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  1. ~Like every year the combination of images and videos is assaulting your web browser. Just give it a minute~ 2016 was an ... interesting year. I came to grips with my status as a visual kei fan of shit turn of the century disbanded bands and ojisan rock, but found new comers convincing enough to keep me around. Albums I had been waiting on forever finally released and invigorated my passion for music halfway through the year like it always does. A few surprises were sprinkled throughout the year and while I felt that the year was lacking in great music looking back it's not so bad. This year certainly left a better impression on me musically than any year since 2011 - and that's saying a lot for me since that's the year that I started doing these lists. Aphex Twin - Cheetah EP THE BLACK SWAN - OUSIA BUCK-TICK - アトム 未来派 No.9 The Dear Hunter - Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional decays - baby who wanders downy - 第六作品集『無題』 Flatbush Zombies: 3001 A Laced Odyssey HIZAKI - Rosario IX -NINE- - NIRDVANDVA KEEL - Raison de etre et de sang 陰陽座 - 迦陵頻伽 Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3 Russian Circles - Guidance 有村 竜太朗 (Ryutaro Arimura) - 「デも/demo」 siraph - siraph Vektor - Terminal Redux Versailles - The Greatest Hits 2007-2016 ザアザア (Xaa-Xaa) - 中毒症状 Thanks for reading!
  2. A universal truth about visual kei is that it is forever changing. The tiniest of bands can grow into an influential force given a few years, the largest of bands can end a legacy with one tweet, and there's an ever-growing catalog of unique and defunct bands lost to time whose talents will never be truly replicated. However, since nothing is original anymore, I'd love to see someone try their hand at it. I've listed a total of five bands or musicians who at one point had a unique, definitive sound I'd love to see come back. D'espairsRay (1999-2007) Sound: Dark, depressing, gothic industrial metal Kagrra, Sound: A classic rock sound with a cultural twist 愛狂います。(Aicle.) Sound: Quirky, turn of the century rock and metal RENTRER EN SOI (up to Sphire-Croid) Sound: undescribable A (Anonymous Confederate Ensemble) Sound: Rock with a cultural twist That's all for me! Given time, there are plenty more bands that I would love to see reincarnated in some fashion. What bands do you want to hear again?
  3. Taste the rainbow For a band with 20+ years of activity and plenty of hit singles along with great albums it's hard to pick an area to to focus on when it comes to the work of L'Arc~en~Ciel. They are my favorite band of all time and I thought it would be great to share some of the variety of music they've released throughout their career. This mainly focuses on the b-side tracks from the many singles they've released and these usually are not featured on albums either. There was a compilation album for re-mixes and P'UNK~EN~CIEL but those were from a few years back I thought I would share my favorites from their b-sides. P'UNK~EN~CIEL (2004 - 2012) P'UNK~EN~CIEL started in 2004 where members swap their traditional roles in the band to play "punk" versions of their songs. Instead of their typical line-up they change to tetsuya on vocals, hyde on guitar, yukihiro on bass, and ken on drums. It's definitely one of my favorite "alter ago" bands if you can call it that, mostly because my favorite member takes over on vocals and he's already a very outgoing, fun dude and it definitely shows when he takes over during lives. Originally they started the idea with their first line-up with original drummer Sakura with the name D'ARK~EN~CIEL but record label issues at the time prevented the single they were featured on to not be released until a much later date. First up on the thrill ride is the most classic of classics "DUNE" and it's a revamp that's a punch to the face of tasty pop-punk flair. The song already has a very memorable guitar riff that has a heavier twist to it in this particular version and gives it new life. It shows when the song reaches the guitar solo taking you a ride of it's own. "HONEY" is already a very energetic and upbeat song on it's own so throwing it into the P'UNK blender gave it an interesting result. It starts with a slower paced rhythmic dance through the verses that almost makes you think that this song is sticking to it's more melodic source. That is until it surprises you with a sucker punch of fast punk style delivery of the chorus that makes it difficult to not get up and mosh to or at least head-bang happily to at your desk... WHAT? DON'T JUDGE ME.... L'Acoustic (2011-Present) Instead of a role swap L'Acoustic is pretty much as it is shown, redone versions of previous tracks played with acoustic style. It began when they stopped P'UNK~EN~CIEL for a much different and smoother type of b-side. There aren't many tracks they've done in this style but I do like it a lot. It's some of their best lesser known songs in a really chill style. Some of them haven't been released on singles yet but they're still nice to hear from the live versions. "Kasou" is already a very chill song but the studio version has more a dark vibe to it given the funerary nature of the song. Making it a purely acoustic track seems to bring it more to life, making it feel like a song that could be played at a wake. It brings you closer to the emotions of loss that are sprinkled throughout the lyrics and instrumentals. The acoustic version of "I'm So Happy" gives it a very lounge vibe with very gentle instrumentals and vocals that sound very unclean. As you listen to it you almost feel as though it's being played in a smoky room with a soft jazz quartet playing a beautiful love song that touches everyone who listens to it. yukihiro remixes When yukihiro took over drums for the band in the latter half of their career he showed off his technical skill by making fantastic remixes of their releases. Most of the tracks have a very psychedelic feel to them but are sometimes the perfect mood setters. They're not entirely my cup of tea but if you're into trippy remixes/tencho/dub then these might interest you. B-sides (1991 - present) Sometimes there is no variation/remix track and instead a regular b-side track is featured like most releases from any band in circulation. Some of them are my favorite tracks and I feel they are special little gems hidden in the rough, especially bravery which is possibly my favorite song from their entire discography.
  4. | From Beehives to Water Lillies illion, is the solo project of RADWIMPS' Yojiro Noda, released his first album Ubu on February 25th 2013 in the UK through Warner Brothers Records. Since the debut of illion, the 2nd awaited album finally surfaced nearly three years later on October 12th 2016. Three years is a lot of time for a musician to grow and learn about their taste when it comes to musical composition. P.Y.L reflects change while staying true to the sound illion represents. This album resembles remnants of Ubu. "Told U So" falls along the same feeling as "BEEHIVE", though that doesn't go to say it doesn't sound new and unique, they're two completely different songs. Both offer complex rhythms (clapping, synths etc), but "Told U So" contains more depth with electronics which makes it feel emotionally heavier. "Water Lily", which was released prior to P.Y.L as a single, has a completely fresh sound. Drifting, or floating is the best word to describe what "Water Lily" should physically feel like. There's a special type of contrast between the echoing synths, the light strum of guitar, and distorted base that carries Yojiro's flowing vocals. The bar was set high for P.Y.L with such a teaser. There is an interactive site here with vibrant and abstract visuals to compliment the aura of this song, where viewers have the opportunity to manipulate the fade in and outs of the song while utilizing the colors and images spread out through the screen. "Highlight (feat. 5lack)" has to be the strangest addition. The beginning sounds extremely relevant to the flow of the album and sticks to the sound illion promotes but it shifts about halfway through when a rap lays over a very sluggish instrumental. This track was also released before the full album just after "Water Lily", but it sounds disjointed from the overall picture P.Y.L should create. A change in musical direction really shines in "85", "P.Y.L", and "Wander Lust". All three introduce unpredictable synth techniques that wouldn't be expected from Yojiro. "85" essentially sounds like something right out of Tron or Outer Space. The combination of soft vocals, an 8-bit bass line, and an 80's synth drum beat makes this the most unique track on the entire album. "P.Y.L" and "Wander Lust" are very similar in a sense that they have distorted synths that sound broken, like when something goes in and out of frequency causing an echo and static. Both have powerful vocal melodies to accompany their peculiar usage of distortion. "Miracle" deserves it's own category for having a very smooth and jazzy vocal melody with a very waltz-y piano instrumental. It's the first of eleven songs and works not only as a great opener but a smooth transition from illion's previous album UBU. There's a singer-songwriter section to this release as well. "Dream Play Sick", "Ace", and "Strobo" use orchestral instruments and progress with a very melancholic feel. "Strobo" combines harp in a circular pattern while the piano reinforces the beat with a few chords here and there making the vocal melody the center of attention. The most emotionally heavy is "Ace" which is prominently piano. It's a very simple track, but the whisper-y vocals are chilling and almost haunting. "Dream Play Sick" is a little more playful with phrase pauses and is mainly guitar and vocals for the most part in the beginning (give or take a few claps, static, disjointed violin and layered choppy vocals that resemble some of the techniques used in "MAHOROBA" from UBU). Overall this album went above and beyond new material. Yojiro Noda really explored and reached a new level with this release even if a few tracks didn't hit home. "Highlight (feat 5lack)" is the weakest but it's forgivable with songs like "85", "P.Y.L", "Water Lily", and "Told U So" that just hit the ball in to a whole other ball park. Support the artist! CDJapan | iTunes (USA)
  5. "セックスと嘘" by cali≠gari stems from "I Would Die 4 U" by Prince Homage or Copy: Both. Can it be both? I'll go with both. "BELIAL" by SILENT DIFFERENCE stems from "ピンクキラー" (Pink Killer) by Dir en grey Homage or Copy: Leaning towards Copy "パラサイトイヴ" by ヴァルナ (Valluna) stems from "「タトエバ」キミ...ガ...シンダ...ラ" by D'espairsRay Homage or Copy: Homage "Psychedelic Jelly" by Lycaon stems from "GET READY FOR THIS" by 2 UNLIMITED Homage or Copy: Neither! "蒼白の底に沈む孤独と空しき疎外感" by VAJRA stems from "冷血なりせば" by Dir en grey Homage or Copy: Total copy.
  6. 和楽器バンド (WagakkiBand) 1st US Tour 衝撃 -DEEP IMPACT- 7/12 CLUB BAHIA, LOS ANGELES 和楽器バンド (WagakkiBand) is still a very new act in my book, but they've gained popularity at an amazingly quit rate. I had the privilege of seeing them once last year at Anime Expo. However, my view was very far back and behind a pillar. Thankfully they came back for 3 solo shows and I was able to attend one of them. Unfortunately, even though it's stated at a US tour, all three shows were in California. Being from Seattle, WA meant I had a mini vacation ahead of myself. The show I ended up attending was at Club Bahia near Echo Park on July 12th. I do apologize in advance for missing some details, as I did photography for this event as well. To make up for my poor view the last time I saw them, I bought a VIP pass (before knowing I'd be photographing the concert) which came with a few plus sides other than being let in first which I'll get to later. Just 4-5 days prior to the actual show date is when I received word that I'd have to bring my camera with me as well. Now just because I had the press credentials, doesn't mean I got priority entry, so the VIP pass I previously purchased worked out in my favor. The venue itself was very small and served as a night club or a place for local acts to attend an open mic night when it wasn't hosting events like these. I showed up about an hour prior to doors, and even though a majority of the line was VIP holders, I only had about 10-15 people ahead of me. When I arrived, the staff seemed to be winging it (which I feel is the case for most venues just some are better at doing it). There was 和楽器バンド (WagakkiBand) staff going down the line and having fans take photos and posting hashtags to Instagram for special items. I did it myself, and got some stickers! So that was a nice and short distraction from the confusion. When I had arrived, the VIP and general admission line had not yet split and I still had to check my camera in and make sure everything was cleared. I asked someone who looked like they knew what they were doing and she informed me that they would check it in as I entered the venue. Well in my opinion, anyone could have walked in to that venue with a camera if they had the confidence to back it up. After she spoke to me, the only other time my camera came up was from security asking if I was checking it as press. I said yes assuming they'd ask for ID and what not the closer I got to the entrance. That never happened and thanks to the idea of buying merchandise prior to the concert, I made my way past the huge line of people waiting to buy things to the stage with a shrug of the shoulders. The stage was even smaller in person than when I looked it up online and just by the placement of their instruments you could tell there wouldn't be much room for movement. I noticed the staff setting up several angles for the photographers pit, which I realized after the fact that they were live streaming the concert somewhere and not just filming. However, the staff continued to set things up and tune instruments in the small confined spaces they were provided and fans started to file in behind me. I know the line for merchandise took a while because people I knew who were in the general admission line somehow managed to squeeze in right behind me. Anyway, the background music got softer, the lights dimmed and that's the queue for cheering, chanting, screaming, and just a raw sound of excitement as figures of idolized band members floated on to the stage. The music started, but it wasn't one of those big bang entrances where the lights flash on and all the members turn around at the same time. It stayed dark. Beni and Machiya had a calm aura about them but showed slight aggression as heavier parts of the song poked at the audience. They were probably my two favorite to photograph and probably the most interactive. Now because of my constant focus on getting the shots I wanted, I wasn't really able to pinpoint certain things with particular songs and after the show I couldn't really remember the order of the songs even though I knew they had been played. Thankfully, I had another person from the same press group with me there for that reason. So I thank her for the in depth set list. But as for member action, these are the things I do remember. The members went off and on stage a lot to transition from full line up to a mini collaboration between 2-3 members. This happened when Yuko introduced all of the members and what it was that they played. Then of course there was a drum off between Wasabi and Kurona which felt more like magic tricks than anything else. That was one of my favorite parts of the show because it was so interactive with the audience and required all of us to chant and follow both of them. They worked together to create the illusion that the sound of their cymbals crashing were traveling back and forth to each other, they battled back and forth, and for the finale the room went dark and they had light up drum sticks! Kurona and Wasabi weren't the only impressive acts from the unit. Asa came out, showing his skills on the bass to tide people over until Machiya re-entered the stage with his signature face mask. I knew what it meant already and before I could form words to express my excitement, "Homura" started. There was also a moment before that song where Machiya took a seat at the front of the stage, showing off his skills and slapping notes all over the place like it was a talent he was born with. He made it look so easy. Kurona then joined him as well. It was a fantastic duo. They played one final song and the band exited the stage silently and quickly. I was impressed by how in sync the fans were in chanting for them to come back for another song. Normally during encore chants, the crowd gradually picks up pace until the rhythm is lost and then they start over. Not this time. I joined in with chanting, and it was a consistent "WA-GA-KKI" or "ONE MORE SONG" chant at a consistent tempo for 2-3 minutes at a time. I'm sure because of the obvious unison in the audience, the band came out for an encore rather quickly. I was excited to hear "Senbonzakura" and found that I knew more of the lyrics to it than I thought. Machiya and Beni both smiled and sang along with random people in the crowd, even catching me singing a few times. Though it was enjoyable, everything else was a bit of a blur. Now, after the show had officially ended, I went to go grab my merch but I had to be quick. Since I bought VIP, I still had a meet and greet with the band. Now I had expected either a signing, a photo, or even a hand shake with the band. It was actually disappointing. They lined us up and quickly ran us through the back side of the venue. A quick high five as you ran past the members and a poster shoved in to your hands right after was all we got. The last time I saw them at Anime Expo, VIP was cheaper, anyone could go to the signing if they waited for a ticket the previous day, and people who purchased VIP got a meet and greet and a photo with the band. Whether it had to do with the venue, time, or the management... it looked rushed and poorly planned. Aside from that, it was an extremely impressive performance and the turn out was really great considering the size of the venue. This was one of the first concerts I have been to in a while where the fan base was very much united and kind. I had no issues with fans behavior in my area and even the people I met in line for VIP were a delight to have around. I'm really curious to see where 和楽器バンド (WagakkiBand) goes after this or if they come back and do a longer more widespread tour. All of the members were really kind and talented and I look forward to seeing them again. I've posted the set-list below: Strong Fate Tengaku Valkyrie -MC- Hanabi Hangeki no Yaiba -MC- Shigin - Koin Kunwo Tazunu Furin no Utautai Homura HAGANE Shiromadara -MC- Yoshiwara Lament Akatsuki no Ito Drum & Wadaiko Battle Hoshi Zukiyo Ikusa ENCORE -MC- Kishi Kaisei Senbonzakura
  7. Ever listen to a song and think to yourself that you've heard that melody somewhere before, but you can never place it? Alternatively, have you ever gotten into or read an argument with someone who says "x band copied y melody from z band"? I'm sure all of us have been there at one point and this is a topic that personally interests me. I like knowing where my artists source their inspiration from, and where their inspirations got their inspiration from, etc., because I believe that no idea is original but the interpretation can be. The subjectivity in how different artists hear and play back certain melodies is what makes music beautiful! ...and then there are times when bands just steal melodies and put no effort into it. Today we take a look at six songs that can go either way. I provide examples, where I think their origins stem from, and my final judgement. Sometimes it's hero worship. Sometimes it's laziness. Sometimes I just don't know. A lot of this was sourced from the "Inspirations..." thread I started a few years ago, but I also did a bit of legwork the last few months to cobble together my own examples. If you see a track here you pointed out somewhere before, odds are you helped me make this list! Remember, these are only my opinions and based off what I can hear between two songs. I am not classically trained in music theory and I'm going purely by ear. You won't see me drop music theory knowledge anywhere in this post. "Diabolic edict" by Ha;qch stems from "Black Valor" by The Black Dahlia Murder "When The Last Grave Has Emptied" by The Black Dahlia Murder "Elder Misanthropy" by The Black Dahlia Murder Homage or Copy: Frankenstein lives! "セラフ。" by KILLANETH stems from "DECADANCE - Counting Goats ... if I can't be yours -" by MEJIBRAY "go ahead" by girugämesh Homage or Copy: c-c-c-COPY...but every band has to start somewhere "The Summer Funeral" by SIGH stems from "Opening Theme ~ Bombing Mission" by Nobuo Uematsu Homage or Copy: Definitely a nod towards the veteran composer himself. "道化ノ華" by アルルカン (ARLEQUIN) stems from "zombie" by Versailles Homage or Copy: Smells like a copy to me but can go either way "Black Butterfly" by A stems from "Enter the Sandman" by Metallica Homage or Copy: Sounds like a copy to me. "Amentia" by E'm~grief~ stems from "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse" by Dimmu Borgir "The Promise of Fever" by Cradle of Filth "Shat Out of Hell" by Cradle of Filth "Honey and Sulphur" by Cradle of Filth Homage or Copy: A shameless mix of three black metal riffs
  8. Beyond the apparent "gender bending" of visual kei, one of the most intriguing aspects of the scene is the rampant genre-bending. Is it a sign of real versatility or just willy-nilly inspiration? Whatever the case may be, today I'm celebrating a special brand of this phenomenon: HEADBANGERZ, or what @doombox helped me to phrase when kawaii goes kowai™! Whether it's through a barrage of double bass drumming, sinister drop Z tuning, or trading in angelic falsettos for demonic harsh vox, some poppy VK groups know how to mosh it out. We all know that production has gotten savvier in the past few years and current bands like DADAROMA, Nocturnal Bloodlust or Deviloof are quite heavy, but allow me to shine a light on some of the poppy bands that are also worthy of our finest devil horns, even if only for a single track. Very few bands actually pull this off, but this Featured List will highlight a few of my favorites. Try not to overthink the fact that these sparkly, rainbow-plastered host boys have the potential to be more br00tal than your hardcore and metal faves. Instead, dial up the volume to 11 and join me in a round of synchronized bangya headbanging. Let's get started! ------------------------------------------------ "ミソギ (misogi)" by キャンゼル (canzel) Your browser does not support the audio element. Release: NeO PRESENCE E.P.S. #3 (2008) Song for comparison: Twilight "S.M.D." by THE KIDDIE Your browser does not support the audio element. Release: elite STAR+ #2 (2009) Song for comparison: soar 毒メスシリンダー (doku messzylinder)" by サウイフモノ (souiumono) Your browser does not support the audio element. Release: くびはねるつるぎ/毒メスシリンダー #2 (2012) Song for comparison: タランチュラ (tarantula) "失望エミュレイター (shitsubou emulator)" by ユナイト (UNiTE.) Your browser does not support the audio element. Release: MEANiNG #3 (2012) Song for comparison: AIVIE "Invarant" by i.Rias Your browser does not support the audio element. Release: DRiVE #2 (2015) Song for comparison: Re:sume "オカルト・キラー (occult killer)" by 愛狂います。 (Aicle.) (2009) "SOUL BRINGER" by SLOD (2010) "Belphegor" by SRASH NOTES GARDEN (2013) "現代病写 (gendaibyou utsushi)" by カメレオ (Kameleo) (2014) "ぼくとタルパ (boku to tulpa)" by グリモア (GRIMOIRE) (2015)* *This one is a stretch, because GRIMOIRE has been fairly heavy in their 4 songs so far, but considering that all of the musicians are ex-PIECE, this one still has the "wow, such heavy" shock factor for me. ------------------------------------------------ And there we have it! I hope you enjoyed reading. Which songs are your favorite from the list? Which HEADBANGERZ do you like that I overlooked? Lemme know in the comments below!
  9. 10 Types of J-Music Fans The Casual That moment when you actually try to talk about visual kei with someone. Pros: Potentially interested in learning more. Cons: Unfamiliar with anything else an artist may have done. The Expat I'm into plush dolls. Native women are so overrated... Pros: Did you need that ameblo post translated? They know a guy... Cons: Will probably find a way to make every music discussion about j-music. The Hoarder The visual kei ward will be fresh af bby Pros: They definitely have that super rare live distro file you've been looking for in flac. Cons: It's just on their hard drive from 2001 packed up in storage. The Otaku How otakus share rarez Pros: Deep and knowledgeable about music, may have variety in taste, love spreading music Cons: Can be very difficult to find common ground musically, don't like sharing, neurotic habits The Historian Visual kei alone would take up half the chart but historians disagree on how many different sub -keis there should be. Pros: A walking encyclopedia of obscure musical knowledge Cons: Doesn't know anything about anyone you would care about The Elitist Start by listening to some real music n00b Pros: Actually has dope music taste (on occasion) Cons: Spends too much time being an asshole, too selective, not open to new things The Shadow Is it safe to come out? Pros: The coolest peeps in the scene for sure. Cons: Rarely ever advertise themselves as a J-Music fan The Bangya Believe it or not they're sitting in assigned order. Pros: They actually support the movement. Cons: Describe going to lives as 参戦 (lit. "going to war"). The Hype Beast This new visual kei band's releasing a 7-TYPE live distributed 30 copy single campaign based on the days of the week all recorded, mixed, and mastered in the same day! Pre-ordered all seven already! Pros: They're on top of everything that's happening Cons: Listens to Instigate the Grief and THE RUDIE SATAN PARK for pleasure. The Tanuki qurl you won't believe what i just found about about satsuki... Pros: They got all the details about everyone Cons: All but one of them are a lie (and they might not know which) I hope you enjoyed the read! Are there any you think I missed? Comment and leave them below.
  10. AvelCain Years Active: 2012-2016 DELUHI Years Active: 2008-2011 D'espairsRay Years Active: 1999-2011 NUMBER GIRL Years Active: 1995-2002 PAY MONEY TO MY PAIN Years Active: 2005-2013 school food punishment Years Active: 2004-2012 Thanks for reading!
  11. Hello and welcome to our second edition of Anime Theme Recommendations (ATR) of 2016! We might not have found this season's batch of themes to be as strong as last season, but there's still a lovely amount worth to check out, so we've comprised another nifty list of our favourites. We apologize in advance if any videos do not play in your region. We do hope you find anything at all you like the sound of, or even look of! Check out certain spoiler wraps for lyric videos with the selections where lyrics have been covered for more detail on that. So, if you happen to share our favourites, be sure to leave a comment below. If you're not such a fan, tell us what we've missed out! We hope you enjoy! Ending to Bungou Stray Dogs Luck Life (ラックライフ) - "Namae wo Yobu yo (名前を呼ぶよ)" Ending to Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 2nd Season Haruka Chisuga (千菅春香) - "Ai no Uta -words of love- (愛の詩-words of love-)" Ending to Gundam Unicorn RE0096 SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:naNami - "Next 2 U -eUC-" Opening to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable The Du - "Crazy Noisy Bizarre Town" Opening to Joker Game QUADRANGLE - "Reason Triangle" Opening to Kiznaiver BOOM BOOM SATELLITES - "LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME" Ending to Koutetsujou no Kabaneri Aimer with chelly (EGOIST) - "ninelie" Opening to Kuromukuro Glay - "Deathtopia (デストピア)" Opening to Mayoiga Ami Wajima (和島あみ) - "Gensou Drive (幻想ドライブ)" Ending to Mayoiga Katahira Rina (片平里菜) - "Ketsuro (結露)" Opening 19 to Naruto Shippuden Asian Kung-Fu Generation - "Blood Circulation" Opening to Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu Konomi Suzuki (鈴木このみ) - "Redo" Ending to Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu MYTH & ROID - "STYX HELIX" Opening to Sakamoto desu ga? Customi Z - "COOLEST" Thank you, and see you next time in October!
  12. Top 10 - Song Edition If you're new to an artist, you might want some recommendations before you dive into their whole discography, and what better way to help you out on that than to present to you a handful of favourite songs from across a band/artist's whole work? You might be wanting a heads up, especially those with a hefty discography, or just a starting point to lead you to the best spot and work your way down from there. Whatever the case, here's a personal list of my favourites by Gothic rockers PLASTICZOOMS. This list is ranked, so the numbers are meant as a specific order in this case. I hope this proves to be helpful for any members who are interested in trying them out, or even encourage other fans to make their own lists in response on whatever PLASTICZOOMS related they might want to also do. PLASTICZOOMS Vocalist Sho Asakawa, guitarist Taiyo Ikeda, bassist Jun Yokoe, drummer Yuta Kurata, and keyboardist Shinpei Morishige make up the band. Their style can be described as alternative, shoegaze rock, but they touch upon many different sounds with each release ranging from post punk to electronic. They also have just as much of a focus on their appearance as they do sound. They're well known for their Gothic appearance, and are more popular overseas than in Japan due to this and their almost Visual Kei-esque attire. They have even collaborated with fashion label Discovered, had a photo shoot exhibited by professional photographer Nao Takeda, and appeared in "The Reality Show", a magazine where they worked with photographer Nobuyoshi Akari and designer Jill Sander. Sho himself has a brand called Venus Eccentric and is a DJ. PLASTICZOOMS are a very active band that are constantly evolving as musicians. In an interview, Sho has even compared the band to a chameleon in that they change "color from time to time" with each release. While this is certainly true, as evident with their first album (Charm) being especially punk influenced while their second (Starbow) has more of a pop sound, they continue to get better and better in my eyes. 10. SWAN 9. SAVAGE 8. THE MORNING SUN 7. Witch 6. WOODS UNDER THE MOOD IN THE LOOP 5. P A R A D E 4. ILLUMINATION 3. PINK SNOW 2. Cry. Distance. 1. Sleepwalker It was difficult just picking out ten PLASTICZOOMS tracks, who admittedly don't have that big of a discography compared to most, but even so there were two specific songs that unfortunately couldn't make it in that still deserves mentions. "MONOCHROME" really can be the only reason you need to check out their second album CRITICAL FACTOR just because of how perfect it is of an opening to the release. The messy yet grungy execution and overall dark sound makes this one an instantly repeatable tune all on its own."The Shadow" is a fine example of how the band used to sound early one, and easily my firm favourite from their early discography. It's a hauntingly beautiful yet quite simple post-rock tune compared to their recent output. So, do we have any other PLASTICZOOMS lovers in the house? Anything you'd like to add, or change, or comment on? Give us your thoughts below! Also feel free to suggest other artists you might want to see be ranked like so: song wise, release wise, PV wise, you name it! I hope you enjoyed!
  13. Here's some great riffs we've been digging recently HaKU - gravity girugämesh - patchwork Luna Sea - Storm MIYAVI - "Selfish love –愛してくれ、愛してるから– (Selfish love -aishitekure, aishiterukara-)" L'Arc~en~Ciel - HEAVEN'S DRIVE RADWIMPS - 会心の一撃 deadman - 盲目の羽根と星を手に (moumoku no hane to hoshi wo te ni) Thanks for reading!
  14. 10 Kick-ass J-rock Anime Themes That You Should Hear! Anime theme songs are often written off as second-rate or derogatorily considered "weeaboo" music, and while this is certainly up for debate, the ORz team has banded together in an attempt to dispel some of those stigmas! While this isn't a best-of list by any means, we've compiled a list of 10 anime OPs and EDs that we feel are musically worthwhile. So check them out and feel free to let us know what you think in the comments! #10 TK from 凛として時雨 (Ling Tosite Shigure) - Unravel from Tokyo Ghoul | 東京喰種 Undoubtly one of the most popular and unforgettable anime theme songs of recent times, TK from Ling Tosite Sigure provides the opening theme song for the animated adaption of 'Tokyo Ghoul'. Having watched Tokyo Ghoul, I'm sure we're all in an agreement of how fitting the song is to such a series, albite a poor series that doesn't really deserve such a perfect track in its soundtrack. Powerfully emotional, sinister, compelling and wickedly catchy, it's perfect for an anime as dark as this. When taking the song out of anime context, it's a masterpiece in all its entirety. TK has proved, both as a solo artist and within his band, that each and every anime song he's credited in grips you instantly, and 'Unravel' is no different. - by @beni #09 スネオヘアー (Suneohair ) - ワルツ (Waltz) from Honey and Clover | ハチミツとクローバー It's been years since I've kept up with anime, so my choice probably gives away the era I'm most familiar with. Most of the anime soundtracks that have stayed with me didn't qualify for this list (R.O.D. the TVs lush jazz tunes, Fruits Basket's beautiful orchestral numbers, etc.), but Honey and Clover just made the cut with its breezy ending theme "Waltz". At least among the series that I'm familiar with, Honey and Clover was unique in its expressive embedding of popular music (such as the legendary band, Spitz) into its soundtrack. The first episode ends with the main character riding his bike through the rain under voiceover. In the background, "Waltz" begins to play, providing a seamless cinematic transition into the ending credits, which skillfully juxtapose the imagery of his spinning bicycle spokes that recurred throughout the episode with that of a fanciful ferris wheel. However, the song definitely works as a standalone track, with its lyrics telling the story of coy first love. All the while, Suneohair's laid-back vocals and smooth synth-rock create the perfect backdrop to the hazy, pastel artwork of this beautiful slice-of-life series. - by @fitear1590 #08 the pillows – Ride on shooting star from FLCL | フリクリ It wouldn't be a huge stretch to claim that this song is the reason that you are on Monochrome Heaven reading this right now. If there was a single genesis in my Japanese Rock interest, and in turn this site, Ride on Shooting Star is it. The Pillows lay down a straight forward rock track filled with simple but addictive riffs. While it's not going to win any awards for technicality, it makes up for that with purity with a driving upbeat energy that really gets me pumped up and in a good mood. About the only downside is how quick the ride is over - at under two and a half minutes I am always craving for more when the track ends, not unlikely the show it is from. - by @Ito #07 Silver Fins - Waiting So Long from Berserk | ベルセルク Seldom do anime themes match the actual tone of the series that they're tied to. More often than not, they seem like their own, seperate entities --promotional placeholders for artists seeking exposure-- instead of aesthetic extensions of the anime's content. Berserk's ending theme, "Waiting So Long", by the incredibly obscure Silver Fins, is quite an exception, though. It's a trudging folk-rock song with an eery Americana-vibe, and a subtely malicious chorus that'll linger in your ears long after the show is over. For a dark-fantasy like Berserk, where happiness is fleeting and sin, corruption, and evil run amok, it's the perfect way to conclude a each episode! - by @CAT5 #06 Plastic Tree - Sink from Glass no Kantai | ガラスの艦隊 This spot might come as a surprise to a few, since it certainly did for me when I discovered that Plastic Tree had a handful of songs as endings for various animes. The lads have only done three anime themes ever since they formed. Glass no Kantai: La Legende du Vent de l'Univers used their twenty third single 'Namida Drop' as its first ending song, Yu☆Gi☆Oh! 5D's had their thirty second single 'Future Colors' as their fifth ending theme, and Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo with my selected tune of 'Sink', their sixth single. While I cannot speak for the anime itself, I think it goes without saying that 'Sink' is one of the classic pieces in Plastic Tree's discography. With profound lyrics, a melodic chorus, and verses that flow like a river - very fitting to the overall sound of the song - it's definitely a stand out Visual Kei song all on its own since this was early Plastic Tree, when they were considered Visual Kei. Equipped with Ryutaro's signature raspy and child-like vocals, catchy riffs, and lyrical perfection (and repetition!), including coverage of Plastic Tree's typical song subjects, from the moon to melancholy and separation, 'Sink' doesn't falter. It's the ending theme within eleven endings of this lengthy one hundred and eight episodes of a series that'll take your breath away. - by @beni #05 凛として時雨 (ling tosite sigure) - abnormalize from PSYCHO-PASS There was a time when the words 'ling tosite sigure' and 'anime' wouldn't be found in the same sentence - an indie band with an incredibly insular sound and two vocalists best described as "acquired tastes" - the thought itself would have been ridiculous. Nowadays, thanks to the success of Psycho-Pass (both seasons) and Tokyo Ghoul, their name is almost synonymous with it. "abnormalize" was the band's very first foray into creating anime themes, and while the prospect of this venture may have looked daunting to fans at the time, the result was a streamlined sound that was amicable enough for anime audiences, but still uncompromisingly "ling". The band had triumphantly transplanted their sound and and it was a hit too - becoming their most successful single to date! A forward-thinking band like ling was the perfect match for Pyscho-Pass's futuristic setting. - by @CAT5 #04 abingdon boys school - HOWLING from DARKER THAN BLACK | 黒の契約者 Howling is hard rock with pop-sensibilities at its best. I've always been of a fan of Takanori's vocals in TM Revolution, but his music always been a bit too poppy (and dear I say cheesy?) for me. Abingdon Boys School is a push against that idea, as Takanori's beautiful vocals are juxtaposed with distorted guitar layered. Howling runs with that idea, taking a hard rock track and sprinkles in DJ scratching and other "bleep-bloops" you would expect more from Takanori's pop work. Normally this is something that doesn't work for me, but it is done so subtly that the end result is a lovely layer of textures is just a joy for the ear. The chuggy break down that transitions to a simple but soaring guitar solo really puts an asterisk on the song for me. And hey, if you don't like the song that much, you will certainly miss it when the anime switches to a An Cafe track halfway through the show. - by @Ito #03 cinema staff - Great Escape from ATTACK ON TITAN | 進撃の巨人 'Shingeki no Kyojin' a.k.a 'Attack on Titan' is without a doubt one of the biggest anime hits this century, having spawned a lucratice franchise of spin-offs, video games, and even two live-action movies. Its massive hype garnered both dauntless fanatics, whom were smitten with the characters and premise, and a fair share of critics that chastised the anime for it's elusive plot and questionable pacing. But whatever you felt about the anime, most people usually agreed about one thing - the music was amazing. Whether it's the epic, Hollywood blockbuster score provided by Hiroyuki Sawano, or the anthemic cheese of Linked Horizon's 'Guren no Yumiya', there was something for everyone to love. Even Japanese-indie fans had something to rejoice in with cinema staff performing the second ending theme "Great Escape". It's a strong, driving tune that showcases the band's pop potential without compromising their indie sensibilities, It's also a song that accurately mirrors the dramatic scale of the series without sounding overblown or unconvincing. - by @CAT5 #02 陰陽座 (Onmyou-za) - 甲賀忍法帖 (Kouga Ninpouchou) from BASILISK | バジリスク 〜甲賀忍法帖〜 The anime BASILISK was gifted with many things; great animation for its time, an amazing story that begins and ends well, and perhaps one of the most iconic opening themes of all time. Without too many spoilers, it's basically Japanese Romeo and Juliet. Many anime fans will immediately recognize the introduction, but most have only heard 甲賀忍法帖 (Kouga Ninpouchou) in its abbreviated form. Even less would know that it is one of twelve songs labeled "Tales of The Ninja Scrolls" (or ninpouchou for short), composed as a tribute to author Futaro Yamada. In fact, BASILISK is the anime adaptation of the manga adaptation one of Yamada's earliest stories, also titled バジリスク 甲賀忍法帖 (Basilisk Kouga Ninpouchou), and he won an award for this in 2004! Thus it's only natural that a band whose lyrical material centers around traditional Japanese themes such as oni, dragons, magic, and youkai to extend their reach to ninja tales too! 陰陽座 knocked it out of the park with this one; the tone, lyrics, and theme all match up perfectly with both the anime and the original stories and it was this song which put them on the map. I'm not so sure what's more interesting; the lore or the music... - by @Zeus #01 Maximum the Hormone - What's Up People from DEATH NOTE It was hard to deny Death Note at the height of its popularity, but when I hesitated on checking it out my friends knew me well enough to mention that I'd love the opening theme to give me that last little push. It worked! And naturally my expectations grew. Though, at that time in my limited anime vocabulary 'great opening theme' meant TM Revolution or Anna Tsuchiya rocking out some insanely catchy, energetic number. When Death Note hit the season's half way mark and "What's Up People" blasted through my speakers it was mind-blowing that music this chaotic and heavy was broadcast on such a popular series. Needless to say, I was instantly hooked on their metal-hybrid sound. While I outgrew the Death Note fandom pretty quickly after finishing the show, Maximum The Hormone remain a band I enjoy to this day. Their music continues to be unique and fresh, as well as a gateway to those exploring the alternative metal scene in Japan. - by @doombox