REVIEW: Hibakusha – Hibakusha (2004)

“Like” the LeBrain Facebook page!


HIBAKUSHA – Hibakusha (2004)

Way back in 2004 we were selling this album in our stores on consignment.  One of my co-workers said, “You have to buy this.  These guys are incredible.  They’re like a local Rush.”  Intrigued, I played the album and put it aside for myself to buy later.

For reasons unknown (probably too much music to buy and not enough money to buy it with) I didn’t buy the first and only release by Hibakusha.  It is only now, in 2013 that I have finally acquired this album.  Uncle Meat had come over to do our recent video, and he reminded me how great this album is.

This truly is a great, world-class album.  You can hear the Rush influences in the lead vocals, the complex rhythms and drum patterns, and the impeccable musicianship.  You can tell Hibakusha had listened to their fair share of the Holy Trinity in their formative years, particularly the later groove-oriented Rush circa Counterparts.  This exists simultaneously with a modern edge; a drony cloud of simple melodic elements that grounds the whole thing.  It shines that a new car, one you can’t wait to drive over and over….

Uncle Meat pointed out that there aren’t any real guitar solos until the final track!  And it’s a explosive solo at that.  The role of the lead guitar here seems not to solo, but to shower down melodic hooks.  “The Moped Song” is a great example of this.  It is a mid-tempo melodic tune with a repeating guitar hook where the solo would go.

Elsewhere, “Is It Concern?” quiets things down, until the chorus explodes with impassioned vocals.  “Televangeline” is a massive, rhythmic machine barreling forward unstoppable.  The album is loaded with great songs, great playing, terrific vocals, and memorable melodic lines.  Drums crash, fleeting fingers ride the groove from fret to fret…there isn’t a dull moment on this album.

“Masquerade” might be the best summation of the Hibakusha sound in one song.  It begins deceptively gently, before turning into in a light bass-driven groove.  Then out of nowhere comes a colossal stuttering riff straight from the Burke Shelley of Budgie school of thought.  The wailing Geddy vocals seal the deal.

My only beef about Hibakusha is the dreadful cover art.  It just screamed “indy” and failed to stand out.  There is absolutely no way I would have picked this album up off the shelves just by seeing its cover.  The cover does nothing to indicate what’s inside.

Hibakusha were Paul MacLeod (formerly of Skydiggers) on vocals and guitar, Cory Barnes (guitar and vocals), Mark McIntyre (bass) and Gord Stevenson (drums).  Even though I was almost a decade late, I’m glad I finally picked up this disc.  It had been a long time since I last heard it, and I am treating it as a happy reunion.

Great album.  Don’t hesitate to look for it online, it is easy to find.

5/5 stars


  1. “They’re like a local Rush.”

    I don’t understand this statement. I thought you were from Toronto? In any case, thanks for bringing this album to my attention. I’ll have to give it a listen sometime.


  2. LOVE this record. Big fn of MacLeod, all the way back to Tell The Band To Go Home and seeing him at the Walper fairly regularly. Definitely recommended.

    Don’t worry, Dude. I’ll do the driving in Toronto for you.


      1. Sure, book it, Dan-o. Keep in mind I am in Toronto (and going to Sonic Boom ) on the 31st of March when we go down to see Bad Religion. So maybe give me a couple of weeks to recharge the finances before we set off!


  3. Great review for one of my favorite records. The Hibekusha live show was out of this world. Hmmmm….. Wonder if we ever met at The Walper .. saw him there more than several times. Paul is a good friend of mine now and we play on the same dart team every Thursday and Friday nights. Extremely talented guy.


    1. Possible we met at Walper, but who knows. How nice for you that you’re friends with him. And yes, he is a very talented guy. Saw him with Skydiggers in Saskatoon, too. Also awesome.


    1. Ahhh Tall One! So glad you finally showed your avatar here!!!

      Musical win for you. This makes up for Moffats :)

      Well you were also into Steve Vai when you were like 16 so that’s cool too.


  4. Yeah, this sounds really interesting. Must check them out closer.

    The Moffats… Kee Marcello wrote songs for them and produced them. Could be a guilty pleasure if pleasure had anything to do with it….


    1. Are you serious? Kee? I had NO idea. Seriously, none. That’s the kind of thing I’d try to know, being a music nerd.

      One of my old customers still insists to this day that the second Moffats album was good, but I have never heard it.


  5. If you like this album I have a deep respect of your taste in music. I literally stumbled across this album on Apple Music. It was suggested that I might like it. Unbelievable the scripted apple wrote to know that maybe I’d like this album. It reminds me of a genre of music that never caught on. There were a few Canadian bands that were like this that I can’t find. But this is a great find.

    Do you recommend anything else… are you even reading this should be a better question as I see this was written what 7 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dude this is so freaky. I was literally listening to this album in the car today. Full blast. Windows down. Masquerade playing as I was on my way home.

      Then this comment. What a coincidence. Just wild!

      Yes I’ll get you some recommendations


Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s