While everyone knows that Japan produces superior animated entertainment, very few are aware that they also produce some of the most unique and talented rock and metal groups on the planet. If you are new to the music scene in the Land of the Rising Sun, here is a list of bands that are sure to get you one step closer to purchasing that one-way ticket to Japan that you’ve been planning!
Wagakki Band (Traditional/Rock)
When you think of traditional Japanese music you think of bare acoustic instruments and kimonos. What you don't think about is loud drums and shredding electric guitars. Wagakki Band has managed to create a blend of traditional Japanese music and hard rock that will make you wonder how you're possibly enjoying this as much as you are.
Wagakki Band- "Ikusa"
BRIDEAR (Classic Metalcore)
These young ladies have managed to resurrect a style of metalcore that harkens back to the early 2000's. Not only can they shred and deliver those classic metalcore riffs, but they also deliver heavy breakdowns accompanied by bassist Haru or vocalist Kimi's screams that you won't believe are coming from them.
BRIDEAR- "Light in the dark"
BAND-MAID (Hard Rock)
Imagine an all-girl band from Japan that wears maid outfits and plays some of the gnarliest hard rock riffs you've heard since the 90s. Well, you have just imagined a band that already exists. Band Maid is very happy to serve you. Youll click their videos for the kawaii, you'll stick around for the crunchy riffs, and you'll come back again to sing along with the catchy choruses!
BAND-MAID - "Don't Let Me Down"
Fear, and Loathing In Las Vegas (Electro-Plated/Bro-core)
Many anime fans will be familiar with this band for their song "Let me hear" that was used as the opening for the popular series Parasyte! Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas will make you crank the stereo to 11 and crack open a cold one with the bros one night, and other nights you'll wanna round up the posse and start a circle pit at your local dance club downtown!
Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas- "Jump Around"
MUTANT MONSTER (Nostalgic Punk)
After listening to 3 piece punk newcomers MUTANT MONSTER for the first time, you will be trying to remember which part of the garage you buried the old skateboard you haven't touched in years itching to go shred your local halfpipe. That, or you'll dig out your copy of Tony Hawks Pro Skater.
MUTANT MONSTER- ABNORMAL
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Yousei Teikoku (Metal/Orchestral Gothic)
Yousei Teikoku is another one of those band that boasts wide popularity based on their work being featured in many anime series' such as Mirai Nikki (future diary). While it's very easy to get distracted by the beautiful Yui Itsuki front and center, the band behind her plays very fast paced metal with gothic and orchestral undertones that will have mesmerized.
Yousei Teikoku - "Shito Kanadeshi Hametuno Tategoto"
Crystal Lake (Down-tuned Melodic Hardcore)
Crystal Lake is one of those examples that goes to show, as far as metal goes, the Japanese can do it better. While bands that sound similar to Crystal Lake are very widely available in the US, there's something about them that stands out. From the nonstop heavy riffs to the bone-crushing breakdowns. Crystal Lake is going to need to be in your workout playlist.
Crystal Lake- Ups & Downs
BABYMETAL (Kawaii Metal)
Honestly, if you're even the slightest bit invested in the metal scene, you've already heard of BABYMETAL. For those of you that don't know BABYMETAL, your world will forever be changed. Japan has decided it would be a good idea to combine dancing cute girls and metal music and boy, was it THE BEST IDEA EVER! BABYMETAL breaks many scene taboos and is embraced by legends such as Judas Priest, Metallica, and Rob Zombie. Once you listen, it's only a matter of time before you'll be hoisting up the "Kitsune" fingers instead of the traditional metal horns.
Aldious (Thrash/Power/Epic Metal)
Wew, there's a lot of all-female metal bands in Japan...and they're all pretty impressive. Aldious is no exception. With vocals that give off a power metal vibe that will have you wanting to go on goblin slaying quests, the guitars and drums are often found pounding out thrashy riffs ala Pantera, early Metallica style. All while not breaking a single nail.