Blood, Sweat, and Tears! Glitter, Grime, and Grit! 5 More Idols That Rock!
As the Fox God continues to guide Babymetal on their way to spreading the Metal Resistance around the world, Japan is not lacking for a lot of great groups combining the cute looks of idols with the gritty distorted guitars of rock and metal. Some may be quick to dismiss lesser-known groups as “rip-offs” when in many cases, they made their debut around the same time. As mind-blowing as the global success of Babymetal is, the reality is that they have become near impossible to see live and new releases have slowed to a crawl. For those who were fortunate enough to see them in their pre-arena days, getting that regular fix of live idol rock or metal may necessitate finding other sources.
Rock and metal seems to travel across borders easier than other genres. Why is that? Is it because, unlike “conventional” idol performances, enjoying it is not so dependent on learning wota-gei? Is it because there are similar types of music found all over the globe? Is it because having young women performing rock music makes it seem more acceptable to like instead of if they were doing typical sweet pop music?
On the other hand, why do “real metal” types get so offended by girls’ rock or kawaii metal? To be honest, metal can get pretty silly sometimes with pirate metal groups or lyrics about wizards and dragons. Perhaps that’s why there aren’t as many groups with females in them? Anyways, here are 5 more groups that combine cute and cool femininity with the harder-edged sounds of rock that you can see without having to use binoculars. The minimum requirements were 1) they were currently still active 2) an idol group or “girls’ rock unit” and not a band, and 3) had at least 3 MVs or live videos.
A special subunit of members from Fukuoka’s LinQ, SRAM taps into the rich rock history of Hakata, which has been referred to as the “Liverpool of Japan” and was responsible for the “Mentai Rock” movement of the 1970s and 1980s. SRAM takes their name by combining the first letters of legendary Mentai Rock bands’ names, such as SUN HOUSE, SHEENA & THE ROKETS, THE ROOSTERS, TH eROCKERS, ARB, THE MODS, and MODERN DOLLZ.
1st single “Lemon Tea”
2nd single “BOYS&GIRLS” (A.R.B cover)
3rd single “You May Dream” (Sheena & The Rokkets cover)
3rd single “Kawaii Ano Ko” (Th eRockers cover)
4th single “Gokigen RADIO” (THE MODS cover)
SRAM Official site: http://linq-sram.net/
Osaka☆Shunkashuto was far and away one of the must-see groups at Tokyo Idol Festival 2015 but, many already knew what greatness Shingo Soezima (Soezimax) was coming up with from the YouTube videos he had been directing for the group since the previous year. Crowdfunded and having a skeleton crew, the quality of Soezimax’s videos are impressive, almost as impressive as lead vocalist Maina’s voice, which sounds like it could level small buildings with its power! A lot of the videos also have English subtitles which makes it easier to understand what is going on.
Edit: Unfortunately, with Osaka☆Shunkashuto having moved to FUJIYAMA PROJECT JAPAN, their videos have been removed from Soezimax’s YouTube channel.
From 1st mini album “Chamelon Shojo”, “Let you fly”
2nd single – C’mon!
OSAKA☆SYUNKASYUTO Official site: http://syukasyun.com/
Founded in 2012, Tsubasa FLY has been steadily building a loyal fanbase with hard rock songs that grab the listener firmly by the heart and energetic and unpredictable performances. While they have started to release some more polished MVs lately, the live videos come the closest to capturing the best of Tsubasa FLY.
1st single “START IN MY DREAM”
2nd single “Unforgettable Days”
3rd single “Loneliness”
3rd single “Life is Beautiful”
1st album “BLACK&WHITE” lead track “Break Through”
4th single “Endless Summer”
4th single “Endless Summer” coupling song “Take My Hand”
Tsubasa Fly Official site: http://www.tsubasafly.com/
Unless you have had a chance to go see PassCode live in person, you don’t even know the half of it! The Osaka electronicore group unleashes some of the most chaotic performances just about every time they hit the stage! Many times, the entire set will blend together into a large wall of sound and the audience will transform into a swirling stormy sea of bodies crashing into one another as tiny Yuna Imada cuts loose with her bloodcurdling death screams. What do you do at a PassCode live? Anything you can to survive!
1st single, Nextage
From 1st album “ALL is VANITY”, “XYZ”
From 1st album “ALL is VANITY”, “over there”
From 1st album “ALL is VANITY”, “Seize the day!!”
From 1st album “ALL is VANITY”, “Kiss no Hanataba”
From 1st album “ALL is VANITY”, “Asterisk”
From 1st album “ALL is VANITY”, “Gekidou Progressive”
2nd single “Now I Know”
2nd single coupling song “Orange”
3rd single “Never Sleep Again”
PassCode Official Site: http://www.passcode-official.com
Former 2nd gen trainees of Hime Kyun Fruit Can, FRUITPOCHETTE have kept things heavy since making their debut in 2013. Their musical style is planted pretty firmly in the heavier end of the spectrum of metal/punk and they have been fairly low key in comparison to their sempai from Ehime, releasing only a few singles and albums so far.
From 1st mini album “Shippu Jinrai”, “Bougyaku -PARASITE-“
From 1st album “The Crest of Evil”, “Ijin – CleverDick-”
From 1st album “The Crest of Evil”, “Souten -Paradox-”
FRUITPOCHETTE Official site: http://frupoche.jp/
Of course, like the previous article, this is only a small sampling of the rock/metal groups active in the Japanese idol scene. Some have yet to release any kind of media that can be seen/heard online and with others it remains to be seen what category they would fit into. The fluid nature of idol groups as they jump from genre to genre (even in just one song!) may require that they establish a pattern to show where they stand. Yes, there are always more groups that have been left out but, just like restringing a Floyd Rose with a different gauge of strings or dialing in just the right tone on an amp, these things can’t be rushed.
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