Although we’ve been making an awful lot of fuss about GACKT’s solo activities turning a whopping 10 this year– GACKT isn’t the only one who should be getting a clap on the back. Celebration should also rain upon the shoulders of popular Jrock group D’espairsRay.
Their anniversary will fall on September 9th, and to mark the occasion, D’espairsRay will hold a free live event at Shibuya- AX in Tokyo.
For anyone lucky enough to be in Tokyo to be able to celebrate with the band and other fans, the event will be (as mentioned) at SHIBUYA-AX in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept. 9th, 2009. Numbered tickets will be released after 12:00 PM on the day of the performance. Time: Opens at 18:09 (6:09)/ Performance begins at 19:09 (7:09) PM. Please arrive at the venue at 17:30 (5:30) to assemble and collect tickets. SHIBUYA-AX can accommodate 1500+ people, but get your tickets asap, because this will get filled up fast.
To commemorate their ten years of activity, D’espairsRay will also release a new single, FINAL CALL.
Started up September 9th, 1999 in Tokyo, D’espairsRay is: HIZUMI (vo), Karyu (gt), ZERO (ba), and TSUKASA (dr). D’espairsRay kicked off as an indie Visual Kei band that started with limited pressings of singles and EP releases– releasing batches in numbers as few as 1,000, it was inevitable that the industrial-rock /Visual band would sell out immediately. And so they did. Following the release of the EP Terrors, the band gained popularity, enabling them to move out of the local/indie scene and move onto the path of international success.
2002-2004 brought about the release of several more EPs, and several singles, including the extremely popular single Garnet (2003), which hit the top of the indies-charts. In 2004 they made their first international appearances with performances in Berlin and Paris– which was the beginning of a generous international career to complement their ever-growing Japanese fandom.
2005 brought the release of their first live dvd, Murder Day Live, which was quickly followed up by their first full-length album, Coll: set. In January, 2006, the album was released internationally– and the band held its hand, touring in Europe and North America, appearing in a total of 9 countries and astounding an accumulative 15,000 foreign fans. In August of 2006 they became the first Japanese band to perform at the Wacken Open Air– one of the largest metal fests in Europe. In 2007 D’espairsRay performed at the J-Rock Revolution event in Los Angeles, California, as well as the rock festivals TUSKA OPEN AIR and RUISROCK in Finland. They participated in the ROCKSTAR TASTE OF CHAOS TOUR (2008 was the first year to introduce Japanese artists), alongside Visual bands MUCC and The Underneath.
Along with 12 singles and 3 EPs, D’espairsRay‘s discography includes 3 full-length albums: Coll:set (June 29th, 05), Mirror (April 11th, 07), and Redeemer (March 11, 09).
Although, as in the case of most Jrock bands, it would be a disservice to the band to slap them into one or another musical genre, one could say they fit most comfortably into the industrial/hard-rock, metal, and occassionally screamo facets of Jrock. Their image and style dances on the outer edge of Visual Kei, seemingly unwilling to commit. But that’s fine by us– you won’t find communist Visualists here!
Vocalist HIZUMI has that classic Jrocker voice that we just can’t get enough of– but his dedication to hardcore and desire to scream his bold vocal-chords seemingly to shreds keeps the sound up and out in the open. Their music is unique and bold, combining garage-y, grungy guitar riffs with eerie underlying melodies that come together in a conglomeration of wicked heavy Jrock….well, I dunno, Jrock.
From what you can see watching the videos (yup, I’m making bristly remarks relating to my geographical disabilities), they deliver a strong, passionate performance and all the members have distinct, cool (in an angry, make-me-care sort of way) style and brooding charisma.
Yup– they’re hardcore (for a Jrock band), but even so– they know how to play the heavy and work the screamo so that they remain very accessible even to people who don’t prefer an ear-bleed every time they put their headphones on. If you haven’t checked out D’espairsRay yet, then I highly recommend you do so now. If you’re coming to this now as a long-standing fan, then pull out your collection and get listening! No better time to reconnect with a favorite band than at their ten-year mark. After all, for Jrockers, they’re just getting started.
I’ll leave you now with their spooky video for the latest album title song, Redeemer. Do not watch right before bed. This is Gacktpause, over and out.
D’espairsRay Official Website (Japanese, English)
D’espairsRay Official MySpace (Japanese, English)