They are not a "comedy" band, but many of their songs, like "Bikini Sports Ponchin", "Chuu Chuu Lovely Muni Muni Mura Mura Purin Purin Boron Nururu Rero Rero" and "(Cutter Knife Dosu Kiri) Honjou Hasami" have pretty damn funny lyrics when contrasted with the upbeat tunes of the songs.
The band are probably best known for their songs "What's Up, People?!" and "Zetsubou Billy", which are the second opening and closing themes of the Death Note anime, and are generally harder-edged and less hilariously perverted than most of their material ("A kindergartener is fine, too."). It's worth noting that they're also pretty successful in their home country, their latest album being in the top 20 best selling albums of 2013 in Japan. Not bad for a metal band.
The current members are:
- Daisuke-han (lead harsh vocals, rapping)
- Nao (drums, percussion, vocals)
- Maximum the Ryo-kun (guitar, clean & additional harsh vocals)
- Ue-chan (bass, backing vocals)
Daisuke-han and Nao are founding members, but when Sugi and Key left the band in 1999, Ryo-kun and Ue-chan joined them in the same year.
Faith No More, Incubus, System of a Down, Andrew W.K. and the early work of Red Hot Chili Peppers are comparable. A more modern example to compare to is Issues who also also experiment with anything and everything they can find.
Their music contains examples of
- Avant-Garde Metal: Genres will get mashed up with impunity.
- Contemptible Cover: Aside from their Kusoban EP (noted below), there's also the cover art for Rokkinpo Goroshi. Be careful who you call impotent◊.
- Cover Version: So far MTH have done "Nobodys" by... NOBODYS. In YouTube olden days, it received notoriety just for getting confused with "Usugimi Billy".
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: Somewhat inverted: the lyric "Stop, stop Winny upload" refers to the old p2p service Winny (comparable to Napster), but when asked in an interview about using such an old reference, the lead singer mentioned that he wanted to have a catchy STOP phrase where other stuff like STOP NUKES could be replaced. Knowing their self-referential humor and love of playing with expectations...
- Dissonant Serenity
- Expository Theme Tune: "What's Up, People?!" and "Zetsubou Billy" are this to Death Note.
- Filk Song:
- "F". It's about Dragon Ball's Freeza (and was later heard by original author Akira Toriyama, inspiring him to write the film Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F).
- Done in a weird way with the song "Unbelievable!: Suwomintsu Hokereiro Mifueho" off Yoshuu Fukushuu. The lyrics are about old school video gaming back in the Famicom days (mentioning how back then most gamers had to rely on passwords instead of saving), and the second half of the song name is a password from Konami Wai Wai World.
- Funk Metal: Driving slap bass taken Up to Eleven just sounds like Funk, especially in the hands of their bassist.
- Gratuitous English: "Koi no Mega Lover" - just from the title you can hear this making its insidious presence felt.
- Their name itself doesn't make grammatical sense either, does it?
- With A.S.A. Crew, you could count the number of tracks on it that had Japanese lyrics on one hand.
- Hardcore Punk: Had their roots in this.
- Iconic Outfit/Iconic Item: Ryo's toilet sandals of VIC, which he wears almost all the time. It influenced the track "Benjo Sandal Dance", which is about his habit of wearing those sandals.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: The screaming and the Motor Mouth lyrics make it very hard to understand a word.
- Japanese Delinquents: Mentioned in "Chuu 2: The Beam" ("8th Grade: The Beam" in English). Mentions how grade school punks are known to hang around the mini amusement park areas on the rooftops of stores that are somewhat common in Japan.
- Last Note Nightmare/Big Rock Ending: "What's Up, People?!" explodes into a thrash metal freakout after the title is screamed. This ending even appears in full in the TV-sized edit used for Death Note.
- Long-Runner Line-up: Since Ryo and Ue-chan joined the band in 1999, the line-up remained the same.
- Long Title: They have garnered quite a few over the years, "Rei Rei Rei Rei Rei Rei Rei Rei Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma" and "Chuu Chuu Lovely Muni Muni Mura Mura Purin Purin Boron Nururu Rero Rero" in particular being major offenders.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Chuu Chuu Lovely Muni Muni Mura Mura Purin Purin Boron Nururu Rero Rero".
- "Koi no Sperm" is set to the catchiest, cheeriest tune one could imagine. You're guaranteed to have "Sperma... Oh, Sperma... Oh Sperma!" stuck in your head at some point.
- "My Girl" from the Greatest the Hits EP is a (mostly) upbeat Nu-metal track (with shades of 80s glam rock/metal). If you didn't know Japanese, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a lighthearted song about a relationship. It's actually incredibly dirty and about how much they love pussy.
- Metal Scream: Daisuke provides some very impressively ranged harsh vocals. Luckily for him, Ryo takes charge of the clean vocals, so his larynx probably isn't completely stripped out.
- Mind Screw: Most of their music videos really.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Ranges from 6 to 10, but they can go as low as 2 to as high as 11. It's impossible to tell, though
- Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: They're all over the scale...
- Motor Mouth: The lyricism is delivered so fast, it's hard to understand anything. Sometimes you might even mistake the language!
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: They combine and cross genres more-or-less when they feel like it. Few other J-rock bands have achieved the same level of Genre-Busting, the notable examples being Dir en grey and Melt-Banana.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Their music appears in the Sanrio mobile game Show By Rock!! Fes a Live under the guise of Maximum the Horton, a band of pig characters based heavily on their likeness.
- Nu Metal: Cite Korn as an influence and mix clean, harsh and rapped vocals. Not your typical Nu Metal band, though, it's safe to say.
- Rearrange the Song: Mimi Kajiru Shinuchi is a whole EP's worth of this, released thirteen years after the original Mimi Kajiru.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Ryo-kun and Nao both frequently do this.
- Sibling Team: Half of them. Nao recruited her younger brother Ryo after Sugi and Key left the band.
- The Smurfette Principle: Nao is the only female member of the band. She is also the oldest member, pushing 45 at the time of this writing.
- Soprano and Gravel: Nao, who sings clean female vocals, represents soprano. Daisuke is responsible for screams, therefore representing gravel. Finally, Ryo is middle ground between those two - he provides singing, but also some screams himself.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Ue-chan gets to sing one verse on "Chiisana Kimi no Te".
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: Parodied with "Chiisana Kimi no Te" (Your Little Hand), a sacharine pop rock song that plays at the begining of "Maximum the Hormone" music video. The song seems to end abruptly in middle of second verse, after which Ryo is seen vomiting on TV screen that showed the video for previous song. He subsequently starts playing the actual song, "Maximum the Hormone".
- Visual Kei: Invoked in the video for "Zetsubou Billy", which depicts a Stylistic Suck Visual band, among other Stylistic Suck takes on other music subcultures.
- Vocal Tag Team: A big part of their sound is the constant alternating between Daisuke's rap/screamed vocals, Ryo-kun's middle ground cleans (although he does scream quite a bit as well) and Nao's fully clean, pop-esque style.
- While he very rarely sings lead, Ue-chan usually contributes backing vocals. In live performances especially, he frequently fills in for harmony parts, whenever Ryo-kun or Nao would have overdubbed their own backing vocals on the album. (see Self-Backing Vocalist)
- Vulgar Humor: Pretty much their schtick most of the time. For example, one would think their album Kusobannote and its opening track "Koi no Sweet Kuso Meriken" note would be a red flag for this.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Ue-chan, as depicted above, doesn't often wear a shirt.