After Japan’s most intriguing new musical export performed its first major U.S. series of concerts on 2008’s Rockstar Taste Of Chaos Tour, D’espairsRay (Dis-pairz’-ray) returns to America in 2009 with its most accessible album to date. Whether tagged industrial, metal, or J-Rock, the band’s third album, Redeemer (Hip-O/UMe), to be released July 21, 2009, is just the quartet’s second to be issued in the U.S.
D’espairsRay rose from Tokyo’s vibrant indie underground scene, releasing demo tapes, maxi-singles and EPs, often in very limited quantities and sold at only a few stores or given to fans at concerts. But the distinctive sound, unique visual concept, and enigmatic live shows from singer-lyricist Hizumi, guitarist Karyu, bassist Zero and drummer Tsukasa soon gained a wide following. The group’s 2003 single “Garnet” became its first to hit the top spot on the Japanese indie chart and in 2004 D’espairsRay traveled outside its homeland for the first time, playing in Berlin and Paris.
Initially, D’espairsRay was wedded to the eccentric and flamboyant Japanese “visual kei” movement, which features striking makeup, unusual hair styles, elaborate costumes, and androgynous aesthetics. But the band gradually broadened its horizons and moved closer to J-Rock, with its glam, hard rock, punk and nu metal influences. D’espairsRay premiered on U.S. stages in 2005, primarily at anime conventions. The 2006 European release of its debut full-length album, Coll:set, prompted performances throughout the continent, including becoming the only Japanese band to play one of the biggest metal festivals in Europe, the Wacken Open Air, as well as shows in New York City and Florida.
In 2007, D’espairsRay released the album Mirror and performed at the J-Rock Revolution event in Los Angeles. Mirror was issued in the U.S. the following year to coincide with the Taste Of Chaos Tour. The late 2008 Japanese release of Redeemer–notably more mainstream, and controversially less dark and gothic than the band’s earlier music–spun off a trio of national hits with the cheery “Brilliant,” anthemic “Kamikaze” and catchy “Horizon.”
With Redeemer, D’espairsRay ventures ever deeper into the musical consciousness of America.
Check out D’espairsRay online at this link.
Let me start this rant, by stating that I love Motley Crue. I rarely miss them when they come to town. I have supported them since I first heard them back in the early to mid 80’s. When the Cruefest 2 tickets went on sale, I did not hesitate to buy a pair. Yes, the ticket prices for this festival have gotten out of control, but that is not my issue with the festival at all.
When Motley Crue started up this festival,they said they were looking for bands that embodied rock and roll. That is a fair enough statement, and a good idea at that. I like the idea of them mixing it up with some current bands. It brings a wider mix of fans to the venues for the festival. The idea is obviously working, as they aren’t having a hard time selling tickets. Cruefest 2 looks to be as successful, if not more so than the festival last year.
So why the rant? I am not so sure the bands on the bill this year is the right mix. I am actually looking most foward to seeing the Charm City Devils play. Sadly, they are only going to get 30 minutes to perform. That is too bad, but Cruefest is going help introduce these guys to a whole new bunch of fans. Good for them.
I admit that I am not a huge Drowning Pool fan. They have some songs that I like, but I must admit that I would have picked them to open up for the Crue. I have heard they are really good live, so I will give them a chance.
I have seen Theory of a Deadman previously. I can not deny that they have some good songs on their disc, Scars and Souvenirs, but their spot on this bill makes as much sense as Trapt did last year. Not to mention the fact that they just aren’t interesting to watch. The last time I saw them, they live performance wasn’t much to talk about. Of course, they played directly after Airbourne, if that tells you anything.
Godsmack. Did Motley Crue get it right with this pick? Probably so. This band is probably big enough to headline their own show. They are going to bring a massive draw to the festival. Once again, I am not a huge fan of these guys, but I must admit that I am curious to see what they can do live.
Motley Crue. Ok, this is a no-brainer. Always a good show, and a good time at a Crue show. The band announced that they are going to play the entire Dr. Feelgood album live. There were already a bunch of songs from this disc in their set already, so this won’t be much of a stretch from last year’s show. I am not crazy about a band doing a whole album in their set. If I were Motley, and I was going to perform one disc from their catalog, it would be Shout at the Devil. Imagine if they performed in their makeup and crazy outfits they wore in the 80’s. That would be awesome! Oh well….maybe next year.
In case you missed it, it was announced late in the game that a second stage sponsored by Monster Energy drink was added to Cruefest 2. There was a rumor that Duff McKagan’s Loaded was added to the bill, and things were truly looking up for Cruefest 2. Then the announcement came….and what a doozy it was. The five bands on the second stage are:
Rev Theory, Shram, Cavo, 16 Second Stare, and a local band from each city that Cruefest plays in. I have seen Rev Theory before, and they are a pretty good band live. They may surprise a few folks.
The other bands on the bill, Shram, Cavo and 16 Second Stare got a reaction from me that went something like this: Who? How? What happened? What the ****? With a second stage they could have turned this already growing festival into a true monster (pun intended). They made this announcement very late in the game, and I am sure booking the stage two acts had to be quite a challenge. Nonetheless, I am scratching my head over these choices. I don’t think any of these bands will draw fans, or help sell more tickets to Cruefest.
What happened to Loaded? Where is The Last Vegas? Is this truly the best you could do? Somehow I doubt it. Maybe some of the bands will turn out to be great, but I won’t hold my breath.
As a whole, I am less than excited, if not disappointed about this year’s Cruefest, but I will go once more to support one of my all time favorite bands. What is your take on Cruefest 2?
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I never got the chance to see the band ICON play live. After seeing the clip below, even with its staticky audio, and dizzying video,I think they sound great. I hope this band does some more shows, or at least records some music together.
ICON now features Sheldon Tarsha on vocals as well as Dan Wexler & Dave Henzerling on guitar. Check it out!