Tokyo Damage Report

gekiteki 4 : pagan

Religion is another way to mix up East and West. Some of these bands are serious, deep Buddhists, and some are metal-heads who embrace  Japanese pagan or shamanic stuff in order to reject Christianity and Christian Rock (this is a common theme of metal worldwide ever since Norwegian rockers started wearing Ren-faire garb and singing about Thor in the early '90s)


people

 

 

MEANING :
CITY . . :
ERA . . . :  1971
SOUND . . :  psychedelic
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : Bhuddist sutras (shomyo)
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :
CLIQUE . . . :
STYLE . . . :  pagan
ALBUM TO GET . . . :  Buddha Meet Rock
WEB . . . :  prog archives
TDR REPORT . . .:

People was some session musicians who got together to experiment with the theme "rock plus buddhist sutras". It didn't go very well – lots of terrible blues guitar solos and confused minimal bits where nothing goes on. But hey – it's the first time anyone tried combining Japanese religion and rock. Here is the only halfway good song:

 

 


 


GARGOYLE

 

MEANING :
CITY . . :  Osaka
ERA . . . : ‘87~
SOUND . . : metallica
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . : kimono
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :
CLIQUE . . . :
STYLE . . . :  pagan
ALBUM TO GET . . . :  aratama?? Only one I know of.
WEB . . . : http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Gargoyle/15822
TDR REPORT . . .:
Cheesy visuals  . . .songs are all about  Japanese mythology.
 
Like a lot of VK bands, their fans were young girls, but as the band aged and the girls graduated to other things,  their fans turned into old nerd men. the same age as the band!
 
Same phenomenon as morning musume.
 
Wtf Japan?!?
 
 

 


五人一首 (gonin isshu)


MEANING :

literally “five people, one neck”, this appears to be a take-off of hyakunin isshu, which is a hundred-card card game based on the form of poetry known as tanka (sort of a grown-up precursor to the kids’ card-game karuta). Anyway there are five people in this band so it seems they changed hyakunin (100 people) to gonin (5 people)!
CITY . . : tokyo
ERA . . . : 1997~
SOUND . . : progressive melodic death metal
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : vocal melodies, 作務衣 (monk’s work clothes), yokai
CLIQUE . . . : sigh (same drummer)
STYLE . . . : pagan
ALBUM TO GET . . . : Naishikyo-Sekai ???
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE : general old-times Japan
WEB . . . : http://www.gonin-ish.com/ myspace
TDR REPORT . . .:

 

Their lyrics are about yokai (traditional monsters and faries of traditional folk-tales)
Their sound is very influenced by Dream Theater and kinniku shoujotai
 

 


 

凶音 (magane)


MEANING : : : most horrible or ill-fated sound.
CITY . . : tokyo
ERA . . . : 1999 ~2005
SOUND . . : black metal
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : Shinto mysticism, kimono, onkai (a Japanese scale)
CLIQUE . . . : sigh
STYLE . . . : pagan
Shinto. Early Japanese b.m.
ALBUM TO GET . . . : Mortes Saltantes Full-length, 1999 , Beginning at the End Full-length, 2003
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . : They’d wear kimono and shironuri. The vocal was a skinhead who would paint extra eyes all over his head.
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE : early Shinto times of Japan – I guess you could say it was Japan's bronze age.

WEB . . . : myspace , http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/ro/yomituti/
TDR REPORT . . .:

The first black metal band in Japan, before Sigh, though they did often play together. Applying the BM idea of “pre-christian back to the roots of my people, anti-modern-society” thing to Japan. Most songs are about Shinto myths (shinwa), especially creation myths of various deities.

One of the guys is now in 捜血鬼, souketsuki, a gagaku black metal band!

The drummer was named 黄泉槌, yomitsuchi, literally hell hammer. Ha ha

 



  ごつとつこつ 元突骨


MEANING : : a famous warrior from the Chinese “sangokushi” (‘warring states’) period. Also the name of a popular videogame in Japan.
CITY . . : saitama
ERA . . . : 2000~
SOUND . . : death metal with slap-bass
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : samurai armor!! (known as yoroi 鎧), Lyrics about noble warriors from the Japanese (not Chinese) warring-states period, known as Sengoku (1467-1573)
CLIQUE . . . :
STYLE . . . : pagan
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . : Their between-song-banter is delivered in character, all SCA/Renfaire style, but very tongue-in-cheek. For example, they’ll refer to the ‘fast Saikyosen horse’ they took to the gig, Saikyosen being the railway that runs to Saitama.
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE : Sengoku

WEB . . . : myspace, http://gotsu.komusou.jp/index.html
TDR REPORT . . .:

Bassist of defiled.

 

DLLLhttp://www.bloodyearsnbeer.blogspot.com/


picture ???

cavo

MEANING : : :
CITY . . : osaka
ERA . . . : 2000
SOUND . . : doom w/ folk elements
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . : birushannah, cavo, ryokuchi
STYLE . . . : pagan (shamanic)
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . : costume ???
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE : ancient pre-literate Japan

WEB . . . : discography here
TDR REPORT . . .:

The most underground , not-on-web, holy grail shit ever. no myspace, no fan pages, no torrents, no DLs, no youtubes, nothing. Fitting for a band that was very anti-the-modern-world.

Not only are the lyrics in a made-up language, but dude made up his own alphabet like tolkien. Why? He wanted to take it even further back than Magane: performing shinwa (神話= legends of the gods) from Japan’s shamanic cave-man era, before the Japanese language had even been invented! Shaman metal!

Members of cavo and tetsuo went on to form birushannah.

The sound is ritual sludge! repetitive low guitars and chanting. Hella ambiguous.

If you’re wondering why Corrupted began to do super long, almost ritual-sounding songs with 10-minute “dark” acoustic intros, it’s because of Cavo.

 

Cavo is the missing link between birushannah and corrupted.


 

birushannah

 


MEANING : : : ???
CITY . . : osaka
ERA . . . : 2002~still active
SOUND . . : technical folk metal with industrial metal percussion
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : Buddhism, traditional Japanese tyko drums, Japanese melodies.
CLIQUE . . . : birushannah, cavo, ryokuchi
STYLE . . . : pagan
ALBUM TO GET . . . : akai yami
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . : myspace
TDR REPORT . . .: YESSSSSSSS

the thing you got to understand about Birushanah is, they’re taking deep, thousand-year-old Buddhist, occult, living-in-the-woods Japanese folk melodies and melding them with NEUROSIS-style tribal metal sludge. That’s their deal. Also: fretless bass WITH STAINLESS STEEL MIRRORED NECK being fingertapped basically the whole time.

If that sounds too good to be true, it is.

I really want to like Birushanah because they are so deep and uncompromising, but their shit is all OVERPLAYED. That is to say, everyone plays too many notes and progs out too much and they are all in each others’ way. Too many chefs spoiling the pagan,neurosis soup, if you will. The bass is finger-tapping the whole show . . . every riff is too complex to be tribal or catchy- and to make matters worse, the "regular" drum guy, instead of playing accents, tries to duplicate ALL the bass notes. The "industrial" drummer just plays constant 16th notes no matter what anyone else is playing. the guitar was too distorted for me to even attempt to critique it.

On the other hand – the melodies are super long and complex – maybe they take 40 seconds to repeat. And: Lyrics about Buddhist philosophy. Also melodies have a little Indian influence.

They cover a kids’ song, カゴメカゴメ but their version is called アナグラ

 

 


pic ???


  緑血 (ryokketsu)

MEANING : : : green blood
CITY . . : osaka
ERA . . . : 2002-2008
SOUND . . : sludge doom
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : Buddhism, samue (Buddhist monk’s work clothes), onkai
CLIQUE . . . : birushannah, cavo, ryokuchi
STYLE . . . : pagan
ALBUM TO GET . . . : shinshou
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . : prog archives
TDR REPORT . . .:

When I saw them, they were a 3-piece: bass (like Birushannah, fretless and mirrored-steel neck!), western drums, and tribal drums. A groovier, more chanty version of Birushannah, I guess you could say. Their lyrics are also about Buddhism.
 


 
陰陽座 (onmyouza)

 

 
 
MEANING : 陰陽座 ? yin & yang throne. Also, 陰陽師(おんみょうじ) where the shamans of the old days, usually pictured to dress like this band is.

CITY . . :
ERA . . . : 2003~
SOUND . . :  visual kei with power-metal stylezzz and lady singer.
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : kimono, youkai lyrics.
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :

HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE : Heian period
CLIQUE . . . :
STYLE . . . : pagan
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
WEB . . . : http://www.onmyo-za.net/index.html 
TDR REPORT . . .:
 
Catchphrase : “Youkai heavy metal”.
 
Lyrics in very old fashioned Japanese.
 
Lyrics about legends of youkai and demons.
 
Take inspiration from youkai researcher 京極 夏彦 and manga author手塚 治虫.
All songs are named after various youkai.

 
 

 



銀河 (ginga)


MEANING : : : the milky way galaxy
CITY . . : Kyoto???
ERA . . . : 2007
SOUND . . : insane finger-tapping, motorik prog metal
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . :
STYLE . . . : pagan
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE : see below

WEB . . . :
TDR REPORT . . .: HERE

 

These guys seem to have teleported out of the medieval past of an ALTERNATE Japanese reality: they are at once very traditional and very surreal. Their kimonos are all crocheted wool with hoodies on, they have giant battle flags on their back (which is a real thing), but also dolls made of dried straw clinging to their backs like children (?!?!?!). And the singer showed up in a loincloth and a fox mask. Their music is equally uncompromising: non-stop finger-tapping for 30 minutes. Not like Eddie Van Halen style tapping – this was Krautrock style. They'd play a hypnotic series of 8 or 16 notes and just loop it for a loooong time. It sounded a lot like Tetsugekidan – another West Coast mystery group.

 

Francois writes that "the straw dolls could be Japanese voodoo dolls, 藁人形 "

 


 

zenithrash

MEANING :
CITY . . :  Osaka
ERA . . . :
SOUND . . :  epic melodic death metal
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : Japanese instruments and scales
CLIQUE . . . :
STYLE . . . : pagan
ALBUM TO GET . . . : Restoration Of The Samurai World
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE : Edo era

WEB . . . : myspace, metal archives
TDR REPORT . . .:

 

a one-man band. Mixes melodic death metal with Japanese instruments and scales. Lots of layers.

sample song titles:

 

 

harakiri – the honorable death

pandemic scroll

invincible yamato

man with armor dignified

the samurai metal!

 


2 comments Tags:

2 Comments so far

  1. François August 11th, 2011 11:19 pm

     
    A few comments on posts #3 & #4:
    人間失格 is the name of a 太宰治 novel, the most famous one I'd say.
    緑血 is りょっけつ, isn't it?
    陰陽座 – yin & yang throne. Also, 陰陽師(おんみょうじ) where the shamans of the old days, usually pictured to dress like this band is. Some heavy 平安時代 shit. They are just missing the 烏帽子, the black hat.
    BTW, classifying 手塚治虫 a Youkai mangaka is a bit hasty. This dude invented manga, and did about any style.
    The straw dolls of 銀河 could be Japanese voodoo dolls, 藁人形 (which are not the same as other Japanese voodoo dolls, 形代, used by 陰陽師). 藁人形 where used for 丑の刻参り, for instance.
    http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B8%91%E3%81%AE%E5%88%BB%E5%8F%82%E3%82%8A

  2. admin August 16th, 2011 4:07 am

    @francois: thanks again for your help! I have input your changes.

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