Insolence is big in Japan.
    So big, that its new album, Audio War, made it to No. 6 on the charts in the Land of the Rising Sun, beating out offerings from Linkin Park and Avril Lavigne.
    The band, which hails from San Jose, Calif., also wants to make it big in Fayetteville on Saturday, June 14, when it plays at Jester’s Pub in support of its new CD.
    While my musical tastes don’t tend to skew toward hardcore bands such as Insolence — my favorite “heavy” band of the moment being retro psychedelic space rangers Monster Magnet — I do appreciate a group with energy that takes a different road.
    And Insolence qualifies on both counts, using a metal/reggae/hip-hop blend that can make your head implode and your feet explode.
    The lead track, “Danger,” starts off with the requisite heavy metal thunder of distorted power chords and screaming, indecipherable lyrics, but then segues into a smooth, reggae-style dub that catches you completely by surprise. It’s sort of like Iron Maiden meets Bob Marley. Kudos to the band for creating something totally unexpected.
“Megumi” takes the opposite tack — leading off with a reggae/hip-hop beat and then kicking out the jams with a wall of sludgy guitar that would make Insolence the perfect house band for Ozzy Osbourne’s retirement party ... or funeral, whichever comes first.{mosimage}
    The third track, “Kobra Kai “... I have no idea what it’s about and don’t know if I like it or not — sort of like the first time I tried sushi. I can’t understand a word the kids are singing, though I love its punk rock roots and it does have an interesting guitar solo. It’ll probably grow on me, sort of like that stray wild hair that inexplicably sprouts out of your ear.
“Blue Sky” is the money track. It’s gotten substantial airplay back in the Bay Area and in Japan. It combines a funky rhythm guitar with some deft deejay scratching; bonus points — my battered and beaten, middle-aged ears can understand every word! “Blue Sky” has echoes of the late, impossibly great Sublime and is absolutely sunny compared to the other tracks, with such sweet lines as the chorus, “Blue sky sunshine, bring back the love I’m telling all of you.” It’s like discovering that lead guitarist/buzzsaw master Scott Ian of Anthrax collects teddy bears. In fact, it’s so poppish that the band just might lose its membership in the Kick Ass Rap Metal All Boys Club. Speaking of which, an excellent rap weaves into the mix so much more melodically than the offerings of hip-hop/metal standard bearers Korn and Limp Bizkit. “Blue Sky” deserves to be a Top 10 hit.
    The band goes for a Rage Against the Machine vibe on “Liberation,” preaching anarchy and riots in the streets with the chorus “take it back, take it back, liberation” amid verses such as “death squads, angry mobs ... they control you.”
Among the remaining tracks, “Kyoadai” is a real standout, fusing Guns and Roses with some Fugees-like rap and a dash of Sex Pistols-style punk.
    All-in-all, a fine effort for a band on the rise.
    If Insolence can hook me — a grizzled old 40-something fan of the Beatles and the Stones — playing music with a probable demographic of males, 14-28, they’ve definitely got something good going.
    The show begins at 8 p.m. Insolence will be opening for the Kottonmouth Kings and tickets are $20.

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