Wrench earned critical acclaim in their homeland of Japan for their energetic fusion of metal, hip-hop, and techno, without ever translating this praise into mainstream chart success.
Wrench have toured with likes of compatriots Mad Capsule Markets, with whom they share a love of high-speed metal riffage and frenetic dance rhythms that draw from industrial music. Influenced by the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, and U.K. progressive rock and club music, vocalist Shige, guitarist Azuma Sakamoto, bassist Tomohiro Matsuda and drummer Murochin formed the band in 1992, quickly throwing themselves into Tokyo's alternative live scene. The quartet released their debut single, "Wrench," on the indie imprint ZK Records in 1994, following it up in 1996 with their debut album, Black Holiday. One track from the album, "Sky," was remixed by renowned DJs Ken Ishii and Shakkazombie, the latter giving the song a hip-hop reworking. The band was evidently impressed with the results, because hip-hop became an increasingly dominant part of Wrench's sound from then on. Wrench could still be seen flexing their rock muscles, though, and the following year they opened for Rollins Band before releasing their second album, Wandering in the Emptiness. In 1998, Wrench played their biggest show to date at the Tokyo punk festival Air Jam '98, which drew a crowd of around 30,000. Wrench has since gone on to play most of Japan's major festivals, including Summer Sonic, Rising Sun Rock Festival, and the second main stage at Fuji Rock. A slot at Austin, TX's South by Southwest in 2001 introduced the band to a U.S. audience for the first time. Having already demonstrated a willingness to work with club DJs, Wrench went the whole hog in 2003 and released a remix album that saw their work reimagined by an impressive cast that included the likes of Yamataka Eye of Boredoms and Mad Capsule Markets' Takeshi. Wrench cemented their love of dark industrial dance music with a cover of Nitzer Ebb's "Murderous" for the 2005 compilation album Fine Time 2: A Tribute to New Wave compilation album (Universal), which also featured contributions from Yura Yura Teikoku, Otomo Yoshihide, and Friction's Reck. The same year saw Wrench support uncompromising U.S. rock duo Lightning Bolt on a series of dates across Japan. Wrench released their eighth album (and first in three years) Nitro in 2007. This was followed up by 2008's drub, an album that saw the band collaborate with Guitar Wolf's Seiji, heart-throb actor Tadanobu Asano (Mongol), Takkyu Ishino (Denki Groove), and Hifana. ~ David Hickey, Rovi