Jumat, 12 September 2008

X Japan



X JAPAN, formerly X, was one of the best-known and regarded bands in Japan in the 1980s and '90s. Their concept was "Psychedelic Violence- Crime of Visual Shock." They are often regarded as one of the founders of the visual-kei movement in Japan, although they were hardly the only band to dress colorfully and wildly at the time.

Their music is a strong representation of their times. Their style started out quite heavy metal although their offerings were littered with ballads as well, including the famous Art of Life, a song which is nearly half an hour long. Over time, their sound became even more varied as the band let their true talents shine.


It was in 1980 that childhood friends YOSHIKI and TOSHI formed a band known as Noise. Two years later, they changed their name to X and began their ascension into rock history. They began by performing at clubs and such with the help of random musicians, gathering quite the underground following in the process. They eventually had tracks on certain rock compilations, which only helped to expand their growing fan base. In 1987, they recruited HIDE, PATA, and TAIJI to complete their line-up and make it official.

The boys were a crowd favorite, but couldn't seem to find a record label interested in their music. With the money from his mother's sale of the family business, YOSHIKI created his own label, Extasy Records, and released Vanishing Vision, X's first official album. It made a large impact on the metal scene, but failed to grab Japan’s attention. However, the metal heads were so into it that Sony Records Japan took notice and gave the band a record deal.

Blue Blood was soon released and became a runaway hit. Songs like Weekend and Endless Rain swept the nation off its feet and gave the band the boost they needed. X was everywhere. Non-stop radio play, amazing record sales, and a slew of TV interviews were all it took to make X one of the most successful bands in Japanese history. Their national tours sold-out almost instantaneously and they became the first band in history to play the Tokyo Dome three nights in a row.

Needless to say, their following album, Jealousy, blew expected record sales away. Unfortunately, all the success in the world couldn't keep TAIJI in the band. He left in 1992 and was replaced by HEATH, who made fans relatively quickly. The band later switched to a different label, in hopes of reaching out overseas. However, the discovery of an American punk band named X prompted them to change their name to X JAPAN to avoid copyright and confusion issues.

The first release under the new name was 1994's Art of Life, a 29 minute album made famous for one reason: it contained only one track! The epic song delighted audiences and shot all the way to first place on the Japanese charts during its release. It has only been performed live once, caught on tape and released as ART OF LIFE 1993.12.31 TOKYO DOME.

1996 came around and X JAPAN released their final album, Dahlia. Only a handful of months later, in April of 1997, TOSHI left the band. There have been plenty of rumors as to why and many fans had a difficult time forgiving him for his departure. Soon afterwards, X JAPAN announced its disbandment. Their final concert took place at the Tokyo Dome on December 31st, 1997, forever immortalized on video as The Last Live.

Rumor has it that HIDE and YOSHIKI were planning on eventually resurrecting the band with a new singer, but that never happened seeing as HIDE died tragically in May of 1998. His death shocked the entire nation and reunited X JAPAN for one final performance: Forever Love, sung as a farewell at his funeral.

X JAPAN's material continues to sell extremely well to this day, almost ten years after their disbandment. Regarded as legends, their impact on the Japanese music scene can still be felt today through visual-kei bands and their unique looks. However, to X fans, the style will forever be known as the art of "Psychedelic Violence- Crime of Visual Shock."

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