Uncomfortably obtuse

A year after releasing the appropriately titled Kibakuzai (“detonator” in Japanese), Bleach returns with an even more obtuse album.

On Kibakuzai, the Okinawa-trio stuck to straight-forward hardcore — lightning fast power riffs accompanied by hyper-aggressive screams.

Bleach liberally painted outside the lines on occassion, but at its core, Kibakuzai was a polished work.

Hadaka no Jyoou, however, revels in dissonance and noise.

After a seemingly normal metallic introduction with “Kemuri Kemuri Kemuri (Jiko 0 Shipoo 101)”, Bleach tears into “Furueru Hana”, a monstrously ugly hulk of a song that obeys no tonal center.

“Yawa” bounces along like the soundtrack to a nightmarish clown parade. Arrange this track for string quartet, and Kronos Quartet could include it on a program of works by Kryzystov Penderecki.

“Ikenie” is the album’s token mellow track, but even the minimalist arrangement of the song is no comfort. Kanna delivers an awkwardly-phrased melody while she strums ominous chords to Sayuri’s taiko-like drumming.

Even when they’re holding back, Bleach still manages to disturb.

“Bakuon Dashitai A-77” sports the most impassioned vocal performance by Yasuke, while Kanna jack-hammers even more dischordant riffs.

The title track concludes the album with a rumbling bass line and the oddest seventh-chord to be layered over a funk beat.

In other words, Bleach sets out to make listeners uncomfortable. Hadaka no Jyoou is aggression boiled down to its barest essence.

Like Kibakuzai, Hadaka no Jyoou clocks in at under half an hour. It’s a smart move on the band’s part — music this brash is best digested in small doses. Anything more might make listeners’ brains explode, let alone make them deaf.

Once again, Bleach produces a challenging work that dares to push the expectations of how far rock ‘n’ roll can go.