April 15, 2009

This is visual kei

I have a friend who is a hardcore music nerd. Whenever we meet he enthusiastically talks about the current sub-sub-sub-genre he is exploring be it turbofolk, jazznoise or heavy death ero-tronica. One day, out of the blue, he asked me "what is visual kei?" I have a hard time translating music into words so one week later I responded with a mix cd.

I chose 75 songs spread all over the two decades the scene has existed, limiting myself to max 2 songs per artist. The goal was to give a clear image of what visual kei used to be and what it is today presenting most of the major players but also a few wild cards. It's a massive collection, clocking in at just over 5 hours and 30 minutes, and a good introduction, though maybe a bit TOO meaty. Most songtitles are linked to a YouTube performance!

  4. X - , 1989
  5. X - X, 1989
  7. ZI:KILL - Tero, 1990
  8. ZI:KILL - SUICIDE~想い出なんて…, 1991
  9. BUCK-TICK - 悪の華, 1992
  10. 黒夢 - 親愛なるDEATH MASK, 1992
  11. LUNA SEA - ROSIER, 1994
  12. 黒夢 - for dear, 1994
  13. BAISER - Dye, 1995
  14. D≒SIRE - DREAMS BURN DφWN, 1995
  15. Laputa - Scapegoat, 1995
  16. PENICILLIN - CHAOS, 1995
  17. PENICILLIN - Eternity, 1995
  18. Sleep My Dear - Ask for Eyes, 1995
  19. hide - 限界破裂, 1996
  20. LUNA SEA - G., 1996
  21. Shazna - Melty Love, 1996
  22. Deshabillz - He clever~能無シ達へ~, 1997
  23. Laputa - eve~Last night for you~, 1997
  24. Merry Go Round - ××体質, 1997
  25. PIERROT - Adolf, 1997
  26. Vasalla - PASSAGE, 1997
  27. BAISER - Phantom of Nightmare, 1998
  28. Dir en grey - Unknown...Despair...a Lost, 1998
  29. JE*REVIENS - Garden of E'den, 1998
  30. Lamiel - Eins, 1998
  31. Madeth gray'll - misantroop, 1998
  32. Malice Mizer - Syunikiss~二度目の哀悼~, 1998
  33. Aliene Maφriage - SUICIDE~洗礼の章, 1999
  34. Dir en grey - Cage, 1999
  35. Lareine - Je t'aime, 1999
  36. Phobia - La rouge fil, 1999
  37. Raphael - 花咲く命ある限り, 1999
  38. MUCC - オルゴォル, 1999
  39. Dué le quartz - 卍搦め, 2000
  40. kein - グラミー, 2000
  41. La'Mule - ナイフ, 2000
  42. Noir Fleurir - 時計の向こう側, 2000
  43. Phobia - 「VI」×2 section, 2000
  44. PIERROT - Creature, 2000
  45. DAS:VASSER - Over, 2001
  46. Kagrra, - 刹なる言葉, 2001
  47. Malice Mizer - Beast of Blood, 2001
  48. cali≠gari - マグロ, 2002
  49. GULLET - persecution complex, 2002
  50. Syndrome - アルビノ, 2002
  51. 蜉蝣 - 夕暮れの謝罪, 2002
  52. Blast - dearest, 2003
  53. D'espairsRay - MaVERiCK, 2003
  54. deadman - 盲目の羽と星を手に, 2003
  55. WERKMARE - ウイルス, 2003
  56. ガゼット - beautiful 5 [shit]ers, 2003
  57. 人格ラヂオ - お人形さん, 2003
  58. Plastic Tree - メランコリック, 2004
  59. ギルガメッシュ - Deceived Mad Pain, 2004
  60. deadman - follow the night light, 2005
  61. √eight - illational of the people, 2006
  62. Creature Creature - Paradise, 2006
  63. D - Sleeper, 2006
  64. exist†trace - JUDEA, 2006
  65. KuRt - Nickey Mouse, 2006
  66. Scar. - Blind, 2006
  67. D'espairsRay - SIXty∞NINe, 2007
  68. heidi. - 泡沫, 2007
  69. Rentrer en Soi - THE ABYSS OF DESPAIR, 2007
  70. 新興宗教楽団NoGoD - アトリア, 2007
  71. DELUHI - Two Hurt, 2008
  72. バイオレット - SPEED LIFE, 2008
  73. 9GOATS BLACK OUT - sink, 2008
  74. MUCC - アゲハ, 2008
  75. 新興宗教楽団NoGoD - 万黒深層大サァカス, 2009

What would you change in this list? Which song is your favourite? Did it you get hooked? Changed your mind about visual kei?

I will probably dwell deeper into visual kei every once in a while, so look forward to explore the scene with me!


Anonymous said...

Nice list! Not too much I'd change about it, maybe some An Cafe? I hope you don't mind but I made an upload containing all songs as mp3s here:

ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ryan said...

Nice post, dude. I haven't listened to any visual-kei since my INTENSE hide (& X) fascination throughout all of high school (96-00), so most of my favorites are really dated. In addition to X/hide, I was always really partial to BUCK-TICK.

For me, the most representative and rawkus jams of the late 90s were:
Dice - hide (hide your face)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqc8FzZm71EDoubt - hide (spread beaver mix)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vABxcKbCqtwProud (and ashamed) to say that I HAVE sung both of these at karaoke!

cryptomayhem said...

It was a good idea to put two different Dir en Grey songs and two different NoGoD songs in, ... it shows progression of bands in VK as well as the progression of VK itself.

You may also want to add another Dir en Grey song, to show that some bands moved away from the traditional "VK" sound and look itself, and went for more of a mainstream rock vibe... maybe something off of Withering to Death or Marrow of a Bone.

And... maybe some Psycho le Cemu for flavor? Excalibur, or MDK, I think.

Allecto said...

This is an excellent representation of the evolution of visual kei, but I don't think your buddy is going to understand it without seeing some video. To really get what was going on in the late 90s, it isn't enough just to hear an overall deemphasis on technical skill, you have to see Gackt lowered onto the stage in his corny-ass wings:

Aside from that, this is pretty much perfect.

zytroop said...

@kyui: *CHOUGH*
@ryan: the most awesome visual kei period was around 00, so your dated favorites are most likely good
@cryptomayhem: I think The Final was their final (harhar) visual release. And I never really liked PLC
@Allecto: I have compiled an appendix with pictures and youtube links for him already :)

fei said...

I have to say, that this blog is amazing because it's all my highschool early college obsessions all in one place. This list brings back so many memories! I used to own a bunch of Shoxx's and Foolsmate's and I remember the back of them always were printed in black and white and only had content for up and coming bands that I only knew the names and faces of but couldn't find anything online. It's awesome you put them on this list, and linked their videos because I've never seen most of them before.

I think the song that got me hooked was probably Dir en Grey's Akuro no Oka (I think). I loved them for a very long time. And Kissou was a great album (so was Macabre).

The artist I wish you had on your list is Lucifer Luscious Violenoue because she was I think the only female vocalist in the vkei genre. And her music is quite good. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHHgr1XV9V8&feature=related (this pv is beautiful). Kind of reminds me of Cocteau Twins or Cranes, maybe they were some of her influences?

fei said...


actually this one is probably better

zytroop said...

@fei: thanks. I remember the days before YouTube, you where lucky if you could find a small shitty real video files of a pv taped from a third-generation VHS. We live in better times now!

And I think Akuro, Cage and raison detre is to blame for being most people's entry-drug. I'm more of a MACABRE guy but most ppl seem to think Kisou is the best one.

I did consider Lucifer Luscious Violenoue but I personally never really "got" her, I always thought she was more goth than VK. But I do have an all-girl band on the list, exist†trace, one of the few vk bands consisting of only girls. (another awesome one is DANGER GANG(デンジャー☆ギャング))

Dani said...

What did your friend think about it??

This is very cool! I would've love to have someone make something like this for me when I was new to Visual Kei lol!

I wouldn't change anything about the list I guess. Except...how about Miyavi? :)

zytroop said...

@Dani: He thought it was cool but he is already at his next addition. He is very fond of the stuff from the early, jangly, ninties though. And Miyavi is in there as a Dué le quartz member :)