Japanese Metal & Hard Rock Bands A to Z

Август 30, 2016


CAPTURED

Japanese Glam / Japanese Hard Rock
Late 1980s / Early 1990s
Recommended:
Vicious CD 1989
Power Infection CD 1991

Hard edged, attitude-driven glam/sleaze hard rock done according to all the expected standards of the late 80s/early 90s.


CARBONIC ACID
Japanese Female Melodic Metal
2015~
Recommended:
カマキリミイラ CD Single 2016
Air Packing Girl CD 2016
Count Down CD 2015

Another fantastic project by Japan’s most active female metal singer over the last few years, Fuki, member of Doll$Boxx, Unlucky Morpheus, Carbonic Acid, Dragon Gaurdian and of course Light Bringer.


CASBAH
Japanese Thrash Metal
Mid 1990s ~ 2000s
Recommended:
Bold Statement CD 1997
Dinosaurs CD 1998
RUSSIAN ROULETTE~NO POSERS ALLOWED 1985-1994 CD 2005
Reach Out CD 2015

One of the better known thrash metal groups out of Japan.


CATS IN BOOTS
Japanese Glam / Japanese Hard Rock
Late 1980s / Early 1990s
Recommended:
Demonstration: East meets west CD 1988
Kicked And Clawed CD 1989
Kicked And Clawed CD 2003 Reissued w Bonus Track

Wait- what?  A Japanese band?  But… they were based out of the U.S.!  Well, sure… then again, so was E-Z-O, and in fact many non-U.S. bands at one point or another.  Considering the band consisted of a 50/50 split between American and Japanese members, we decided to include them in this list.


CHRIST
Japanese Glam / Japanese Hard Rock
Late 1980s / Early 1990s
Recommended:
Easy to Ride EP 1988
Don’t mean nothin’ CD 1989


COCOBAT
Japanese Thrash Metal
1990s
Recommended:
Discography
Old school thrash metal.


CODE RED
Japanese Thrash Metal
Mid 2000s ~ Present
Recommended:
Wolves Of Warfield CD 2007 1989

Old school thrash metal done right.


COLOR
Japanese Glam / Japanese Sleaze
Late 1980s / Early 1990s
Recommended:
Cherry’s World CD 1992
Geki-Totsu CD 1992

As sleazy as it got.  An underground favorite in Tokyo in the late 80s and early 90s.


CONCERTO MOON
Japanese Neo-Classical Metal / Japanese Power Metal / Symphonic / Prog Metal
Early 1990s ~ Current
Recommended:
鋼鉄組曲-宇宙より愛をこめて CD 1997 Debut Single
From Father To CD 1998
Fragments Of The Moon Special Edition CD 1998
Time To Die CD 1999
Decade Of The Moon CD + DVD Boxset 2008
Savior Never Cry CD + DVD 2011
Black Flame CD 2013
Entire Discography

Japan’s premiere melodic metal group, highly influenced by early/mid 90s Ynqwie Malmsteen.


CINQ ELEMENT
Japanese Female Hard Rock / Metal
2014~
Recommended:
Brodia CD 2011
Shining CD 2013

Plenty of groove, and a complete disregard for the trendy maid/anime inspired costumes on stage renders these guys a welcome outfit on the very crowded Japanese female fronted hard rock/metal stage today.


CROSS VEIN
Japanese Female Symphonic Metal
2012~
Recommended:
Birth of Romance CD 2012
Royal Eternity CD 2015

Elegant, symphonic, melodic metal. Imagine a band like Aldious- only with a far better vocalist.


CROSSFAITH
Japanese Melodic Technical Death Metal
2009~
Recommended:
New Age Warriors CD 2016 Single (3 Tracks)
Xeno CD 2015
Apocalyze CD 2013
The Dream The Space CD 2011
LIVE IN UNITED KINGDOM AT LONDON KOKO Blu-Ray DVD 2015

One may consider these guys a cross between Trivium‘s latest work, with a heavy dose of Soilwork sprinkled all over.  Fantastic production.  Presently, one of the leading Japanese melodic death metal outfits.


D.T.R.
Japanese Hard Rock
Mid 1990s
Recommended:
Daring Tribal Roar CD 1995 (Debut)
Drive To Revolution CD 1996

Featuring an all-star lineup, D.T.R. had a very short lifespan, releasing only two fantastic melodic hard rock/metal albums.  Check out the video sample- it’s difficult not to pick up clear influences from bands like Queensryche, and even Crimson Glory.


DAIDA LAIDA
Japanese Hard Rock
2000s
Recommended:
Discography

Featuring NoB on lead vocals (ex MakeUp/Grand Prix). Melodic AOR/Hard Rock.


DAMZELL
Japanese Heavy Metal
Late 1980s — Early 1990s
Recommended:
Ready to Attack CD 1989
War Songs CD 1992

Released only two indie label CDs before folding in the early 90s.  Highly sought after on CD today especially among die-hard metal collectors in Japan.  Both cds often sell in the $100-200 range in Japan.  Please contact us to inquire about availability.


DANCER
Japanese Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Mid/late 1980s
Recommended:
In The Beginning EP 1986
Violent Emotion 1988
Best Of Taiji Fujimoto CD 1994

Led by Taiji Fujimoto, who released a fantastic solo AOR CD in 1991.  Quality melodic hard rock/metal.


DANTE
Japanese Indie Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Late 1980s
Recommended:
In the lost paradise CD 1991


DARIA KAWASHIMA / 川島だりあ
Japanese Female AOR
1989 ~ 1994
Recommended:
Believin’ Myself CD 1993
Don’t Look Back CD 1992
Natural Hearts CD 1989

Top quality, very well written 80s movie soundtrack style AOR.  In the eyes (or… rather ears) of the team behind Kupiku.com, Daria Kawashima was one of the finest Japanese female AOR singers.  All three CDs are essential for fans of quality female fronted AOR.


DARLIN’S DARLIN’
Japanese Hi-Tech AOR
1989
Recommended:
Moon CD 1991


DAZZLE VISION
Japanese Female Fronted Metal / Rock
2004 ~ Present
Recommended:
Origin of Dazzle CD 2005
Camellia Japonica CD 2007
Crystal Children CD 2008
Kirari CD 2011
Shocking Loud Voice CD 2012
Live in Pittsburgh CD 2013
Final Attack CD 2014

Hard to classify Dazzle Vision, as their fan base is as diverse as Japan’s landscape (from the tropical beaches of Okinawa to the historic northern lakes and forests of Hokkaido).  J-Rock?  J-Metal?  Girl rock?  Check out a few videos on YouTube to see why these guys have a solid following both in and out of Japan.


DEAD CLAW
Japanese Indie Thrash
1990s
Recommended:
Bombed and Blasted CD 1990
Cease fire save your rounds CD 2007


DEAD END
Japanese Heavy Metal
Mid 1980s ~
Recommended:
Deadline CD + DVD 1986 Debut
Ghost Of Romance CD 1987
Shambara CD
1988
Zero CD 1989

Easily the most under-rated Japanese bands to come out of thriving 1980s metal scene in Japan.  Dead, right from the start, delivered their own unique sound- very distinct from most other Japanese bands at the time.  As such, it’s no surprised that Metal Blade records signed them in 1988 in time for their third full-length, Shambara.  The band featured elements of groups like Crimson Glory, early Queensryche, and Heir Apparent in their sound.  A true standout among Japanese metal bands.


DECAMERON
Japanese Indie Sleaze
Early 1990s
Recommended:
名曲アルバム CD 1990
Dearest CD 1993
Electric Erotic CD 1996


DED CHAPLIN
Japanese Hard Rock
Early 1990s
Recommended:
Discography
Shortly after leaving Loudness, their singer, M. Niihara formed Ded Chaplin and picked up right where he left off with Loudness.


DEFY
Japanese Thrash Metal
2007 ~
Recommended:  Dying Emotion CD 2012
Defy Dying Emotion CD Japan 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New breed of classic thrash metal coming out of Japan, heavily influenced by Slayer.


DEFYER
Japanese AOR / HR
1990
Recommended:
Treasure Land CD 1990


DELUHI
Japanese Melodic Death
2000s
Recommended:
Discography


DENKISHIKI KAREN (電気式華憐)
Japanese Anime Metal / Death / Babymetal(??) / Who knows?
2000s
Recommended:
Discography

Interesting… unique… and already a load of fans throughout Europe.  A less polished, less giddy, more aggressive version of Babymetal?


DESTINIA (Nozomu Wakai)
Japanese Melodic Metal
2013~
Recommended:
Requiem For A Scream CD 2014
Anectdote Of The Queens CD 2015

Fantastic melodic metal, featuring Anthem vocalist, as well as Rob Rock (Angelica, Impellitteri, Project:Driver, and others), and Japanese legend, Masatoshi Ono (Galneryus, Fort Bragg) on lead vocals.


DESTROSE
Japanese Female Melodic Metal
2009~
Recommended:
Hakainobara Debut CD Single 2010 (3 tracks)
Deathless Memories CD Single 2011 (3 tracks)
Destrose CD 2013
Nostphilia CD Single (4 tracks) 2012
2013-11-14 DESTROSE ONE-MAN LIVE!! at Shibuya O-WEST DVD 2014

Among the best known Japanese all-female metal bands in Japan today.


DEVILS
Japanese Indie Glam / Sleaze
1980s
Recommended:
…fuck off die CD 1989
It’s just only rock ‘n roll CD 1990
Heaven CD 1991


DIALL
Japanese Indie Glam / Hard Rock
1985 ~ 1995
Recommended:
Shoseiki II Cassette 1986
Pierrot And Crime CD 1994

Highly sought after Japanese indie glam/hard rock group.  Released only one CD in 1994, that to this day fetches astronomical prices on the rare occasion one appears (see Kupiku Auctions to try your luck when one appears).


DIABLO GRANDE
Japanese Hard Rock
2000S
Recommended:
Nail Down CD 2015
Dependency Injection CD 2014
Howling CD 2012

Hard Rock, ala Blindman, Loudness.


DIVINE WIND
Japanese Traditional Metal
2000s
Recommended:
Revival CD 2015

 


DISQUALIA
Japanese Female Speed Metal
2016~
Recommended:  Over The Destruction CD 2016 (Debut Single)

Recently formed female speed/melodic metal group, promising to add even more flavor to Japan’s already robust metal scene.


DOLL$BOXX / DOLLS BOX
Japanese Female Metal / Hard Rock
2011 ~
Recommended:
Dolls Apartment CD 2012
Dolls Collection DVD 2014

Really, really tough to pin-point this band.  Without doubt, among the most interesting/unique of the recent wave of Japanese all female metal bands.  Every song these guys delivered has a unique flavor.  Many bands (all over the world) have a hard time delivering fresh ideas from song to song.  These guy however, managed to deliver a creative platter of metal hooks.  If you happen not to like one video- click on the next, and chances are you’ll find it completely different and consider yourself hooked.  It’s very hard to find another band who sounds like them- and that’s a good thing.  Give these girls a chance- they deserve a listen or two.  Notably, they feature one of the better female metal singers in Japan today (ex Lightbringer, Dragon Guardian, and others).


DOLLS HOUSE
Japanese Indie Glam / Sleaze
1990
Recommended:
Dolls CD 1990


DONNERSCHLAG
Japanese Heavy Metal / Speed Metal
2000s
 


DOUBLE DEALER
Japanese Heavy Metal
2000s
Recommended:
Fate & Destiny Tour 2005 Live in Tokyo DVD 2006
Double Dealer CD 2000 Debut
Deride On Top CD 2001
Fate & Destiny CD 2005

One of the better known Japanese hard rock/metal bands outside of Japan.  Fans of Blindman, Loudness, and Saber Tiger will enjoy these guys.


DOUGHTY
Japanese Indie Glam Sleaze
Late 1980s / Early 1990s
Recommended:  Do or Die CD 1991
Heavily influenced (like so many bands in Japan at the time) by early X Japan.


DRAGON GUARDIAN
Japanese Symphonic Metal
2007~
Recommended:
Dragonvarius CD 2010
聖魔剣ヴァルキュリアス CD + DVD 2011
遙かなる契り CD 2008
Destiny Of The Sacred Kingdom CD 2011
真実の石碑 CD 2010
Polyphony CD 2012
少年騎士と3人の少女の英雄詩 CD 2015
SWORDMASTER FROM THE ETERNAL SKY CD 2013
Ragnarok CD 2016

Japan’s answer to Rhapsody (of Fire)?  I’d say… these guys are even better.  Sure, no one can touch Rhasody’s first two albums, but beyond that… the band lost something.  If you’re a fan of band like Pathfinder (Poland), Rhapsody (Italy), Twilightning, and similar top class melodic sympho/speed metal bands, these guys will deliver the kind of tight precision only the Japanese can deliver.  Fantastic production, beautiful melodies, and rich instrumentation.  In a sea of Japanese sympho-metal bands, these guys stand on their own- far, far above the competition.  Highly recommended for fans of the genre.  Of note, their music has already been used in a number of recent Japanese films (yes, metal is that popular in Japan).  They also feature Lightbringer’s vocalist on a number of their albums.


DRAGONLANCE
Japanese Symphonic Metal
2000~
Recommended:
Shadow of the Elder Titans CD 2016
THE SEVEN SERPENTS CD Single 2012
THE HOLY LANCE OF DRAGON AGE CD 2013
Chapter Of Skyland CD 2011


DR. METAL FACTORY
Japanese Hard Rock
2009
Recommended:
カヴァメタNow CD 2009

Featuring No.B on lead vocals (ex. Make Up, Grand Prix, and others).


DUST N’ BONEZ, THE
Japanese Sleaze
2004~
Recommended:
Dust & Bones CD 2010
ROCK’N’ROLL CIRCUS CD 2006
Cocksucker Blues CD 2008

Ex Ziggy lead vocalist.


E-Z-O (formerly FLATBACKER)
Japanese Hard Rock / Glam
1986 ~ 1993
Recommended:
E-Z-O CD 1987 Debut
E-Z-O CD 1987 Debut (1991 Reissue)
E-Z-O CD 1987 Debut (2004 Reissue)
E-Z-O CD 1987 Debut (2005 Mini LP Jacket Reissue)
EZO Returns DVD 2004
Fire Fire CD 1989
Fire Fire CD 1989 (2004 Reissue)
Fire Fire CD 1989 (2005 Mini LP Jacket Reissue)

If you’re reading this article, it’s unlikely this fantastic group needs any form of introduction.  Formed out of the ashes of Flatbacker, and quickly snatched up by Gene Simmons’ label in ’86 in time for the release of their debut in ’87, the band made quite the impression of the American scene.  As a result, their debut featured a number of major names contributing to the album (Jamie St. James, Adam Mitchell, James Christian, Jody Gray, Mark Brotter, Brock Walsh, and others).


EARTHSHAKER
Japanese Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Mid 1980s ~ Current
Recommended:
Earthshaker CD 1984
Fugitive CD 1984
Midnight Flight CD 1985
Passion CD 1985
Overrun CD 1986
Aftershock CD 1987
Aftershock DVD
Smash CD 1988
Treachery CD 1989
Pretty Good! CD 1990
Earthshaker CD (1992 album)
Real CD 1993
Birthday CD 2001
そこにある詩 / Poetry Is There CD 2003
Faith CD 2004
Aim CD 2007
Quarter CD 2008
The Course Of Life CD+DVD 2009
Back to Nexus CD 2010 (re-recordings of early tracks)
Pray For The Earth CD 2011
The Earthshaker CD 2013
Bird CD 2015

Not a band that needs an introduction.  One of Japan’s best known and longest running hard rock/heavy metal groups that retains a significant following both in and beyond Japan to this day.


EASTERN ORBIT
Japanese AOR / Prog. Hard Rock
Early 1980s
Recommended:
The Prophecies / Heart Of Renaissance CD 1982 / 2013
Future Force CD 1982 / 2013

Prog / Synth Rock, solo project of Heavy Metal Army, keyboardist, with a surprisingly solid lead vocalist. Recalls Phenomena‘s debut at times.


EAU ROUGE
Japanese Traditional Female Heavy Metal
Late 2000s
Recommended: Remaster CD 2009

Traditional Metal, feat. K. Akao of Terra Rosa on vox.


EBONY EYES
Japanese Heavy Metal
1989
Recommended:
Final Fight Complete CD Set 1991 / 2013
Hard Rock Rennaissance CD 1990 / 2002


EF-LINE
Japanese Indie Glam / Hard Rock
Late 1980s
Recommended: Ef-Line CD (1989)

Nearly impossible to find today, EF-LINE’s debut (and, presumably only) CD featured excellent melodic glam/hard rock.


ELDRITCH
Japanese Thrash Metal
Late 1980s ~ Early 1990s
Recommended: Blood Breed Calls My Name CD 1993

Underground/indie thrash metal classic from Japan.  Their only CD release.


ELECTRIC SHEEP
Japanese Hard Rock
1997
Recommended:
First Stage CD 1997


ELENDIRA
Japanese Melodic Metal
2000s
Recommended: Innocent Age CD 2012


ELIZA
Japanese Hard Rock / Glam
1985 ~ 1990
Recommended:
Scorpion 7 inch EP 1986
Something Like Hot LP 1988
Lovin’ Hittin’ Scratchin’ CD 1990
Chronicle CD 1990

Hard rock / glam mainstays from the mid/late 80s.  Highly sought after today… seldom (if ever) found, even in Japan.  Check out Kupiku’s direct access to Yahoo Japan auctions to score their LPs and CDs.


EMERALD ISLES
Japanese Hard Rock (Yngwie style)
Recommended:
Stranger in the darkness CD EP


ENERGY STRIKE
Japanese Metal (ala Helloween)
Recommended:
Extra formation CD 2010


EX. DANGER
Japanese Hard Rock
1980S
Recommended:
Tyrant Into The West LP 1986


EZRA
Japanese Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal
Early 1990s
Recommended:
棘 (Toge) CD 1995
妖 -Ayakashi- CD 1996

Face-melting heavy metal done right from the land of the rising sun.


FASTDRAW
Japanese Heavy Metal
1985 ~ 1990
Recommended:
根腐劣屑 CD 1987
質実剛健 CD 1989
弱虫毛虫〜Let Off The Alarm CD 1989
Rough & Ready CD 1990

No BS, all-out, Japanese heavy metal.  No sleaze here, no cheese… just pure classic late 80s metal.


FASTKILL
Japanese Thrash Metal
2010~
Recommended:
BESTIAL THRASHING BULLDOZER CD 2011
Nuclear Thrashing Attack CD 2008

Classic late 80s style thrash in the vein of HIRAX, ASSASSIN, AT WAR, RAZOR, SACRIFICE, etc.


FATE GEAR
Female Japanese Traditional Heavy Metal
2015 ~ Current
Recommended: A light in the black CD 2015

Melodic, stylish traditional 1980s heavy metal (all female band).  Featuring members of Mary’s Blood, and Destrose.


FENCE OF DEFENCE
Japanese AOR / Hard Rock
Late 1980s ~ Early 1990s
Recommended: Entire Discography

Fantastically produced, top tier AOR / Hard Rock from Japan.


FLATBACKER (pre E-Z-O)
Japanese Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
Mid 1980’s
Recommended:
戦争 – Accident CD 1985
餌 – Esa CD 1986

Basically… E-Z-O before changing their name- and location.


FORT BRAGG
Japanese Indie Hard Rock / Glam
Late 1980s
Recommended: Fort Bragg CD 1990

Fantastic melodic hard rock/glam group that effectively started the career of one of Japan’s top lead vocalists (Masatoshi Ono).  Following the demise of FortBragg, he started a very successful solo career, recording a number of top selling AOR solo albums for Sony records in the 90s, before joining one of Japan’s top melodic metal bands of the last ten years or so, Galneryus.


FRENZY
Japanese Indie Thrash
1990
Recommended: Lost Hunger CD 1991