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A lot can be said, positive and negative about the legacy of MALICE MIZER, whether it's the abrupt departure of Tetsu after just one year, the GACKT years, the untimely death of Kami or the rise and fall in the Klaha years. There's no better way to understand how MALICE MIZER went from unknown to legends of Visual Kei than to start in the beginning.

 

In the Beginning: The Era of Tetsu

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MALICE MIZER was formed in August of 1992 when former guitarist of Matenrou, Közi joined forces with the support bassist Mana and the two recruited the former Ner-vous vocalist Tetsu, former ZE:RO bassist Yu~ki and former DATURA (not to be confused with DatuRΛ) drummer Gaz to form MALICE MIZER (a postmanteau of Malice and Misery) with a concept based on the darker side of human nature. MALICE MIZER immediately began activities and released their first demo tape SANS LOGIQUE which had foregone vocals and released Speed of Desperate on the compilation album Brain Trash which featured acts such as ALUCARD, DIE=KÜSSE, THE PIASS and Gazelle. Shortly after Brain TRASH, Gaz departed and Kami joined; Kami being the only other drummer for the band until his untimely death. MALICE MIZER released a few more demos before releasing their debut album memoire on Mana's newly founded label Midi:Nette. Tetsu then left the band at the end of 1994 with a live performance titled Cher de memoire II on December 27th.

 

Taking a Different Route: It's Gackt Time

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MALICE MIZER went into 1995 without a vocalist, but they didn't let it stop their surge as they performed without a vocalist for a sponsored event titled Dai Goya Higeki no Bansan Vol.5 (第五夜 悲劇の晩餐 Vol.5) before Gackt officially joined the band as the new vocalist with his first performance on October 10th Karei naru Fukkatsugeki. The music of MALICE MIZER took a drastic turn and was the catalyst for the rise of Gackt as a performer and set the stage for his continued success after leaving the band as the band went from a Gothic sound to a more upbeat sound; something that became a signature of Gackt's solo career. In 1996 MALICE MIZER released their second album Voyage sans retour and underwent a nationwide one-man tour culminating in a show titled Sans retour Voyage deux 1996. MALICE MIZER continued their stride in 1997 when they signed a contract with major label Nippon Columbia, a subsidiary of Columbia Music Company as well as undergoing a sold-out nationwide tour with STANDING TOUR '97 Pays de merveilles ~空白の瞬間の中で~ and a regularly broadcast radio show MALICE MIZER no Mayonaka no s'il vous plaît on CBC Radio. Merveilles, MALICE MIZER's third album and second featuring Gackt as vocalist is released in March of 1998, the band announced merveilles ~Shuuen to kisuu~ in which the tickets sold out in just two minutes as well as undergoing a new radio show MALICE MIZER no shisetsu hisho no chojutsu on Chiba's renowned bay-fm radio station. However, things would take a turn when in January Gackt decided to leave the band at the peak of their popularity to form own solo project that he continues to this day, simply called GACKT featuring a backing band appropriately titled GACKTJOB

 

As if losing their vocalist wasn't bad enough tragedy struck when in June beloved drummer Kami passed away suddenly from a subarachnoid hemorrhage, more commonly referred to as a brain hemorrhage. With the world crashing down around his shoulders, Mana underwent damage control and returned MALICE MIZER to his own label. Malice Mizer went on to release one song after Gackt left, a piano song called Saikai no Chi to Bara. Little did they know that their fortunes were about to change as their savior was right around the corner.

 

From Rebirth to Climax: The Year of Klaha

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PRIDE OF MIND former vocalist Klaha joined MALICE MIZER on vocals on August 31st and would be the third and final vocalist for the group. MALICE MIZER proceeded to get back to making music right away with the release of their fourth and final album Bara no Seidou and Klaha had his first live performance one week later with Bara ni irodorareta akui to higeki no makuake - Dai icihiya saikai no bara. Sadly, nothing lasts forever and after several singles, a feature length, albeit silent film Bara no Konrei ~Mayonaka ni Kawashita Yakusoku~ and even a concert DVD in 2001, MALICE MIZER went on an indefinite hiatus at the end of the year. Each member releasing their own respective personal messages regarding the hiatus on the bands official website.

 

Post Mortem: An Uncertain Future

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After MALICE MIZER went on an indefinite hiatus the respective members were quick to move on to other projects, except for Yu~ki who's only activity since the hiatus was contributing to a song on Közi's solo project. The aforementioned Közi went on to be in a managare of bands, first with HARUHIKO ASH in Eve of Destiny, then started a solo project as well as XA-VAT, ZIZ, VAMQUET and joined Ryo from 9Goats Black Out to form a nu-goth band called DĂLLE. Mana quickly formed his own solo project that is still running strong today called Moi dix Mois and launched his own fashion label Moi-même-Moitie as well as becoming a producer for the band Schwarz Stein and cellist Kanon Wakeshima. Tetsu formed several bands of varying styles of music after leaving MALICE MIZER with the most notable being ZIGZO and Nil. Gackt has been active as a solo artist since leaving MALICE MIZER and subsequently ventured into film and television while Klaha released a solo mini-album and full length album before disappearing from the scene in 2004, not to be heard from again.

 

MALICE MIZER may be no more, but the pieces have come together several times since the hiatus, Közi joining Mana's Moi dix Mois in 2008 at Dis Inferno Vol.VI ~Last Year Party~ and again in 2009 for a two stop tour Deep Sanctuary; Deep Sanctuary becoming a staple event for Moi dix Mois from then on. Moi dix Mois and Közi went on another, longer tour in 2010, six shows aptly named Deep Sanctuary II which featured the return of Yu~ki on bass; the three reuniting on stage for the first time in nine years. The show featured MALICE MIZER classics such as Saikai no Chi to Bara and Beast of Blood as well as a cover of shock rocker Rob Zombie's What Lurks on Channel X. Moi dix Mois then held a tenth anniversary concert Le dixieme anniversaire Live 2011~2012 ~Tetsugaku no Hahen Dainana Shou Shinen naru Seiiki Deep Sanctuary III~ which saw Közi performing with his new band ZIZ with Yu~ki returning on bass. Sadly the original drummer Gaz passed away on December 22nd 2017, one year before the bands 25th anniversary and the subsequent reunion show last year Deep Sanctuary Ⅵ MALICE MIZER 25th Anniversary Special which featured the return of the trio as well as former roadies for the band performing their own renditions of classic songs, such as former LAREINE vocalist KAMIJO joining for his own take on the Gackt era songs APRES MIDI and Bel Air ~Kuuhaku no Shunkan no Naka De~, cali≠gari's Shuuji with a riff on the Tetsu era's Kioku to Sora and ILLUMINATI as well as Moran former vocalist Hitomi with Gackt's Madrigal and N.p.s.N.g.s. The show featured ZIZ and Moi dix Mois performing their own songs and MALICE MIZER covers with the show ended with a tribute to the departed Kami and all of the guest vocalists singing together for Ma chérie ~Itoshii Kimi E~.

 

There have been teases for years and the band have come back in several shapes, but whether they will return with the likes of any of their three former vocalists is unlikely or at best up in the air with all of them seemingly content with their careers and lives and consider MALICE MIZER a part of their past. The future of MALICE MIZER is uncertain, but it's safe to say that the Visual Kei scene would be shaken to the core if the stars aligned and the malice and misery rose like a phoenix for a second time.

 

Member History

Current Lineup

Mana - Guitar (ex-Matenrou, Moi dix Mois

Közi - Guitar (ex-GIRL, ex-Matenrou, ZIZ, XA-VAT, DĂLLE, Solo, VAMQUET

Yu~ki - Bass (ex-ZE:RO)

Former Members

Gaz - Drums (ex-DATURA, deceased  2017)

Tetsu - Vocals (ex-Ner-vous, ZIGZO, Nil, THE JUNEJULYAUGUST

Kami - Drums (deceased 1999)

Klaha - Vocals (ex-PRIDE OF MIND, Solo, retired)

Gackt - Vocals (ex-Cains:Feel, Solo, YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz)

Support Members

Shue Sakai - Drums (ex-JACK BLUE, N.S.D.P., Everlasting-K)

Kazune - Keyboard (Brain Hacker, Art Cube)

Staff Members

Hitomi - Roadie (ex-Moran, UMIYURI

MAYU - Roadie (ex-LAREINE, ex-NEW SODMY)

MACHI - Roadie (ex-LAREINE, Chanton L'amour

Masanori Yabuki - Roadie (Datenshi Tokyo, Ant1nett

KAMIJO - Roadie (ex-LAREINE, ex-NEW SODMY, Versailles, Solo)

Shuuji Ishii - Roadie (cali≠gari, goatbed, EX-ANS)

 

Discography

 

Albums

(1994.07.24) memoire

(1996.06.09)Voyage ~Sans Retour~

(1998.03.18) Merveilles

(2000.08.23) Bara no Seidou (薔薇の聖堂)

Mini-albums

(2000.02.01) Shinwa (神話)

Demos

(1992.10.31) Sans Logique

(1993.04.05) Sadness

(1993.10.12) The 1th Anniversary

(1996.00.00) Après Midi

(1999.11.03) Saikai no Chi to Bara" (再会の血と薔薇)

Singles

(1995.12.10) Uruwashiki Kamen no Shoutaijou

(1996.10.10) Ma Chérie ~Itoshii Kimi E~

(1997.08.06) Bel Air ~Kuuhaku no Shunkan no Naka De~

(1997.12.03) Au Revoir

(1998.02.11) Gekka no Yasoukyoku

(1998.05.20) Illuminati

(1998.09.09) Le Ciel ~Kuuhaku no Kanata E~

(1999.11.03)Saikai no Chi to Bara

(2000.05.31) Kyomu no Naka de no Yuugi

(2000.07.26) Shiroi Hada ni Kuruu Ai to Kanashimi no Rondo

(2001.05.30) Gardenia

(2001.06.21) Beast of Blood

(2001.10.30) Mayonaka ni Kawashita Yakusoku

(2001.11.30) Garnet ~Kindan no Sono E~

 

OHP

Moi dix Mois 

Közi

Moi-même-Moitie

 

-A huge thanks to @inartisticand the great team over at vk.gy for a wealth of information that without, this would not have been possible.

 

Edited by secret_no_03

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I did this over the course of probably four hours, entirely on my phone, so I had to scroll up to bold, italicize, or underline, etc, so I probably scrolled up around 75 times. It was an enjoyable albeit, laborious undertaking, but I write for a living, so this is nothing out of the ordinary. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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This is perfect for VK newcomers.

 

My favorite MM era is tied between Gackt and Klaha. Gackt had plenty more releases and hits that put MM on the map, but Klaha era really had aesthetics locked down from the visual aspect to composition (not to mention Klaha's operatic-esque vocals are really nice to listen to).

 

I do wish Gackt maintained his visual kei style; Mizérable is still one of his best releases in his solo career imo.

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2 hours ago, ahnchc said:

I do wish Gackt maintained his visual kei style; Mizérable is still one of his best releases in his solo career imo.

From what I've heard as rumors in the past, Mizérable (as well as Vanilla) were originally intended for a possible MM album (assuming he stayed) that never was.

I do agree that Gackt was way better as a VK artist, but the way he had distanced himself (and kept his musical contributions to himself too) near the end of his era with MM, tells us that he wanted more.

 

@secret_no_03 I enjoyed the entire read, and appreciate this huge contribution.

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2 minutes ago, YuyoDrift said:

From what I've heard as rumors in the past, Mizérable (as well as Vanilla) were originally intended for a possible MM album (assuming he stayed) that never was.

I do agree that Gackt was way better as a VK artist, but the way he had distanced himself (and kept his musical contributions to himself too) near the end of his era with MM, tells us that he wanted more.

 

@secret_no_03 I enjoyed the entire read, and appreciate this huge contribution.

🙏

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This is a very good article ^^ thanks a lot for writing, my favorite Malice Mizer era is of course with Gackt, and I've been following his solo career since then, I think Gackt was not able to show his true talent while he was in MM and he wanted to be the leader of his career/musical project. When you have two people like that who have the strength to be a leader, like Gackt and Mana, it's better for them to be separated and form their own projects, two alphas cannot rein the same group xD  it's basic math/nature hahaha

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Just now, deedlitmurata said:

This is a very good article ^^ thanks a lot for writing, my favorite Malice Mizer era is of course with Gackt, and I've been following his solo career since then, I think Gackt was not able to show his true talent while he was in MM and he wanted to be the leader of his career/musical project. When you have two people like that who have the strength to be a leader, like Gackt and Mana, it's better for them to be separated and form their own projects, two alphas cannot rein the same group xD  it's basic math/nature hahaha

🙏Thank you for your kind words. Very true, the egos in that band, no wonder they had so many departures. Gackt has certainly been a lot more successful on his own and that's saying something.

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They're too linked to my late adolescence for me to ever rate them objectively. I'll forever associate them with Naruto AMVs and embarrassing early 2000s forums where we all used signature banners made for us by the one guy there who knew how to use photoshop filters.

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2 hours ago, hopefully_benign said:

They're too linked to my late adolescence for me to ever rate them objectively. I'll forever associate them with Naruto AMVs and embarrassing early 2000s forums where we all used signature banners made for us by the one guy there who knew how to use photoshop filters.

Thanks for this💜

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I may be in the minority here... I love all eras, don’t get me wrong, but Klaha era is one of the best things to ever happen to VK  to music. Bara no Seidou, especially. That album is pure beauty. I remember when I first heard it... when it ended, I was like “where TF was I for the past 51 minutes and 42 seconds?” It just transports the listener in its own world. The picture it paints is second in vividness only to Dir en grey’s Dum Spiro Spero, and far more delicate. It’s like it’s a whole album-length song, honestly. I can’t even think of listening to the songs alone (with the exception of “Kyomu no Naka de no Yuugi”). 

 

Anyone here agree?

 

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18 hours ago, R/O said:

I may be in the minority here... I love all eras, don’t get me wrong, but Klaha era is one of the best things to ever happen to VK  to music. Bara no Seidou, especially. That album is pure beauty. I remember when I first heard it... when it ended, I was like “where TF was I for the past 51 minutes and 42 seconds?” It just transports the listener in its own world. The picture it paints is second in vividness only to Dir en grey’s Dum Spiro Spero, and far more delicate. It’s like it’s a whole album-length song, honestly. I can’t even think of listening to the songs alone (with the exception of “Kyomu no Naka de no Yuugi”). 

 

Anyone here agree?

 

Klaha's voice definitely conveys so many emotions, especially with the beautiful compositions it's layered over.

 

Klaha era delivers solitude and sorrow, Gackt era delivers joy and love, and Tetsu era delivers anxiety and uncertainty.

 

I'd never be able to pick a favorite era because each one conveys something different and does it exceptionally well.

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@R/O I feel this so much, Bara no seidou was one of the best discoveries this year for me, I love this album so much, it really feels like you’re captivated into another world, and thats a feeling I got with old Cradle of Filth albums the last time.

and Klahas voice is amazing (but I love Gackto 🥰). his vibrato is really something

 

 

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I felt based on Deep Sanctuary, Kamijo was a really great fit for them. I think it's because I hear elements of the three original vocalists in his voice; Klaha's 'smoothness', Gackt's general tone and slight nasality, Tetsu's power and vibrato. If they ever get back together in an official sense, I'd really like to have him on the records. Though, I thought all three did well, so I wouldn't be disappointed about any of them.

In a general sense, I find it a little strange that despite their immense popularity, there haven't been a lot of other acts that have tried to recreate a similar sound of any of their eras (at least, that I know of). They've got a sound that is uniquely Malice Mizer. On one hand, I think it's great they're still so prolific, on the other, I'm sad we haven't had more music like it.

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3 hours ago, astra☆ said:

I felt based on Deep Sanctuary, Kamijo was a really great fit for them. I think it's because I hear elements of the three original vocalists in his voice; Klaha's 'smoothness', Gackt's general tone and slight nasality, Tetsu's power and vibrato. If they ever get back together in an official sense, I'd really like to have him on the records. Though, I thought all three did well, so I wouldn't be disappointed about any of them.

In a general sense, I find it a little strange that despite their immense popularity, there haven't been a lot of other acts that have tried to recreate a similar sound of any of their eras (at least, that I know of). They've got a sound that is uniquely Malice Mizer. On one hand, I think it's great they're still so prolific, on the other, I'm sad we haven't had more music like it.

It’s weird, because while Kamijo is—as you said—the better fit on paper, it sounds like there was more chemistry with Hitomi.  I can’t quite describe it... but it sounded way less scripted. I wasn’t gonna put a penny on them getting properly back together until I heard “N•p•s N•g•s”. That song was just so coordinated. Now... I don’t see them back “full time” because I don’t think the guitarists would be able to balance the creative input like that (keep in mind that they’re both bandleaders now), but I wouldn’t rule out the band being revived as a side project type of thing.

 

As for “no imitators”... well... 

 

Edited by R/O

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5 hours ago, astra☆ said:

In a general sense, I find it a little strange that despite their immense popularity, there haven't been a lot of other acts that have tried to recreate a similar sound of any of their eras (at least, that I know of). They've got a sound that is uniquely Malice Mizer. 

Being thinking about this a lot recently...

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2 hours ago, R/O said:

It’s weird, because while Kamijo is—as you said—the better fit on paper, it sounds like there was more chemistry with Hitomi.  I can’t quite describe it... but it sounded way less scripted. I wasn’t gonna put a penny on them getting properly back together until I heard “N•p•s N•g•s”. That song was just so coordinated. Now... I don’t see them back “full time”, but I wouldn’t rule out the band being revived as a side project type of thing.

 

As for “no imitators”... well... 

 

Truthfully, I don't hear a lot of MM in that aside from the intro. The Klaha era did make aristocrat popular, along with the theme of vampires and roses so I suppose there is thematic imitation with this band (and Versailles as well). I suppose when I think of Malice Mizer, I think of the heavily chorused twin guitars, accordions, violins etc all around more 'romantic' sound which made up the sound of 3/4 of their albums.

 

I just had a listen to the performances again. I still think Kamijo's general tone sits the best with the music; this is what I'm judging most. I also think his intonation compliments the music and I really enjoyed how he and Kozi sounded together in the moments where they both sang. So that I don't sound like a fanboy, I do have one negative, and that he is a very powerful singer, and this can be an issue for those moments when the music requires him to be softer.

What I noticed with Hitomi was that in Madrigal's chorus, he was very flat in some of the higher notes. In his defense though, Gackt sings in a deceptively high register so I won't be too harsh about this. His voice also weakens on sustained notes. Pay close attention, and you'll hear a little warble and a bit of strain at times.

I listened to a few Moran songs just to see his quality on a recording, and I think Hitomi did well there. The songs were just a little lower to fit his range better, and the high tempo allowed for his singing to be more staccato than the MM songs, which I feel fits him best and ultimately I enjoyed these songs. I believe for him to work in MM, they'd have to switch to a higher paced type of music though, which I don't really associate them with outside of a few songs such as Brise.

I did really like Shuji on Kioko to Sora though. He does a great Tetsu and I think he'd be best if they went for more guitar-centric music like on Memoire and Voyage.

Ultimately, none were bad, it really depends on the song! I still feel Kamijo was the best fit overall. And he got a rare smile out of Yu~ki, so bonus points for that!

 

52 minutes ago, saiko said:

Being thinking about this a lot recently...

Share more of your thoughts!

Edited by astra☆

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6 hours ago, astra☆ said:

Truthfully, I don't hear a lot of MM in that aside from the intro. The Klaha era did make aristocrat popular, along with the theme of vampires and roses so I suppose there is thematic imitation with this band (and Versailles as well). I suppose when I think of Malice Mizer, I think of the heavily chorused twin guitars, accordions, violins etc all around more 'romantic' sound which made up the sound of 3/4 of their albums.

 

I just had a listen to the performances again. I still think Kamijo's general tone sits the best with the music; this is what I'm judging most. I also think his intonation compliments the music and I really enjoyed how he and Kozi sounded together in the moments where they both sang. So that I don't sound like a fanboy, I do have one negative, and that he is a very powerful singer, and this can be an issue for those moments when the music requires him to be softer.

What I noticed with Hitomi was that in Madrigal's chorus, he was very flat in some of the higher notes. In his defense though, Gackt sings in a deceptively high register so I won't be too harsh about this. His voice also weakens on sustained notes. Pay close attention, and you'll hear a little warble and a bit of strain at times.

I listened to a few Moran songs just to see his quality on a recording, and I think Hitomi did well there. The songs were just a little lower to fit his range better, and the high tempo allowed for his singing to be more staccato than the MM songs, which I feel fits him best and ultimately I enjoyed these songs. I believe for him to work in MM, they'd have to switch to a higher paced type of music though, which I don't really associate them with outside of a few songs such as Brise.

I did really like Shuji on Kioko to Sora though. He does a great Tetsu and I think he'd be best if they went for more guitar-centric music like on Memoire and Voyage.

Ultimately, none were bad, it really depends on the song! I still feel Kamijo was the best fit overall. And he got a rare smile out of Yu~ki, so bonus points for that!

 

I totally get where you’re coming from... I suspect they, for one reason or another, worked more with Hitomi than with the others. Or that there simply was some kind of chemistry at play. With Shuji and Kamijo they sounded way more scripted than with Hitomi. 

 

Plus, I feel Shuji would be redundant—any formation that could be called in good faith “Malice Mizer” would already have a high-pitched, aggressive vocalist anyway. Shuji is a few miles better than him, true, but it’s not a vocal style I see any kind of a reformed MM doing too often. 

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