Melt Banana (stylized as MxBx and Melt-Banana) is a Japanese experimental rock band formed in 1991. Easily recognizable by their extremely fast and energetic Grindcore music combined with elements of Nu Metal, Alternative Rock, Electronic Music (especially Harsh Noise and Industrial), Punk Rock, dance music and Japanese Pop Music in a similar manner to bands such as Mr. Bungle and Faith No More, the distinctive musical chemistry between frontwoman/founder Yasuko Onuki and lead guitarist/co-founder Ichirou Agata, and their dual persona as a band (Melt Banana Lite and Melt Banana Regular), they are one of the most prominent and prolific Japanese rock bands in the active scene.
Originally a musical project by Yasuko Onuki called "Mizu", the band began to come together with the arrival of Ichirou Agata and bassist Rika Hamamoto in 1991. In 1992 the project was renamed "Melt Banana". In 1993, the band opened for KK Null, frontman of Japanese metal band Zeni Geva, who was impressed enough to sign them to his label, and introduce them to Mark Fischer of Skin Graft Records. However, the band has not had an official drummer, ever since their first drummer left shortly after their conception as Mizu. As of 2018, the band also lacks a bassist, with Rika Hamamoto quitting in 2013.
Since their formation, they have released eleven studio albums and 23 extended plays (mostly split albums with other bands). They have toured with Mr. Bungle, Melvins, Tool and Fantomas, have worked with acclaimed grindcore band Discordance Axis (their drummer Dave Witte has worked with them!) and legendary experimental musicians Mike Patton and Merzbow.
- (1994) Speak Squeak Creak
- (1994) Cactuses Come in Flocks
- (1995) Scratch or Stitch
- (1998) Charlie
- (1999) MxBx 1998/13,000 Miles at Light Velocity
- (2000) Teeny Shiny
- (2003) Cell-Scape
- (2005) 13 Hedgehogs (MxBx Singles 19941999)
- (2007) Bambi's Dilemma
- (2009) Melt-Banana Lite Live Ver 0.0
- (2013) Fetch
Melt Banana provides examples of the following tropes:
- Careful with That Axe/Creepy Children Singing - While Yasuko's vocals aren't particularly harsh, she has a penchant for really, really high-pitched, Creepy Cute vocals that come right the fuck out of nowhere.
- Experimental Metal
- Genki Girl: Yasuko Onuki during live performances.
- Genre-Busting: Their music doesn't really fit in any particular genre. Good luck try to figure out what kind of music they play, as they draw from so many influences that are so far off from their already bizarre sound.
- Gratuitous English
- Grindcore: Started out as this, though they still play music in this style as Melt-Banana Regular.
- Harsh Vocals - Maybe not as harsh as Kyo of Dir en grey, Maria Cross or Soichiro "Ume" Umemura of Tokyo Yankees, but Yasuko's singing is still fairly harsh for J-rock.
- In the Style of...: The drums on Cell-Scape were programmed to emulate the style of Dave Witte, who has played live session drums for them at various points.
- Lead Bassist: Rika Hamamoto is a Type D.
- Lighter and Softer: As Melt-Banana Lite.
- Long Runner Lineup: Yasuko Onuki, Rika Hamamoto and Ichirou Agata have been the band's official members from the very start. The drummer slot, however, tells a different story...
- Man of a Thousand Voices - Yasuko is arguably the best-known female example of this trope in experimental metal; while her main singing style consist of mostly childish clean vocals, she can also do high-pitched squealing a la Maria Cross, "banshee" shrieks, chirps, barks, Scatting similar to what Jonathan Davis does, the occasional pseudo-gutturals, and extremely fast rapping typical of Nu Metal bands.
- Metal Scream: The first thing you hear in their version of "White Christmas".
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Typically ranging at 9-11, although they can dip as low as a 9 in some songs.
- "Zero" gets even lower, scratching the surface of the 7-8 level.
- Miniscule Rocking - A lot of their songs are fewer than two minutes long.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly - They throw in seemingly bizarre genre choices in most of their songs, even approaching Maximum the Hormone levels in terms of genre mix-and-match with some songs.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: "Zero" from Fetch, despite its neoclassical-style intro, is full-on pop rock.
- Piss-Take Rap - Yasuko. She's really good at it, though.
- Revolving Door Band: The drummer slot, at least. The Other Wiki has a list of all the band's known drummers.
- Soprano and Gravel - More like Banshee and Genki Girl, but she has surprisingly good cleans on par with many notable J-pop singers.
- The Unintelligible - Yasuko Onuki's English lyrics come out completely mangled by her thick accent and fast vocal delivery.
- Word Salad Lyrics