Last time we discussed Doujin Metal under the theme of "Japanese Metal", but this time we would like to take on V-Kei (V-Style) Metal as another style of "Japanese Metal"! Some hardcore metal heads may reject listening to “Visual-Kei” or “V-Kei”. However, it is probably more difficult to find young to middle age metal artists currently active in Japan who have not been influenced by visual bands such as X-JAPAN. In this sense, I personally believe that V-Kei Metal is a legitimate evolution of domestic metal.
Nevertheless, if you start discussing V-Kei Metal, the discussion will go on indefinitely to include DELUHI to D, so this time we will introduce only V-Kei metal bands that include elements of modern metal!
■ JILUKA / Twisted Pain
V-Kei metal band formed in 2013 and went full-scale in 2015 after a transition of members. After guitarist Sena was featured in a certain guitar magazine, there may be many metal guitarists who have heard only the name. This time, we will introduce straight V-Kei metal songs that transition between technical and extreme parts to catchy choruses. Despite the modern musicality, my personal best point of the band is that the instruments used are surprisingly old school.
■ DEVILOOF / ISHTAR
A fusion of V-Kei and Deathcore formed in 2015. In 2018, they signed with 9th Records, a label under Danger Crue Records. After some members withdrew and others joined, the current lineup was set in March 2019. The musicality declares "the most brutal and fastest in the scene", and includes elements of Brutal Death and Technical Death as well as Deathcore. Members say that the band has a violent sound that appeals to the male listener more-so. This time, we introduced a very brutal tune that completely eliminates the clean voice.
■ DEXCORE / DON’T BE AFRAID
Formed in 2016 by vocal Kagami and drummer Naoki (DEATHGAZE). After a transition of members, the current line-up was established in May 2019. As of December 2019, they have released four singles and two limited distribution singles, and the band expects there is a full album to come. Kagami's clean voice is one of my favorite voice qualities in V-Kei Modern Metal, but this time I will introduce tunes that make use of the clean voice and have a sharp contrast between beauty and ugliness.
■ NAZARE / Koufukuron
Formed in 2018, focusing on former DIMLIM member Issei (drums). Starting with the members' identities completely shrouded, tickets sold out the same day when the information ban and the one-man live was announced. It is a band that has attracted a great deal of attention since its inception, with the final performances of the five major city tour decided, with additional performances being sold out on the same day. Depending on the tune, a Djent / progressive metal approach utilizing an 8-string guitar is also apparent, and the fact that the arrangement does not become overly intense is also attractive.
So! We have introduced our recommended V-Kei Metal bands. Some overseas bands cover X-JAPAN songs, and in recent years there are bands that clearly feel like they have been influenced by Japanese V-Kei bands, but the more I listen, the more arrangement I hear that I strongly believe have the vocal quality of clean voices and melody that is prominent in Japanese. With this in mind, I'm hoping to have influenced at least one Metal Head to become interested in V-Kei Metal, and will end on that note!