MIYAVI Announces Album & World Tour 2014

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The outrageous, fun loving and exceptionally talented guitarist, MIYAVI is back on the world circuit in 2014. Today he announced that his album “MIYAVI” will be released throughout Europe on the 24th February 2014 followed by an extensive European tour. The three legs of the tour include Asia, Europe and Japan. This news has quickly followed the announcement that MIYAVI will feature as an actor in Angelina Jolie’s upcoming film “Unbroken”, due for release in December 2014.

European tour dates are as follows:

● 2014/3/14(fri) Paris, FRANCE LA Cigale
● 2014/3/15(sat) London, UK Shepherds Bush Empire
● 2014/3/16(sun) Helsinki,FINLAND Circus
● 2014/3/17(mon) Copenhagen,DENMARK DR Concert House
● 2014/3/19(wed) Moscow, RUSSIA Izestiya Hall
● 2014/3/20(thu) St. Petersburg, RUSSIA Aurora Club
● 2014/3/21(fri) Krasnodar, RUSSSIA Arena Hall
● 2014/3/23(sun) Krakow, POLAND Club Studio
● 2014/3/24(mon) Budapest, HUNGARY Barba Negra Music Club
● 2014/3/26(wed) Berlin, GERMANY Columbia Club
● 2014/3/27(thu) Cologne, GERMANY Live Music Hall

With a career spanning an impressive number of years and themes, and three successful world tours already under his belt, we’re very much looking forward to seeing what MIYAVI brings to the table in 2014. His sound is unmistakable, and his talents are solid. You won’t have seen a guitarist play like this live before in your life. A big fan of drama, we expect the MIYAVI circus to hit Europe hard and leave it with a hangover.

We can’t wait.

In the meantime, make sure you’re following the man himself on twitter @MIYAVI_OFFICIAL – you don’t want to miss any of the random moves MIYAVI makes, especially if he’s on his way to Europe!

For a taster of the upcoming album, check out the music video for Secret:

VK Superstars NIGHTMARE Release New Abum: SCUMS

NIGHTMARE group photo SCUMS

It’s been seven long years since major Visual Kei band, NIGHTMARE very successfully brough their two albums Libido and Anima to Europe, but they are finally back. Their new album, SCUMS, releases all over Europe today; available on iTunes, Amazon and (ding ding ding!) CD.

Just for one moment, let us have a little reminiscence of days gone by. Days when I used to scavenge CD stalls for Visual Kei. Barely ever lucky (never lucky), but always looking anyway. And then one day, behold! NIGHTMARE CDs! A shining light in the darkness for the impoverished teenage Visual Kei fan. Those two albums, Libido and Anima, still sit on my CD shelf now, valuable as the first European released Japanese CDs I ever owned.

Luckily, sentimental value is not the only value NIGHTMARE CDs have either, they also sound pretty good.

Nightmare have not been slacking in their time away from Europe. With 13 years experience at the top of their game, NIGHTMARE have some impressive credentials. Made famous internationally for their musical contributions to the anime Death Note, the band have become a serious institution, and in recent years they have continued to experiment freely. This album follows their usual path of baseline metal, piled on with funk and jazz elements along with gigantic vocals (ironic, as their vocalist stands a mere four feet in height).

The lead track for the album, ASSaulter, not only has a suspicious name, but also has some strange keyboard accompaniment, and an even stranger music video – which you can sample below if you really want to. However, once things get going, I promise they get better. In fact, they get better immediately with their single from this time last year, Mimic. This not only provides a much better music video, but also less weird synth and some nifty guitar. This up and down quality has existed on every NIGHTMARE album I’ve ever heard; brilliance and strangeness mix together to produce an album which is constantly changing direction.

It’s a very long album though, and there are a lot of very bright highlights. There’s Riddle, which contains some very interesting experiments with electro and ska elements. DISSEMBLE goes hard and fast with impressive rhythmic guitar and some super high-speed drumming. Amongst the softer, more toned down tracks, it really stands out. Deus ex Machina, which was a recent single, is another stand-out. There’s some great harmony between guitar and vocals and the melody is very uplifting. The track which stood out the most though, is 404, which is right slap bang in the middle of the album. Packed full of jazzy riffs and a load of electronic accompaniments, this song is the bounciest, most feel good thing on this album. Vocal participation by all band members is required and the overall effect is set off by an outstanding funk filled bass line.

NIGHTMARE use all their many talents to the full. If they have the faintest desire to make a song which sounds like it has jumped straight out a Disney movie, they will make it (and have, in fact, check out I’m not). If they want to make a pumping hardcore party metal track, they will also do that (Behind The Mask). This whole album has a cheerful sense of freedom about it, like they piled one project on top of another until – tah dah – an album appeared.

So if you need an album in your daily life which contains a great variety of music, lots of fun and no small amount of talent, you should probably buy this one. And who doesn’t need that album?

NIGHTMARE SCUMS cover-001Title: SCUMS
Tracklist:
1. My name is “SCUM” (1:37)
2. ASSaulter (3:43)
3. Mimic (3:49)
4. Riddle (3:48)
5. Ame to Yoru ni Ochite (5:44)
6. DISSEMBLE (3:31)
7. ERRORs (3:41)
8. Owaru Sekai no Hajimari ha Kinari (4:22)
9. Droid (4:32)
10. 404 (4:35)
11. I’m not (5:12)
12. Deus ex machina (4:25)
13. Black Out (3:59)
14. Behind The Mask (4.03)

Release Date: April 12, 2013

Available from: Amazon (CD), Amazon mp3, iTunes

New Album from Matenrou Opera, Out Now in Europe

matenrou opera

Magnificent symphonic metal band, Matenrou Opera (Skyscraper Opera) are bringing their new album, Kassai to Gekijou no Gloria, to Europe with Gan-Shin Records. Don’t let the long, complex Japanese name put you off though, these guys are here with good purpose. If you do not believe it is possible to blend heavy metal, choir and electro, you have to listen to this album, if only to prove that it can be done. And it can be done well.

We mourned the end of the glorious Visual Kei project Versailles just a few months ago with the announcement that they would be ceasing activities at the end of 2012. But after signing to Versailles’ record label, Sherow Artist Society, Matenrou Opera have learned a lot from their metal mentors. Their sound has grown more and more complex, combining their signature operatic sound with hard metal styling, plus some surprising electonic mixing.

This album features several singles as well as a couple of B-side tracks and a couple more original tracks. The sound is varied, but it seems that Matenrou have been writing singles keeping an album theme in mind, as there is a definate thread throughout. The same combination of choral vocals along with complex riffs and heavy drumming feature in most tracks. Matenrou’s greatest asset is the huge, operatic voice of vocalist, Sono, which truly gives the band their name. His range is very impressive and his style, which is very quintesential to Visual Kei, is totally different from that of your average metal band singer. Furthermore, Matenrou Opera specialise in writing very fast, long songs. Every track by them resembles a small musical marathon. All of this combined makes for a very exciting, dramatic album. Our favourite tracks are Inovational Symphonia and lead track Kassai to Gekijou no Gloria, as well as the two intstrumental tracks, which are super impressive technically.

We feel that Matenrou Opera are quite a ‘love them or hate them’ kind of band. Metal styled opera singing isn’t for everyone. However,if you enjoy the huge vocals, and the grand choral accompaniments, then you will probably love this album through and through and through again.

Check out the music video forKassai to Gekijou no Gloria below.

I would recomment Matenrou Opera to fans of Versailles, A(Ace) or Nightwish.

128955Artist: Matenrou Opera

Tracklist:
1. -overture- (2:10)
2. GLORIA (5:05)
3. Plastic Lover (3:59)
4. Akuma no Tsubasa (5:00)
5. Freesia (5:07)
6. CAMEL (4:39)
7. Merry Drinker (4:44)
8. SWORD (5.12)
9. Innovational Symphonia (3.47)
10. Eien no Blue (7.44)
11. Midnight Fanfare (4:21)
12. Kassai to Gekijou no Gloria (6:16)

Release Date: 6 March 2013

Available From: Amazon mp3, iTunes, Spotify

New Single from Hard Rockers, lynch.: BALLAD

lynch. artist photo 2013-001

lynch. are generally posted as a hard metal band. In the past when we’ve reviewed their releases, we’ve even gone so far as to describe them as masters of metalcore. However, with thier new single, they seem to have forgotten they are raging rockers and taken up with some melancholy piano playing instead. BALLAD is set for release in Europe and Japan tomorrow (20th February), and this is no ordinary four-to-the-floor release from them.

When we first recieved our copy of this single from their European record label, we were really surprised by BALLAD, and how moody and soft it is. As vocalist Hazuki pointed out on his Twitter, the B-side CRYSTALIZE, sounds more like a lead track for lynch., but they went with BALLAD instead because it ballances out their heavier sound. To be honest, we aren’t fussed what kind of song Hazuki wants to song, we’re sure his voice sounds fantastic no matter what. BALLAD is very melancholic, but with strong vocals and a complex arrangement it makes a very convincing single.

CRYSTALIZE is a more straight up rock song, but wether it was originally intended as the lead track or not, it is too simple to be a single by itself. That said, where BALLAD is full of feelings, and piano, and great vocals, CRYSTALIZE reminds you that lynch. are usually more hard core.

This single is a great addition to lynch.’s fantastic recent releases, and we have to give them credit for their release schedule. Eight months ago they gave us a full album, INFERIORITY COMPLEX. Four months ago, they dropped their single, LIGHTENING. They are piling us with up with great music, and we love that.

You can watch the music video for BALLAD below. The single will be available from 20 February for download and stream in Europe and Japan.

We recommend this single to fans of DEATHGAZE, Gackt or CROSSFAITH

lynch - BALLAD - Artwork-001

Artist: lynch.

Tracklist:
BALLAD (4.17)
CRYSTALIZE (3.54)

Release Date: 20 February 2013

Available from: Amazon MP3, iTunes, Spotify

New Single From DIR EN GREY: RINKAKU, Released Today!

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DIR EN GREY have been very quiet since the release of their album DUM SPIRO SPERO in 2011. And we’ve been missing them and their huge tours, fantastic live shows and top quality metal. Well they’re finally back in Europe with a new single, RINKAKU (Japan release: 19.12.2012). The new single contains three tracks; the lead track, RINKAKU, a re-recording of Kiri to Mayu (a track originally from their 1997 album MISSA) and a remix of RINKAKU by Akira Yamaoka.

With a discography spanning decades, and a penchance for changing their style in big ways, every new release from this band is a new experience, and it’s not always good. With this in mind, we curiously hit play and listened hard with bated breath.

We’re glad you’re back, DIR EN GREY, because this single is awesome.

The lead track, RINKAKU, is disarmingly calm at the opening, with an ethereal quality. Things quickly escalate, though; complex guitar, relentless bass and incredibly intricate drumming all feature alongside vocals which sound almost inhumane. Creepy and extreme, the vocal line of this track soars high into the upper reaches of your hearing. And weirdly, it sounds incredible. Known for experimenting with his style often, vocalist Kyo really brings this track into something special. His experiments haven’t always gone well in the past, but this track is just irresistible.

The second track is equally exciting. With all of that calm creepiness going on in the lead track, this single needed something to bring it back down into the deep and dirty depths again. Kiri to Mayu brings it down so hard, you won’t know what hit you. We can hardly remember the original of this track from 1997, but it certainly sounded only a little bit like this new, big, brutal, raging version. The vocals take an alarming dive into incomprehensible screaming, thrashing and tearing through the whole track. This is thrash metal at its best, and this must sound truly awesome live.

Finally, the Eternal Slumber Mix of RINKAKU returns restless calm. Probably the least attention grabbing of the three, this track was mixed by Akira Yamaoka, famed for his work on music from the Silent Hill game series. Many of the elements from the original track remain, but there is more creepiness and less thundery guitar. After the truly outstanding quality of the remixes from DUM SIRO SPERO, this doesn’t really compare. However, we’ll settle for the other two tracks making this single more than worth it.

It only took three songs and we’re already itching for much more, and maybe even another European tour…

DIR EN GREY - RINKAKU - Artwork

Title: RINKAKU

01. RINKAKU (5:41)
02. Kiri to Mayu (3:53)
03. RINKAKU [Eternal Slumber Mix] (5:24)

European Release Date: 1 February 2013

Available From: iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Spotify.

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