The problem with visual kei

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Gen 16 2010, 3:53

I have a big problem with visual kei: I enjoy it very much, but I can’t exactly tell what it is.

It has been almost a decade listening to visual kei bands and many of them seem completely unrelated. On Tonberry Torrents, about 2 years ago, I started a topic called "What visual kei truly is... (I don't know anymore)" in an attempt to find out what's the real nature of VK: Music genre, subculture, just fashion? That was the first time I tried to end this issue that troubles me so much, but the discussion never lead to a conclusive answer and I stopped reading the replies some time after I started the topic.

My only source for everything visual kei-related is the internet. I’m part of this virtual community that enjoys visual kei, but has never sensed what it’s like in japanese culture; the crucial experience! Everything I read on the internet seems created by people who also happen to only know visual kei by this virtual world that didn’t start the movement.

What are the origins of visual kei?

There was a brazilian website in which I first read about subgenres in visual kei: Gothic Lolita was even mentioned among names like Angura kei, Eroguro kei, Kotekote kei, Oshare kei, White kei (no other website ever mentioned that name). Sometime later Nagoya kei gained popularity as a definition and I also came across names like Kotevi kei, Kurofuku kei, Soft visual kei, Koteosa kei, Iryou kei. I could never tell the commom characteristic that would bring all those into one main genre: visual kei. Would this be some aspect of the music? Fashion? Taking two examples of bands that are considered “visual”, what does LM.C and 犬神サーカス団 have in commom?

Personally, I like to think visual kei relates to the music of those bands you could find in labels like Matina and Key Party. I don’t consider angura and eroguro to be visual kei. X-Japan is not visual kei. 蜉蝣 didn’t remain visual kei to their very end, nor did Pierrot. Besides their elaborate make-up and costumes, were Malice Mizer truly VK or much more than it? Are bands like the GazettE, 紗羅の夊, exist†trace and DEATHGAZE really visual kei?

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Commenti

  • deluhifan

    you pointied out of a lot of true and interesting facts about visual kei but i think its just the look and also it is retarted when people think x japan is visual kei since they r glam metal. also a lot of people tag vk bands as j-rock and that covers every japanese rock band even the bands that areant vk bands so its dumb. it like saying canniable corpse is similar to 30 seconds to mars they areant similar at all just besides they are american-rock also i think malice maizer screwed up vk since they were the first gothic vk band and vk didnt have any goth in it before them. so todays vk is different then it was in the 90's.

    Gen 16 2010, 8:34
  • Chrissi-chan

    I think it's a genre defined by a kind of full-throttle approach: everything about a band defines it, not just the sound, their image, presentation, attitude, everything is important. Also all visual kei bands seem to have a common search for depth - which is most obvious in the standard deep vocals - which also leads to a lot of prominent drum and bass lines in many bands' music. I think it's more a collection of bands with the same attitude to music than a collection of bands with the same sound. after all, the same problem occurs in all 'umbrella' genres: looking at metal you could say exactly the same thing in trying to compare power metal with death metal and melodic metal and so on and so forth. personally I've given up on genres completely xD but you do raise an interesting point, and it's one that I've never found a real answer to, I just made up my own xDD also, never understood all the sub-divisions of visual kei :s someone says kotekei and I'm lost XD any chance you could shed some light? you seem quite knowledgeable about these things ;3

    Gen 16 2010, 17:17
  • Ryoman1127

    I fail to see what exactly you're asking here. How people in Japan react to Visual Kei? How Visual Kei got started? or What is it exactly? Well, last August I was in Japan. And Visual Kei is just like any other teenage movement in the United States/England/other western nation. It is a sub-culture, primarily made up of social outcasts from what my friend in Japan told me. It's a little more socially acceptable than say the emo/goth scene in the United States, but they are still generally viewed as social outcasts. As for it's origins? I seem to recall an interview when X JAPAN got back together where Yoshiki mentioned that by them dressing up with the spiked hair and the glam-rock-esque make-up, they were doing something different. So by my guess, X JAPAN started Visual kei, and it just sort of grew from there. Which brings us to the final question, what is Visual Kei? As mentioned earlier, it is simply a sub-culture. But within that sub-culture, they promote their own style of clothing and music. So while it can be defined as a genre of music, it isn't 100% accurate. If you're talking along the lines of X JAPAN & Luna Sea, you're looking more at Hard Rock, while Dir en Grey and DELUHI are more towards Metal, and groups like alice nine. and LM.C are more towards rock/pop. While each group is in it's respective genre, it contains elements from the Visual Kei sub-culture. Thus proving the point that Visual-kei is a sub-culture

    Gen 21 2010, 6:10
  • Kaah_

    Vou escrever em português mesmo, estou com sono para digitar em inglês! Bem, como você disse, algum problema sério tem ai no meio, tem muitas das separações em sub-tipos andam sendo feitos pos pessoas que nem conheçem jrock direito se você notar. Pessoas que começaram a ouvir e entender a pouco tempo, por isso há muitos erros GROSSEIROS perante a isto. Outra, acho essa divisão realmente muito desigual, porque muitos separam pelo visual da banda e não realmente pelo seu som ou pelo seu tempo de estrada, bem é assim que eu ando classificando as minhas musicas, e na realidade, eu não entendo e nem faço muita questão de entender a separação do que é kotekote, eroguro e assim vai, eu só entendo mais de nagoya porque dês de quando eu começei a curtir mesmo eu ouvia mais nagoya do que não sei o que, se bem que não mudou muita coisa, só parti mais para as bandas do matina e kei party e entre outras mais antigas. Bem, realmente não sei mais o que cometar sobre o fato! Alem do que deviamos ficar de olho, pois as pessoas que descobriram jrock "ontem" estão tentando por tudo de pernas pro ar! Outra, eu achei o nome da Personna no meio de todas essas bandas ai, como assim a Finada Personna está no meio de tanta banda foda! hahaha...

    Gen 24 2010, 5:35
  • misashito

    I started a thread about "what is visual kei" on a spanish forum, I was the only one saying VK is not a music genre nor a subculture, but just a scene. Other people there argued (wihtout any source or reason) that VK is in fact a subculture and somehow a musical genre too... then they'd just contradict themselves. But no, it didn't reached any point, just your regular "what is VK" discussion that has been going forever. I've been listening to VK bands also since more or less 10 years, and in the end I just think the term refers to a scene, you can make any music you want, dress anyway you want, if you decide to be part of the scene (i.e, play with other bands considered VK, be f reatured in VK magazines, and such) then you are visual kei.... people will then catogirze what you do... which never refers to the actual music played but only on the way they look ("black suit kei", "medical kei", "cosplay kei", you name it). As for music, VK never really created a sound of it's own... you could say bands like Luna Sea and Kuroyume were moving toward something similar to a "vk sound", but never accomplished it fully. Then with so many different "visual" bands doing different things musically, it completely lost the chance of becoming a musical genre. About the subculture thing, Visual kei has no ideology, so we can disregard that quickly. "Mixing visual elements to express arts along with music" is not an ideology and also early Genesis would be visual kei too, along with countless other bands way older than Visual Kei. What I enjoy about Visual kei is that it's a completely free playground. Anything is accepted, more or less. The only inconvenience being that 99% of it's consumers are teenager japanese girls, thus being fairly unappealing for someone with more than 17 years old, but at the same time I found many great musicians and artists who would have a hard time fitting in any other scene because of being just plain weird, in that sense, bands like da'vid shito:aL were able to exist thanks to that. Some really good bands also seem kind of doomed because of being part of the scene, take Oto-oni as an example... I think they could have been far more succesful if they played with regular rock bands instead of being part of a visual kei label (under code, of all labels). No wonder they got little attention. So yeah, for me, visual kei = a scene, a scene only musicians can be part of, a visual kei fan can't be "visual kei"... you've got lolis, gyarus, regular girls, punks, etc, being fans of visual kei, but AFAIK, noone calls themselves "a visual kei", unless you're in aband, then, you're a bandomen.

    Gen 26 2010, 16:41
  • BlackiceLORD

    musically, Visual kei created an interesting way of playing: is not so common to find in the occidental bands the VK standard-using of the guitar (mainly one regular/distorted/rhythm, the other up-beat/clean-flangered). I think that this way of playng gave its best with firsts Luna Sea. Musically was so unique in the whole world, with a kind of playing unsuggestable from other bands. Also the using of cacophonic vocals with pop approach was amazing; thinking about early kuroyume: they using this vocals over a extreme metal instruments (also the blast-beats) but wuith the adding of clean guitars. VK is directly connected with fashion, and is directly connected to Japan. For theese reasons IS and ISN'T a musical genre.

    Feb 3 2010, 16:56
  • choulorraine

    Pardon me for intruding, but I saw this linked on an artist page you had tagged. I've always thought that perhaps viskei was bands who present an image that is not themselves. For example, the members have stage names because they are not the same personas they are offstage. Together they convey a certain image, whether it be oshare, angura, eroguro, or what have you. Even songs significant of visual kei usually convey an idea set around an image. Dir en grey has pain, some other band (forgot the name) with insanity, which is actually a very Japaneseque form of song-writing, but kind of got lost in Japanese pop music.

    Feb 13 2010, 4:01
  • reminiscencetbp

    As a guy who would consider himself to have a minimal amount of Japanese pop exposure, this is what I can say. A visual-kei band must be a pop band and have at least one of these characteristics: People dressing up and wearing makeup Vocalist with high melodic range. Members trying to portray different personalities (like someone else said, different and weird names) That's my 3 cents.

    Feb 14 2010, 21:02
  • JrockVKei

    visual kei = visual style youre thinking on it too much, when its not meant to be a scholars debate. ^^ its the visual style that all those bands have in common, vk is a subgenre of japanese music, and it incorporates visual style with music. simple, no? many things can be considered vk, thats why there are so many different bands such as LM.C and Deathgaze.

    Feb 15 2010, 10:11
  • vordul

    ヴィジュアル系 isn't a genre. It never has been. It isn't too hard to qualify what visual kei is now, and exactly who participates in Japan. The difference is that there is a gap between what visual kei was, and what it has turned into. Anyone who was there early on, or has lived in Japan and participated (especially those who were around for big transitions) can tell you that it isn't a genre or a subculture. If you were to go to Japan now and go watch an indies visual band play, you'd quickly notice that the audience consists exclusively of teenage girls. These girls spend a lot of money buying pictures of the band members, and not a lot of money on buying CDs or DVDs. Most are there to see a specific band (assuming it isn't a one man, especially if it's a new band). They stand, and perform choreographed dances. They scream or say things at the appropriate moment. It's completely sterile (except the haze of cigarette smoke), and unless you're a teenage girl, doesn't hold much promise for entertainment. To be honest, now, watching a DVD is better than going to a visual band's gig most of the time. In general a lot of the bands are worse live than they are on record. There's a lot of cockups, and the bands don't even care if, say, the guitarist breaks a string in the middle of a show and the band takes a 10 minute break. After all, most of them don't expect anyone outside of a pre-established fanbase to even hear about them. Visual kei, now, is a means to an end. If successful, the band could switch styles, become a pop-rock band and do anime themes or something. This is what the bands want (now that it is a feasible possibility). In addition, now that it's popular with Westerners, bands might change to focus on these groups instead. Just look at the type of garbage Western visual fans accept and tolerate (and sometimes even pay for)! Shitty indies bands could probably sell more CDs to people from Finland than they could to their actual fanbase. Then again, a single even at an overpriced $25 is still less than the $40 or $50 they can pull in selling signed photos, with no real cost. The reason why teenage girls gravitate (in small numbers) to visual kei is a very difficult situation to explain as it involves a lot of psychological, sociological and cultural issues that are pretty much exclusive to Japan. The kids aren't really "outcasts" in the same way angst-ridden 15 year old emo cutter scene losers in America think they are. It would be more of an appropriate topic for a PhD dissertation or something. Now, if you're talking about old school visual, it's pretty much a different story. Things have changed a lot, and there won't be a return to what was previously interesting about the scene. There's also a huge difference between the indies bands, those with larger fanbases on visual labels, and major bands (obviously).

    Feb 16 2010, 18:49
  • likeK

    Yeaaaah.... now i've read almost all commts, but i've missed sth : 'VK' should NOT be taken SO SERIOUS ;D I mean after all it's really just clothes & make-up , the musical style of the band (like LM.C. & Deathgaze for example) doesn't stand in the front . Of course there are a lot of very good bands , but even more crap. Lives.. yeah that's a point. On most of the concerts (i live in germany) are really much girls - fangirlies . Going so far, that I don't go to a concert if I know in the beginning : shit, this is a fangirlie-band (i really don't wanted say a band but the Gazette is the biggest in Germany). A lot of 'fans' are just on the concerts to watch the musicians , not to hear the music. If you ask which song a fangirlie prefer , you got often these answer : ''Oh, I don't know any songs of band xy - i'm just here to see them.'' okeeey. Like UnsraW : i really think yuuki's great and stuff but UnsraW aren' t just Yuuki - the band has 5 members (+supp) . Really annoying if you're like the only one banging there :O . Well. Just my opinion. A lot of make-up . And rarely really good bands.

    Feb 20 2010, 16:28
  • vordul

    I've seen UnsraW in Japan and in France, and the audiences were equally lame (in different ways) both times. UnsraW kind of sucks though.

    Feb 22 2010, 16:59
  • L_Shinobi

    Well visual kei *was* musical genre. You should remeber that visual kei began as offshot of so-called livehouse scene in Japan, which was mix of punk, post-punk and gothic bands and existed in the 80s/beginning of 90s. Visual Kei although being direct offspring of this scene, had its own destinctive sound. Feminine, but sometimes harsh screaming vocals, punkish, sometimes blast-biting drums, and howling distorted guitars mixed with clean string play used to resemble something that could be called Gothic-Punk, but with some pop influences. You can easily find out why it turned this way, if you read interviews of some 90s bands. Kiyoharu of Kuroyume, for example, was a big Sex Pistols fan, while guitarist of the band - Shin leaned towards more melodic gothic music. With time many bands, who started the genre went mainsteram and dropped off original underground sound, becoming just mix of pop and rock, but they still were called visual kei, because of heavy use of make-up. That`s how all confusion began. By the end of the 90s original gothic-like sound disappeared completely and visual kei became just a tag to call a scene with various bands who play rock and pop and use make-up and cosmetics, however this bands have no relation whatsever with original visual kei scene, which rooted deeply in gothic and punk cultures. It`s hard to say, what really killed the genre. One of the possible reasons, that many creative musicians have chosen money over art and abondend the genre, leaving it infested with one-day living clone indie-bands. Another reason may be lack of ideology or concept which could help to organize the genre and save it from alien influences.

    Feb 24 2010, 18:20
  • L_Shinobi

    There was a wonderful article about musical aspects of visual kei at Kurai Translation`s, but unfrotunately the site is mostly dead by know, and this article is the only thing i could find. http://www.angelfire.com/goth2/renie/

    Feb 24 2010, 18:29
  • vordul

    L_Shinobi, you tenderly avoid the actual origins of visual kei, which was never a genre. Even 黒夢's contemporaries played different genres and styles of music. If there's very few cohesive elements, how can it even be a genre? If you were to look at, say, 黒夢's catalogue, you'd also realize that their music isn't really restricted to one style in the first place. If visual kei was ever a genre, it would still be a genre. There are plenty of bands that rip-off the classics. Visual kei also isn't dead; it may be full of shitty carbon copy bands, but it ALWAYS has been. Playing "pop rock" is a common trend in visual bands, not because they have sold out, but because this is one of the genres that visual bands play and have played since the beginning. Visual kei is about aesthetics, but lacks the cohesiveness of something like glam rock or glam metal, which are deserved subgenres. If anything, you don't seem to understand exactly what visual kei is, or how it originated. The article you've posted is itself incredibly confused.

    Feb 24 2010, 19:19
  • L_Shinobi

    I agree that there were many poppy bands from the begining, but they still shared common "gothic" sound. It wasn`t pop-rock in a common sense, like, say Gackt or Ikimono Gakari or whatever. No matter which 90s band you took dark dark Deshabillz or candy poppy Shazna or Sleep My Dear, they had same drumming style, similiar guitar sound and overall mysterious atmoshphere. When I`m talking about 黒夢, I mean, of course, early indie period. After Shin left the band it became just ordinary punk-rock band with no connection to visual kei. Actually many bands did the same. You can call first three albums of L`arc~en~ciel visual kei, but after that its just pop-rock or pop-punk. Same with Luna Sea and many other bands, who went major. I can`t describe how you can tell this, but if you listen to vk enough, you will easily understand the difference. You see, the reason I defend visual kei term so much is that there is no way you can describe bands like Eliphas Levi, Missalina Rei, Madeth Gray`ll and many others in classical music terms. You can say that they are gothic-rock, but they aren`t, they are not post-punk either, nor horror punk or any other know term. As i said, the closest term to describe early visual kei would be Gothic-punk, but it seems non existent. And yeah, there is a blog on the internet called "Habit of Sex" which deals with early 80s post-punk japanese scene. I suggest you to check it out, becuase it also has some early visual kei bands, very very similiar sounding to the latter.

    Feb 25 2010, 4:15
  • vordul

    "No matter which 90s band you took dark dark Deshabillz or candy poppy Shazna or Sleep My Dear, they had same drumming style, similiar guitar sound and overall mysterious atmoshphere." Making a random claim using vague wording that means nothing isn't proof that any of these items are actually true. Even if it were true, similar drum and guitar work combined with a "mysterious atmosphere" (not a real thing, by the way) would not make these bands the same genre considering how completely different the other aspects of their music can be. "I can`t describe how you can tell this, but if you listen to vk enough, you will easily understand the difference." No. I've listened to more than enough, have lived in Japan, participated, etc. etc. and don't understand why you think visual kei is a genre of music when it is about aesthetics. Those aesthetics are also transmitted in some ways to the music, but all visual bands can be categorized as existing genres of music, or subgenres. "You can say that they are gothic-rock, but they aren`t, they are not post-punk either, nor horror punk or any other know term." That's like saying you can't classify any number of bands because they are slightly more complex than what L_Shinobi can comprehend. Just because YOU don't understand, doesn't mean that the rest of the world also lacks this ability.

    Feb 28 2010, 13:49
  • L_Shinobi

    You say that i`m making vague claims, but in fact, its YOU who is being offensive and talking about abstract things, without providing even single argument. You said: "Even if it were true, similar drum and guitar work combined with a "mysterious atmosphere" (not a real thing, by the way) would not make these bands the same genre considering how completely different the other aspects of their music can be." But in my previous post i pointed out that: "Visual kei has feminine, but sometimes harsh screaming vocals, punkish, sometimes blast-biting drums, and howling distorted guitars mixed with clean string play used to resemble something that could be called Gothic-Punk, but with some pop influences." + add here lyrics about abstract and mystical things, lost love and mind disorders and here it is - you get 90s visual kei. You said: "If anything, you don't seem to understand exactly what visual kei is, or how it originated. The article you've posted is itself incredibly confused." Empty words. If the article contradicts itself, show where and how it does. If you have you own opinion about origins of visual kei, please be kind to tell us about it. "That's like saying you can't classify any number of bands because they are slightly more complex than what L_Shinobi can comprehend. Just because YOU don't understand, doesn't mean that the rest of the world also lacks this ability." By the term "rest of the world", I assume, you mean your humble self. Then please do it. Classify the bands i have mentioned and prove me wrong. Please be kind to post example of similiar sounding non-japanese bands also. As for "I've listened to more than enough, have lived in Japan, participated, etc. etc." it means absolutely nothing. It proves nothing and I can say absolutely same things about myself. Moreover i really doubt that fact that you lived in Japan can clear certain aspect of visual kei scene in the end of 80s, begining and middle of 90s. Note that I was talking about solely this period.

    Mar 1 2010, 15:06
  • vordul

    "Visual kei has feminine, but sometimes harsh screaming vocals, punkish, sometimes blast-biting drums, and howling distorted guitars mixed with clean string play used to resemble something that could be called Gothic-Punk, but with some pop influences." does not define every visual kei band, every song they've made, or even the majority of them, even from the period you define (which is completely purposeless -- a genre does not necessarily have to be tied to a period). "Sometimes" is not enough to define a musical genre. Please respond to my comments and issues with your post. Once you've done so, I will respond to yours. Please begin with your two most serious flaws (misunderstanding of how visual kei arose, what exactly visual kei is, how a genre can exclude anything but early visual bands). Visual kei is still a strong aesthetic style, there are kote bands that mimic earlier bands, etc. Claiming that you are only discussing visual kei (as a "genre," lol) in the late 80s-mid 90s is a completely ridiculous and pointless way of trying to prove your point. Claiming visual kei is dead is pretty absurd too, considering visual kei bands have had more success and a larger fanbase in recent years than they had ever had in the past. Anyways, please respond to the issues that have arisen with your claims first. They are your claims, not mine, which means that the burden of proof rests squarely on your shoulders. In other words, don't try to shift it because you are unable to defend your argument.

    Mar 3 2010, 14:24
  • L_Shinobi

    Okay one more time. Just for you. Original visual kei was a japanese mix of gothic-rock and punk. It originated from gothic scene in Japan and aestethically was a gothic movement with a japanese touch. You can see it if you watch early videos by some first japanese vk bands. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwWkSSqj6ds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5FyyhZka7g http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMcXyhoENOU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G07647cXKw&feature=related Moreover, If you read descriptions of early vk cds on Amazon.co.jp like Cry max pleasure(http://www.amazon.co.jp/Cry-Max-Pleasure-Through-Nuclear-Bandits%E2%80%BE/dp/B00005EICP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1267641178&sr=8-1) and many others(Marry-go-Round cd for example http://www.amazon.co.jp/Merry-Go-Round/e/B002GQ4CSW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1267641231&sr=1-6) you will see that amazon clearly states that this bands are part of so called livehouse or gothic-punk scenes. I repeat, if you dont know livehouse was a scene that united many punk and post-punk(gothic-rock) bands like Auto-Mod, G-Scmitt, Madame Edwarda, The Zolge, Sadie Sads and many others. This are true roots of visual kei. First albums by larc`en`ciel, kuroyume, laputa, luna sea etc sound very similiar to this bands. Why I call it a genre? Because no gothic-rock band in western world had such appearent fast and intensive punk drumming like visual kei had. But at the same time guitar tone is very different and resembles more metal than punk. The lyrical themes of this bands were similiar also. Even L`arc~en~ciel who played kind of positive music had dark and mysterious lyrics typical for visual kei of this period. Insanity, beauty, suffering, lost love - almost every band touched this concept. 90s visual kei had strong relation to gothic scene in general. Matina label were friends with AUTO-MOD and vocalist of SPEED-ID was even host for Tokyo Dark Castle party(legendary post-punk event), darkwave scene also closely interacted with visual kei. Like many genres die and transform visual kei died out also. For example there are many progressive rock bands today, but the genre is considered dead since end of 70s. Because no band after 70s could creat something original or evolve the genre. Like there are many kotekote bands today, who try to revive original vk spirit, they constantly fail to produce something original, because the original scene transofrmed and changed long time ago. "Claiming visual kei is dead is pretty absurd too, considering visual kei bands have had more success and a larger fanbase in recent years than they had ever had in the past." So thousand of fangirls in the west, who know nothing and cant really appreciate value of music is considered success of a genre? Let me point out that many genres of music during they peak period were largely underground and never had big following or fan base, which appeared much later when the original genre was already dead. Many visual bands today are bands created by big companies, they are no longer part of old independent scene. They have no concrete style and are absolutely blank musically and aestethically. Most of them copy each other and make just third-rate pop or trendy nu-metal music with no artistical value per se. Actually I think no matter how hard i try you can`t comprehend any of my arguments. No matter how many sources or proof i give you you just keep clenching to some stereotypes you have. I stated my arguments, so now state yours. Classify the bands i mentioned and show me similiar bands in the west. Also state your theory about birth of visual kei, its musical and aesthetical origins. If you wont do it, I will consider you as a troll.

    Mar 3 2010, 19:29
  • kurohime

    Gentlemen (L_Shinobi and vordul, I presume you're both men), I've been reading yours posts and this conversation is truly rich since you're engaged in defending your points of view of what visual kei is, but it has unfortunally come to a point in which I should interfere only to ask you both to avoid insults. You have the right of coming with an opinion on the other's mental ability to comprehend/discuss whatever matter, but this is taking the discussion to another level.

    Mar 4 2010, 17:53
  • vordul

    L_Shinobi, while you have yet to answer my original criticisms of your series of arguments, I will comment on what you have answered: Bands like L'Arc~en~Ciel, 黒夢, LUNA SEA, etc. were at the forefront of visual kei for some time, but they have very little to do with the beginning of visual kei. Even these three bands played completely different genres of music during the same time period. Can you honestly say that Blurry Eyes, something off, say, 迷える百合達, and say, Rosier, are the same genre of music (I have purposely chosen music from the same era). Your original post describes the use of "blast beat" (I assume this is what your original misspelling refers to) in regards to visual kei drumming which, for many of these bands, is definitely not a feature. Sure, maybe in a few songs, but overall, no. Blast beat drumming isn't even a fixture of punk. Perhaps you're refering to hardcore punk, or something, or, um, I dunno, thrash metal? You know, because X and numerous other visual precursors were playing thrash metal during important formative periods in visual kei. What is most problematic is that you've still ignored the origins of visual kei. You keep referring to bands that, well, are not at the origins of visual kei. They are important for shaping what visual kei was for a period of time (and still is, for many bands). You safely ignore bands like X and COLOR, which are still the most influential force in visual kei (considering what visual kei is and how it works beyond just the fantasy of the music). What about the importance of D'ERLANGER, DEAD END or ZI-KILL? What you are confusing is that musical genres are not always easily applied to bands, nor are they always clearly defined, nor are they definitive. Subgenres can be mixed and matched, etc. Many bands can be classified by different genres at the same time. Just because a band is gothic but lacks tribal drumwork doesn't mean they can't still be a gothic (or a subgenre) band. A death metal band that suddenly adds eurobeat samples to their work doesn't instantly turn them into a new genre of music. Visual kei bands did not have "mysterious" lyrics; most bands had horrible lyrics because they were penned by completely inept lyricists. They chose vague subjects that would appeal to their audience and continue the fantasy involved in visual kei music. "Insanity, beauty, suffering, lost love" are no strangers to the lyrics of most genres of music. Lyrics have very little to do with defining musical genre anyways. Visual kei is not dead. Neither is progressive rock. Sure, the scene may have died, but neither of them is actually dead as long as bands continue on. Hell, there are even self-styled visual kei bands outside of Japan, and progressive rock bands that still tour (playing, well, you guessed it, progressive rock). The main reason visual kei never died is because it's a musical aesthetic built to appeal to teenage girls in Japan. While it may change, it hasn't disappeared. The bands may play entirely different genres of music, have entirely different looks, etc. etc. but this is all made in an effort to appeal to their fanbase. Oshare bands are most certainly visual bands, but they substitute different aesthetic elements to appeal to a different group of teenage girls. Visual kei is dead, long live visual kei? A genre doesn't die when nothing original is produced. People will say they are dead, but those people happen to be disillusioned or whatever. It sounds like you're disillusioned with what visual kei has become, but that doesn't mean it's dead. What visual kei WAS is dead. The visual kei you like is dead. It is not. Sorry. As long as bands are dressed up to appeal to teenage girls to play on shojo manga fantasies, visual kei will be alive and well. "So thousand of fangirls in the west, who know nothing and cant really appreciate value of music is considered success of a genre?" Success is based on money. Having thousands of fangirls in the West willing to pay whatever (something the Japanese bands have sort of lost in Japan) is success. That Yoshiki can rent out part of Hollywood Bd. to film rehashings of visual kei's greatest periods shows that it is more successful now than ever before... in monetary terms. Whether it is successful in terms of music is a more difficult question; visual kei was only successful as a sales tool, but it was probably never successful in the creation of art, virtuosity, musical talent, etc. That is more of a personal opinion though. It's greatest success: pitching something tired in Japan to the same segment of the Western market and being able to sell tickets to shitty indies bands for 30 euro a piece, when most of these bands couldn't even play on the streets and garner an audience. "Let me point out that many genres of music during they peak period were largely underground and never had big following or fan base, which appeared much later when the original genre was already dead. Many visual bands today are bands created by big companies, they are no longer part of old independent scene. They have no concrete style and are absolutely blank musically and aestethically. Most of them copy each other and make just third-rate pop or trendy nu-metal music with no artistical value per se." Wrong, wrong, wrong. Success != peak. If anything, success would be more easily measured in the cultural absorption of the commodity than by its lack of membership in the general populace. Most visual bands were always created by "big companies," if you consider big companies to mean shady business ventures. Most visual bands were created by the same people, their music written by the same people, the same sorts of people were used, the same methods, etc. etc. etc. Do you really even know what visual kei was/is? You are an elitist. You believe that visual kei was better when it was "independent" (most visual kei bands now are still owned by independent record labels, if not all of them -- even major bands are still owned by the indie, which shows that you don't really understand how visual kei works) than it was at the hands of media conglomerates. To be honest, all visual kei bands were making "third rate" trendy music, mostly written by the same people. Very little had any artistic value. Most of the bands would have never even attempted to write their own music. 1) You don't understand how visual kei works, 2) You don't understand how it originated, 3) You claim that current bands are not visual kei bands because they don't play a style of music you like/do not appeal to your fantasies, and 4) You don't understand what a musical genre is. Visual kei is an aesthetic designed to appeal to teenage girls. It is not a musical genre, as even the bands you've discussed could not be placed in one genre. While some elements of many bands are similar (primarily those on the same label), this is because the same person most likely wrote all of their music (visual bands rarely write their own music, and many are probably incapable of doing it). Having fast drumming (again, not a common feature of every band, or even every band's material), pop hooks and a certain style of guitarwork is not enough to create a genre. Neither are lyrics. ESPECIALLY when all of these things are not common to all those within the genre. As such, the bands do what it takes to garner an audience of Japanese teenage girls. The visual kei style is a hodgepodge of things like glam and shojo manga. Their aesthetic appearance, in general, influenced the style of music they were going to play. The more a band looked like Victorian vampires, the more their music was going to reflect this. Visual kei is an aesthetic. It's about image. It's about selling tripe to teenage girls. This is what visual kei is. This is why visual kei is still alive and well. Naming a few Post-Punk, Hard Rock or Heavy Metal bands, or a few bands who mashed together a few musical styles is not enough to call it a genre, sorry. To avoid discussing, say, the influence of visual thrash metal bands on the genre is pretty much blasphemous. To not realize the importance of Yoshiki and Dynamite Tommy (and their associates) is pretty ridiculous. You can consider me a troll, but you still haven't responded to my criticisms, provided any proof, any showing of knowledge on visual kei's origins or inner functionings, etc. In fact, if anything, you've shown that you lack knowledge of the basic premise in all of visual kei: bilking teenage girls out of their money. You're fallaciously attempting to argue your point by leaving everything out that doesn't fit, which, in this case, is most of visual kei, not the tiny segment you present. Try harder.

    Mar 5 2010, 18:15
  • L_Shinobi

    I`m too busy to reply now. Probably will do it next week.

    Mar 11 2010, 10:22
  • vordul

    ISICKFACE, you would, my orthographically-challenged friend. However, what do you agree with? His incorrect assertions? His lack of knowledge with respect to origin? His arguments centered around elitism? His lack of coherence (it was a genre but isn't even if someone plays the exact same song, because a genre can only exist during a time period a.k.a. a "scene," which he seems to confuse with "genre" or "subgenre")? So, I assume you feel that Da'vidノ使徒:aL, Aliene Maφriage and X JAPAN share plenty of musical traits. What would those be exactly, ISICKFACE?

    Mar 17 2010, 18:11
  • ISICKFACE

    ISICKFACE, you would, my orthographically-challenged friend. However, what do you agree with? His incorrect assertions? His lack of knowledge with respect to origin? His arguments centered around elitism? His lack of coherence (it was a genre but isn't even if someone plays the exact same song, because a genre can only exist during a time period a.k.a. a "scene," which he seems to confuse with "genre" or "subgenre")? So, I assume you feel that Da'vidノ使徒:aL, Aliene Maφriage and X JAPAN share plenty of musical traits. What would those be exactly, ISICKFACE? Oh, sorry i deleted my old reply... Anyway, to answer you. No, they do not share alot "musical traits". Almost none. Also who the f*ck said i agree'd with all of his statements? I agree with the statement of where he think visual kei is born from, gothic rock and the post-punk scene i Japan. Which it is. "You will see that amazon clearly states that this bands are part of so called livehouse or gothic-punk scenes. I repeat, if you dont know livehouse was a scene that united many punk and post-punk(gothic-rock) bands like Auto-Mod, G-Scmitt, Madame Edwarda, The Zolge, Sadie Sads and many others." <- this.

    Mar 18 2010, 19:54
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