Apart from being proud authors of one of the world's most exciting record titles -- the single Houchou Hasami Cutter Knife Dosu Kiri/Rei Rei Rei Rei Rei Rei Rei Rei Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma -- Maximum the Hormone are a Japanese nu-metal lite band with a lot of punk elements in their music and a general lack of the teenage angst and self-importance characteristic of true nu-metalers. The group was formed in 1998 and released its debut album, A.S.A. Crew, the next year, as well as the EP Hou in 2001, but then the guitarist Sugi and bassist Key left. The band was down to a duo comprised of screamo vocalist Daisuke Tsuda and Nao Kawakita, the singing lady drummer, but soon it returned to being a quartet with the recruitment of Uehara Futoshi on bass and Nao's brother Ryo Kawakita (Maximum the Ryo) on guitars and melodic vocals, as well as songwriting duties.
The new lineup released the full indie album Mimi Kajiru the next year, then a couple of singles and another album, Kusoban, in 2004, already on a major label, VAP. This period was marked by their gradual shift from the radical heavy sound to a softer one, with pop elements added into the mix, and the change proved successful with the release of the Rokkinpo Goroshi album (2005), which gained Maximum the Hormone recognition in the national rock scene and enabled them to sneak their first song into anime credits -- the track "Rolling1000toon" was used in the AirMaster series.
In 2006 they made the Oricon Top Ten for the first time with the song "Koi No Megalover," which scored number nine, as well as continued their very successful anime expansion: their tracks "What's Up, People?!" and "Zetsubou Billy" were featured in the final episodes of Death Note -- the series that even had its manga version banned by the Chinese government since its overwhelming popularity presumably exerted an "unhealthy" influence on school kids. Another series to receive musical support from Maximum the Hormone was Akagi (the song was named "Akagi" as well), and the album Bu Ikikaesu (2007) collected all of these tracks and charted for the first time, reaching a respectable number five position. In 2008 the band even made an overseas foray, touring the U.S. and Canada with Dropkick Murphys before switching to a huge domestic tour, preceded by the release of the Tsume Tsume Tsume/F EP. ~ Alexey Eremenko