Tuesday, 18 March 2014

PV Analysis: Mejibray - 'Raven'

Mejibray is a visual kei group formed in June 2011, comprised of Tsuzuku - vocals, MiA - guitar, Koichi - bass and Meto on drums. Initially brought together as support for a solo endeavor by Tsuzuku, they instead formed as Mejibray. As individual members, the group brings much experience from previous bands to their sound here. The band has released 10 singles to date, the latest as of this writing is Raven, just released March 19. The track reflects an act clearly in their element, and the PV presents a dizzying array of images to process.

Following the band's logo on the intro we're shown a blender stained with splotches of paint, the word "Hell" painted on the base, and "Hate" on the handle; later shots also seem to indicate "Death" on the other side, but the view isn't clear. Tsuzuku appears in this room twice with the blender, standing still and seated, moving too quickly to be seen clearly. This red room is the scene of the loosely narrative action of the piece, and as we first see this dual presence in the room it appears to have some metaphysical quality.

The band appears together in a room that appears warehouse-like, and over the course of the clip they're also depicted apart, much like the Tsuzuku scenes in the lounge-like area with the blender. Meto seems to be in a closet-like area, crouched on his stool at the kit and wearing black wings, the only Raven reference I could detect in the clip. Koichi appears to be in a room with a mirror, and MiA is seen solo in a red room. There are video effects on some of these solo depictions, often as though they're on videotaped surveillance.

There is a shot of Tsuzuku brandishing a knife, and then back in the lounge, he stabs at a slab of meat, apparently a chunk of beef. A helpful word balloon extrudes from the meat bearing the word "Human".  A series of quick cuts to the band together and apart shows Tsuzuku in closeup, the word 'minority' emblazoned across the screen.

A shot of the knife plunged into the meat, and a word balloon from the knife shows the word 'majority' from it. I'm reminded of a saying that I recall as a Japanese proverb - 'the nail that sticks out gets hammered down'. The labels give the sense that Tsuzuku (and company) are the nails in this case, their rocking ways running counter to society, and figuratively hacked up in pursuing this rebellious lifestyle.

There are more shots of the band playing, variously together and apart, and back in the butchery area, Tsuzuku pulls on a pair of rubber gloves. A balloon marks them as protection, from what remains to be seen. There is more of the band, more stabbing, and a shot of Tsuzuku leering at the camera. A balloon saying 'Hello flightless Birthday' comes from him in this provocative shot; I'm not sure what this could mean but would surmise it refers to aging without celebration or commemoration, or perhaps the start of a new year of life without hope for something more.

Tsuzuku is seen seasoning the meat, or so it would seem. A shaker of bluish powder is dashed over the meat, giving it a smurfy-coating. As the food-prep for no one's palette proceeds, we see an array of word balloons, this time bearing the seven deadly sins. The angle of the tails of the balloons would appear to attribute wrath to the meat, envy to Tsuzuku's crotch area, and gluttony, pride and the rest to the singer. From this it could be surmised that the singer hopes to obliterate wrath through the destruction of the meat, although it's still unclear.

Amidst another swath of swift cuts from member to member to find Meto eating blue berries directly from a bowl, and Tsuzuku spewing a similar shade of liquid onto the meat. The discolored meat goes through a cycle in the blender and becomes a pulpy, thick fluid in the processing. Is it liquid wrath, the remains of the majority of humanity as implied via caption earlier, or the application of hell and hate to the meat, per the labels on the blender? Lacking lyrics it's difficult to arrive at a conclusion, but the visual cues would point to these as possible interpretations.

As the clip ends, we see Tsuzuku brandishing the blender amongst the band, and cut back to the blender grinding to a halt as it concludes. The track has a driving sound and the imagery is engaging and vaguely disturbing, leaving both listener and viewer as unhinged as Meto appears wolfing down the berries in the clip. As relative newcomers to the rock scene, Mejibray's sound and vision reflects an act with a clear sonic path.

By Josh Campbell

Order here! Raven [w/ DVD, Limited Edition / Type A] MEJIBRAY