• The cover of Doom’s Go Mad Yourself! EP

A couple weeks ago Marc Fischer of Chicago artists’ collective Temporary Services posted the record cover to the left on his Public Collectors Tumblr, identifying it as belonging to a seven-inch EP by “raging Japanese metal band Doom” that he’d scored on eBay. He included a YouTube link to the song “Last Stand to Hell,” and before I’d gotten a minute into it I knew I had to find out more about the group.

Vocalist and guitarist Takashi “Taka” Fujita, bassist Koh “Pirarucu” Morota, and drummer Jyo-ichi “Joe” Hirokawa formed Doom in 1985 in the Kanto region of Honshu, which includes greater Tokyo, and the EP in question, 1986’s Go Mad Yourself! (on the Rock House Explosion label), was one of their first releases. Today’s 12 O’Clock Track, “Why!?,” also came out on a single at about the same time, but the version streaming after the jump is from the EP.

Despite their Engrish lyrics and the schizophrenic strangeness of their avant-garde thrash, Doom got popular enough to play overseas in New York in 1988—the same year they released their second full-length, Complicated Mind, which appears to be available via a 2007 Japanese reissue. English information on the band is scarce, but as far as I can tell their earliest records are out of print.

Pirarucu departed Doom in late ’93 or early ’94, and in 1999 he was found dead, apparently drowned. The band’s productivity fell off sharply in his absence, and they seem to have split up in 2000. Once you hear the astonishingly manic bass on “Why!?,” you’ll understand why it was difficult for them to carry on as Doom without him.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.