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.