Friday, 15 August 2014

PV Analysis: ONE OK ROCK - 'Mighty Long Fall'

Formed in 2005, ONE OK ROCK describes their style as a fusion of sorts, bringing emo, rock and metal together to create a new sound. Made up of members Taka (vocals), Ryota (bass), Toru (guitar) and Tomoya (drums), the band recently wrapped a North American tour with the Warped tour '14, and are heading off for Europe and South America in the fall. Their ninth single, 'Mighty Long Fall', theme from the live action movie "Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno", features a PV depicting some massive destruction and beings of mythical proportions.

A mic wrapped in red tape spun by Taka from the cord is cut with a shot of a man flexing, an ragged drumstick in his hand. The band comes into view, apparently performing in an aircraft hangar or massive warehouse. We see the muscular figure from before, this time a head shot showing him wearing a bizarre metal mask bearing stunted features, drawing his arm back to strike; subsequently we're shown the blow landing on a drum.

More shots of the band in the centre-floor performance area are interrupted by a dreamlike view of a person falling through a crumbling floor, shown from the side. Limbs flail in slow-motion on the way down from the close-up we're shown of a prone figure, flanked by debris from above as they plummet. Amidst cuts of band performance shots we're shown the masked man striking the drum once again and Taka going full force on the microphone.

As the clip proceeds, we see a number of falling figures through a crumbling floor, increasing steadily as it continues. The titular "Mighty Long Fall" seems to be playing out over the course of the clip, in striking slow motion and variable views. I presumed they may be band members at first, but it would appear instead that they're fans. They're shown in a writhing, mob-like mass on the ground, as an audience, before we cut back to another drummer.

Rather than the full-face mask of the first one we're shown, a chain-mask surrounds the man's eyes. He's pale, as though covered in some sort of body paint, and drumming like the first one we've seen with a slow, deliberate strike. The drum strikes take on a powerful effect, as the band's performance space cracks with the force. The otherworldly appearance of the drummer is granted a powerful bearing in seeing the effects of sound translated to destruction.

Further along, among band shots and quick cuts of one drummer, there's a shot of four ethereal drummers in a row. They're all similarly shirtless, wearing differing though sinister masks – one appears as a bizarre death's head – and lined up with their drums. The crowd is seen again, looking like a rock show, and the drummers' strikes cause more cracks around the band as they play, and the band plays on undisturbed by the destruction on all sides.

While there are four of these otherworldly monsters, I think they may be representing the same Shinto deity. Raijin, god of thunder, is depicted as banging on a drum to cause the crashes heard in stormy weather. He's also traditionally seen with a pale skin tone, and the pallor of the drummers here would seem to fit that description. As they're seen with distinctive faces this theory might not hold up, however the commonality of their appearance seems to cast them as various aspects of Raijin in all his fury.

As the clip proceeds, we're shown more of the band performing, in the middle of the vast hangar/warehouse space and cracks in the floor beneath them continue to spread with every strike by the drummers. We see a wide shot, of the four drummers charging at the band, Taka in their path directly. The sequence plays out slowly, amidst shots of the band playing, people falling and drummers pounding. We're seeing a depiction of the line “running of these demons inside your head” play out quite literally, perhaps contradicting the resemblance to Raijin.

The shots of people falling from earlier in the clip would appear to have been shown out of order from the fate of the floor, as the entire ground falls away, except for the chunk the band plays on in the middle of the frame. If we take the crowd as spectators to the set here, their earlier fall seems to be presented out of sequence, or perhaps they fell to the floor that's set to disintegrate, a cycle of rock destruction continuing to an unimaginable bottom.

As the clip ends off, each member is seen in a solo shot, engulfed by a reddish-pink cloud, apparently from the collapse of the floor. How the remaining chunk that they're still performing on at the end of the clip stays standing is a mystery to me, but seems attributable to the sheer power of their rock, as is often the case in music videos. The track is a pounding sonic assault, the sort of musical explosion you'd expect from a band with a name that's as straight to the point as ONE OK ROCK.

By Josh Campbell

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