D’espa Members Get Busy

Good news for me any D’espairsRay followers out there who may have yet to fill the void left by the great veteran VK group that, due to extremely unfortunate circumstances, disbanded this year. Although I heard in passing a few weeks ago that guitarist karyu and bassist ZERO were added to the Angelo lineup** and that Hizumi was designing kawaii romping tigers to bounce cheerfully atop Japanese website banners (is this true, or was that a weird dream?), personally I find the most intriguing new venture by former D’espa members to be THE MICRO HEAD 4N’S.

Brand new band consisting of drummer Tsukasa, bassist ZERO, vocalist Ricky (formerly of Dasein– “You’ll be in my heart….yes you’ll be in my heart…”, ok, I’ll stop.), and guitarists kazuya and SHUN., both formerly of bands I’ve never heard of, the names of which were too case-sensitive to remember*.

Well gee, ZERO, I guess karyu’s invite got misplaced.

THE MICRO HEAD 4N’S (is it just me, or are they getting more and more out-there with the band names? Thank goodness they didn’t ditch the apostrophe-trend) will make their debut appearance on December 1st at Shibuya O-EAST’s stylish wave GENERATION live, performing alongside Penicillin, Daizystripper and LM.C.

* FANATIC◇CRISIS and Lastlip

** Not changing the post, but this was a brain-slip. ZERO wasn’t also added to the Angelo lineup, the other new member was former-Vidoll guitarist, Giru. Thanks, Kaxxina, whose below comment made me realize I should switch to decaf.


D’espa Takes Their Bow

There’s a list of bands in the links page, mostly bands that appear on this blog, or that don’t often show up here, but who I listen to– every day, or once in a while-. I’m working on compiling as many as possible. It’s becoming a kind of menu; if a Visualist doesn’t know where to go from here [wherever they are], they can move through the menu, picking out names that attract them. Perhaps they can find a good band that way.

When a group goes on hiatus or disbands, I usually note their status. It’s like a warning: this group comes with the handicap that it is gone now.

When I wake up in the morning and check the blogs, check Twitter (the Visualist’s version of the Morning Paper), a red flag goes up whenever the words “hiatus” and “disband” appear, much the same as the words “natural disaster” and “earthquake” solicit concern and horror in the hearts of normies. Obviously it’s not the same– no one has lost their lives. Actually, that’s not true– a band has lost its [continuous] life. Visualists have lost a lot of lives, if you know what I mean.

I don’t usually have emotions– like a good villain, I wouldn’t actually be able to recognize one if I had it. (Which I think is actually known across the web to be untrue, given that I wallow in a lot of soul-searching emoism through my life as a Visualist) That being said, there are some occasions when I have reactions to things. A text message at 8:30 this morning saying, in effect, that D’espairsRay is no more,  is one of those occasions.

As much as I hate to say it, as much as I hate to put a red marker by that name, it was announced today, June 15th 2011, that after 11 years of solid, honestly badass Visual Kei, D’espairsRay will be disbanding immediately.

 The following messages were posted on their OHP and MS this morning:

Thank you for your continued support of D’espairsRay. Due to Hizumi’s throat troubles, we had decided to take a hiatus immediately following our show at Yokohama Blitz on 30 Dec. 2010. However, after further discussions amongst the four members, we have decided to disband as of 15 June 2011 and cease all activities under the name D’espairsRay. To our loving fans and supportive staff members, who have followed us diligently from our founding on 9 Sept. 1999 until now, we deeply apologize for such a sudden and troubling announcement.All four members are deeply thankful, from the bottom of our hearts, for your enthusiastic support and encouragement. Thank you.
15 June 2011 D’espairsRay HIZUMI Karyu ZERO TSUKASA

“For the treatment of my throat we have gone on an infinite hiatus and while having undergone acupuncture, chiropractic and Qigong, even now the restoration of it is not yet in sight. As a result of the talks with all four members and since we can’t revive activities like this, it is like a natural extinction. We came to the conclusion that we should break this up with dignity.
Please, everyone, who had hoped for our return, forgive us this betrayal it has become.
Unfortunately we also can’t be doing a final live, but I hope we can return something to you in a different shape.
With the beginning of this band, a number of meetings have come about and through joyful, sad and tough times, there hadn’t been a single superfluous experience.
Thank you to everyone who loved D’espairsRay for these 11 years.”

The dream of D’espairsRay we drew has to be given up halfway through.
I am so sorry for the sudden announcement to everyone who has believed we would return.
In this situation that it’s unable to do a final gig, please understand to end like this
without telling our feelings to you.
I’m proud of the bond between you and D’espairsRay which will never change.
I’ll go on to fill the empty space in my heart little by little and to meet you again with a smile.
To all our fans who have loved us, thank you.
Thank you indeed.


I’m so sorry for the sudden announcement.
Thinking back now, I promised everyone that we would come back in the bus during fan club trip before hiatus.
In the interviews and various writings, I also promised we would meet again.
So sorry we couldn’t keep our promise, everyone.
However, this is a positive decision that all 4 members of D’espairsRay took after deep consideration,
so I ask for your kind understandings.
Now the situation still remains the same before hiatus, so we would disband without final tour or final gig.
As a result, there might be some discussion about whether it is good or bad not to do final gig,
but we judged it was impossible to do it with the best quality of our music which we had made as D’espairsRay
for ten years with all of you, so we decided to bring an end without any concerts.
Personally, I haven’t painted a vision of the future yet, but I’ll keep facing forward and look back a little bit.
Thinking of the days in which I can see your smile, I’ll think what I can do myself from now on.
To the most passionate staffs who have supported us all the time,
To all the best “MANIA” who have always believed and loved us,
Thank you so much.


After the announcement of hiatus, I think both every MANIA”and we might spend every day awaiting our comeback.
However, I’m afraid we came to this definitive conclusion.
I’m so sorry to everyone waiting for our returning.
Although we’d continued our musical activities together for over ten years pointing in the same direction,
the feeling is beyond words to bring an end for both ourselves and every “MANIA”.
Because it’s our treasure for a lifetime.
As you know, I apologize you it’s unable to do a final concert because of such circumstances.
D’espairsRay will stay the best band in the world which will be long remembered by everybody even if it disbands.
Feeling proud that I had played as a drummer of this band and also proud of our “MANIA”,
I’ll spend the rest of my life. I’ll live with a positive attitude.
Also all 4 members of D’espairsRay are going to stay the same as before, having a party and celebrating our birthday,
so don’t worry!!
It’s often said that the reason for disbanding might be due to discord, but it’s NOT!
I would like to thank all the “MANIA” and all the people who have followed and supported us.
When D’espa announced their hiatus on September 22nd of last year, due to HIZUMI’s unfortunate throat condition, I think I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that I, along with many other dedicated followers of the band, were thoroughly confident in the band’s ability to bounce back. It was a momentary hitch. HIZUMI would take time off, and definitely get better. I suppose that’s partly why this is so shocking. I really, honestly believed that they would be able to find a cure to help HIZUMI– there was little doubt in my mind. It seemed inconceivable to even think that Visual Kei would lose one of its greatest, most respected, and most unique bands. That one of the industry’s greatest set of vocal chords would be, due to conditions entirely out of his control, be forced to retire indefinitely. I’m not sure what else to say. I think all the Visualists and followers of D’espa already know, and are already experiencing everything I might put into words here.All I really can say in response to this, is that from hereon out, every time I listen to the epic collection of music the band left as their bequest to fans across the globe– a gift deliverable despite barriers of language and location, or degrees of separation–, I will experience the profound gratitude that I feel at having been able to see D’espairsRay perform live in New York City in summer of 2010, barely months before their hiatus.

Before I close out this post in order to cancel my appointments for the rest of the week so that I can wallow and mourn– throughout this post I’ve been trying to figure out, there’s something, some kind of message, that I want to express here for Visualists. That, through the myriad of disappointment, sadness, and regret, perhaps there is something, some glimmer, that can provide some kind of vertebrae from which we can build and sustain the backbone of D’espairsRay‘s following.

This is all I got.

Although there won’t be new releases. There won’t be exciting news. There won’t be more tours, more lives, more events. All that constant, continuous North Star of anticipation and tension that carries Visualists from tour to tour, single to album, has, in so many ways, flickered and gone out– all of which is, especially in this case, a loss that can’t really be expressed– that, really, D’espairsRay as a collective unit and its members as individuals, probably need our support now more than ever. Although it feels conclusive, this “disbandment”. Although it rings as synonymously as “The End” as probably we could imagine. They only disappear from the industry, they only vanish from the constellation in the creative universe that is Visual Kei if we let their light go out.

As long as we carry on, hearing their music over and over again as if it’s the first time. As long as we carry on supporting them. As long as we rally together and, as I said before when they announced their hiatus, continue to support and rally around D’espairsRay and HIZUMI, causing such a universal uproar that his condition has no choice but to completely and permanently heal, bringing the band and their epicness back to us. Although we probably can’t bring them back anymore, we can be a a sky that lets the stars of their legacy shine on– and as long as that light never goes out in our hearts, it can never disappear.

 Right now my greatest wish is simply that D’espairsRay move on to find the next step in their lives as individuals. That each member, whether together or apart, be able to dive into their passions and follow their dreams once again. And most of all, that HIZUMI is able to find a cure that, even if it can’t reconnect them as a band, can bring relief and restore his health and well-being.
 Here’s a box of tissues and a song. You now have my permission to be depressed for as long as you see fit.

Thanks to Kaxxina.

Sources: MusicJapan+, D’espairsRay OHP, and D’espairsRay Official MS

A Ray of Despair

Despite the tough title of their latest tour (currently tearing up Europe), Human-clad Monsters, as of this morning, most of the Jrock community is probably ready to agree that a more fitting description for the band would be Monster-clad Humans, as an announcement on the D’espairsRay official website today shows the band is more human than perhaps we thought.

From the D’espairsRay official website, Tuesday Sept. 21:

D’espairsRay Announces Hiatus

To all our fans who have followed us and supported us throughout the years;

After much consideration and discussion, all 4 members of D’espairsRay have decided to take an indefinite hiatus following the conclusion of the ‘D’espairsRay World Tour 2010 “Human-clad Monsters”‘. During this time the band will be taking a break from all concerts and recording.

The reason for this hiatus is to allow HIZUMI (vo.) to fully recover from a past illness that has affected his throat and made it difficult to sing. HIZUMI has dealt with this rare throat condition for over a year, but the band’s busy touring and recording schedule hasn’t allowed him the time to fully undergo treatment. He currently plans to spend the early part of next year in recovery, and return to the band as soon as possible.

Although HIZUMI has undergone treatment to temporarily allow him to continue the current tour, it is not a permanent fix and there is no guarantee as to how long it will last. All 4 members of D’espairsRay plan to give their all for the remaining shows on this tour, both in Japan and overseas, and thank you for your continuing support in these difficult times.






Even after the band goes on hiatus, we will continue to update all websites and media outlets with the latest information.

While consulting with various voice and throat specialists around Japan we have tried many treatments, but have not yet found one that has a high chance of success.

If anyone has any information regarding promising treatment options, including those done overseas, please contact us. Thank you.


Sword Records Inc.

Everyone who saw their shows during their US tour remembered to buy the limited-edition D’espairsRay hankies, right? Not to try and make the fan-girls cry into them or anything, but it’s that final message that really struck me as the most melancholy. The call for assistance, that seeming plea for help, hit me like woah. I suppose I appreciate their raw honesty, though, rather than some syrupy, vague message we usually get such as “But everything will be ok. HIZUMI is seeing the best doctor in Japan and should be good to go in a couple of months.”

What really shocked me the most was really not the news itself, but more my reaction to it. I realized that in my eyes at least, D’espairsRay was one of those bands that always seemed so invincible. Like the only bad thing that could ever happen would be ZERO’s makeup during their Love is Dead era.

Strangely, HIZUMI is one of a few vocalists who have had to cut out for some R&R time this year. A few months ago fellow Visual Kei veterans Vidoll suspended activities for the same reason – needing time for Jui to overcome his throat condition which went so far as to necessitate surgery. Somewhat recently, as well, The GazettE had to postpone tour dates due to Ruki contracting an infection of the vocal chords. Slightly different in the alignment of physical woe, yet relevant all the same, megastars guitar-genius Hotei Tomoyasu and everybody’s idol GACKT also had medical misfortunes this year, requiring hospital visits for both when Hotei had serious wrist problems, and GACKT ran high fevers, finally resulting in his collapse in Munich.

It’s a tough time to be delivering, and receiving, this message. The band just stirred up a ton of hype in the overseas Jrock communities with the release of their brand new summer album MONSTERS, and their world-tour. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m still on my D’espa-live high, which is amplifying this rancid sense of disappointment by a healthy margin.

I think that the important thing is for Visualists and fans alike to be able to discern between ‘disbandment’ and ‘hiatus’. Even so, in this moment, I am extremely grateful that I had the chance to see them live this summer, and didn’t pass it off with the thought ‘they’ll be back next year’. Although I have absolutely no doubt that D’espa will pull together and HIZUMI will fully recover, he will need some time and space to let his throat heal. Let’s all continue to support and rally around D’espairsRay and HIZUMI, causing such a universal uproar that his condition has no choice but to completely and permanently heal, bringing the band and their epicness back to us.


Finally a VK band remembers that they are not princesses, and make music and a PV with attitude.

The promotions have begun.

Today, D’espairsRay released the official full-length PV for the second track off their up-coming album MONSTERS (7/28), “Death Point“.

First of all, without sounding overly enthusiastic, I must say…this is probably the best PV I’ve seen since, well, a long time. The production is awesome; the fuzzy camera effects that make it look  like it’s about to short-circuit could have potentially been obnoxious, but they were pulled off perfectly, so instead they just added to the overall classiness. The grunge, screamo bad-boy thing, with all of HIZUMI’s wide-eyed bestial glaring into the camera and aggressive arrogant behavior was so refreshing. Especially after I thought they all turned into pimps in Love is Dead (the only thing that was dead was your style, guys.), I realized after watching Death Point how much I wish Visual rockers would start being vain, arrogant, badly behaved bastards once more. Well, D’espairsRay is off to a good start here.

I was also really into the “live” quality they brought in with the imagery. How HIZUMI drops his mic stand and a crew member scuttles in to take it away, when HIZUMI is shaking the camera and being annoying during the guitar solo, and then stalks off to squirt some water on the expensive looking equipment and a guy hands him a new mic. Just really cool elements that completely redeemed that other aforementioned PV that we can add to a forbidden-topics list forthwith.

The guys claim this to be “the most aggressive” PV ever made. Is it? I’m not sure if I would say that, but there was actually real, live energy that could be perceived with the naked human eye, and this, this, is what Visual Kei needs right now.

One thing, though…did anyone else even see ZERO in that video?

Monsters Not So “Human-clad” After All?

Is it just me, or does Karyu give anyone else the creeps? It’s just sort of a casual habit, but I like listening to music while I blog. Lately I’ve been listening to this (yes, this is a teaser) metal song where an intro leads into the sound of sirens. Well, as I was looking at this image, my eyes went steadily from Zero (who finally doesn’t look like a pedophile anymore, thank goodness), to Tsukasa, to Hizumi (nice, uh, trumpet you got there), and then right as they locked on Karyu, the sirens started up in the song–I don’t know if it was just my imagination or not, but the siren seemed to actually wail the words Karyu wants to eat you. I got so creeped out I had to change the song to U+K.

That is to say, D’espairsRay has created an official page where you can check all of the dates and the statuses of each concert in their world tour. Thank you for this, D’espairsRay! It’s incredibly aggravating having to go to each venue directly to check the status. So although they just gave me nightmares for the rest of the week, at least they made my daily life much easier.

World Tour 2010 Human-clad Monsters Official Page