that explores how ordinary working-class people are currently living in Japan. That theme repeatedly appears on the record; Zuma confirms: "Yeah, all the songs I wrote, the lyrics are based on that kind of theme."
Taylor Young, from the bands Apparition, Deadbody, and previous drummer of Nails, has mixed four Kruelty releases, including the Introduction To... demo, The Ruination of Imperialism (Split), the Immortal Nightmare EP and A Dying Truth. Young is back on board for Untopia, and "he’s trying to make us as heavy as possible, which is amazing," Zuma comments.
Kruelty and Honest Crooks have been talking about this Australian tour for two and three years, so it's pretty special that the dates have finally arrived. "I feel so happy that we’re finally making it happen," Zuma shares. "Also, I have many long-time internet friends in Australia, so I can’t wait to finally meet them on this run."
Speaking of the internet, Zuma is known for his funny presence on social media, as outlined in the article, Are Kruelty the Hardest Band on the Planet, or Hilarious Sweethearts Pretending to Be Scary?
"You know, being good/funny on social media could be a marketing thing to catch new fans since it’s hard for Asian bands to break into the Western world," Zuma explains. However, it's all over when he's on stage or in the studio. "But once I grabbed the guitar, then I’m getting serious as fuck. I’m dedicating everything of myself to Kruelty, the scene in Japan, and some other projects of mine, so I have to be serious."
Kruelty are on tour with Honest Crooks. Pre-order Untopia here.
2023 AUSTRALIAN TOUR WITH SPECIAL GUESTS KRUELTY
Thursday, 16 February - Vinnies Dive Bar, Gold Coast - Tickets
Friday 17 February - Tomcat, Brisbane - Tickets
Saturday 18 February - Newcastle Hotel, Newcastle - Tickets
Sunday 19 February - Factory Floor, Sydney - Tickets
Wednesday 22 February - The Basement, Canberra - Tickets
Friday 24 February - Workers Club, Melbourne - Tickets
Saturday 25 Feb - Crown & Anchor, Adelaide - Tickets