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Vexer6
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PostSubject: X Japan   Sun May 29, 2016 8:45 am

Anyone familiar with this Japanese metal band? They're Japan's most succesful rock band ever, but not very well known in the U.S.

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chewie
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Sun May 29, 2016 11:10 am

Not at all. I only know Loudness, Murasaki, Mariner, Bow Wow and Vow Wow.
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nevermore
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Mon May 30, 2016 12:09 am

I saw them in the Global Metal documentary but other than that I'm not familiar with them.
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80s Metal Lady
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Mon May 30, 2016 2:34 pm

muckie is a big X Japan fan.
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BearOnUnicycle
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Mon May 30, 2016 6:00 pm

Haven't listened to them in ages but I liked them quite a bit. Blue Blood and Art of Life are very good. Kurenai is a monster of a song.
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restlessbreed
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue May 31, 2016 3:14 am

Not familiar at all. Were they really a huge Japanese sensation after all? Sure Loudness was big I get that, but I never saw any of their albums at import sections at shops in the 80's.
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Vexer6
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue May 31, 2016 3:43 am

Yes they were and still are huge in Japan(they've won the award for "most dedicated fans" on Loudwire two years in a row), but they only just recently became known in the U.S.

Their TV Tropes page is the easiest way to find out information about them:http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Music/XJapan
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the sentinel
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue May 31, 2016 4:03 am

I will be honest and say I had never heard them Or of them until Muckie talked them up a few years back. They are not bad, but I am reticent to start another bands discography (one that is hard to find too) as I haven't finished the discographies of Loudness, EZO, and Kuni yet.
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chewie
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue May 31, 2016 9:10 am

Looks like they came late to the game anyway. I see their first album was released in 1988. Not that that is bad or anything like that.
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Vexer6
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue May 31, 2016 11:49 am

chewie wrote:
Looks like they came late to the game anyway. I see their first album was released in 1988. Not that that is bad or anything like that.
They've actually been around since the early 80s(they used to be called "X") but it took a long time to get an album released since no recording studio in Japan wanted to touch them because of their reputation for starting fights, so their first album was an independent release. It wasn't until it started selling well that Sony was actually willing to give them a chance.
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chewie
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:50 am

Cool! I like learning that kind of things about bands.




Vexer6 wrote:
chewie wrote:
Looks like they came late to the game anyway. I see their first album was released in 1988. Not that that is bad or anything like that.
They've actually been around since the early 80s(they used to be called "X") but it took a long time to get an album released since no recording studio in Japan wanted to touch them because of their reputation for starting fights, so their first album was an independent release.  It wasn't until it started selling well that Sony was actually willing to give them a chance.
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Fat Freddy
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:17 am

I've heard the name and maybe an odd track or two here 'n' there but can't say I recall much about them.

I think they still go by simply "X" in their homeland but they have to add the "Japan" internationally to avoid confusion with the long running punk rock band "X" from Los Angeles.

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Vexer6
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:12 am

Fat Freddy wrote:
I've heard the name and maybe an odd track or two here 'n' there but can't say I recall much about them.

I think they still go by simply "X" in their homeland but they have to add the "Japan" internationally to avoid confusion with the long running punk rock band "X" from Los Angeles.
Yeah that's true, X actually tried to sue them over the name, which prevented them from performing in the U.S. like they wanted to(they only really started performing there in the 2010s, they performed in Madison Square Garden in 2014).

Canadian rock band Fist had to do something similar, they call themselves Myofist when touring in Europe to avoid confusion with the NWOBHM band of the same name.
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muckie
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:43 pm

Yes, X Japan was one of the bands that ignited my love for Japanese music, with the other being Dreams Come True (though DCT won me towards J-Pop while X was rock and metal).

I grew up with a curiosity of Japanese pop culture mostly because of video games. First it was Dreams Come True (because their leader did the Sonic the Hedgehog soundtracks), then X Japan lead me into the more alternative stuff and of course visual kei. I must've been about 12 or 13 at the time, and it was largely due to the influence of Napster and such back in the day. Imports were expensive, but Blue Blood (which is actually their second studio album) was my first imported CD. I played it to death on CD-R, then after buying it, played it to death again.

The X discography is not that huge, but it is very quality over quantity. Some albums are better than others, but all of them are good. Let me give you a summary:

1988 - Vanishing Vision
This one, which is their independent debut, is the darkest and most aggressive. Fairly short, but pretty good speed metal mixed with symphonic influences. Alive is the only track on this album to really be full-fledged ballad, and it's the most distinct because while X did many classically-inspired songs in the ballad vein, this one is the most edgy of them all. Also seems to be the most underrated ballad in the bands catalog. The original version of Kurenai is in english and more rugged than the one on Blue Blood but good in its own right. Sadistic Desire was a fan favorite and is definitely the real face-melter on the album.

1989 - Blue Blood
Their first major album and also considered by fans to be the most balanced between their pop, metal and ballad styles. It's the one I recommend for starters. The most notable songs being stuff like X, Kurenai, and Rose of Pain. But every track, including the instrumental Xclamation are actually really solid.

1991 - Jealousy
My least favorite album but grew to love it over time. It's the most pop, and also the most unpredictable, hard to categorize. I love Silent Jealousy and it's contrast Say Anything. I think one reason the album's tracks are not as widely worshipped is due to the fact that the bassists Pata and Heath and vocalist Toshi wrote a lot of the songs. When it comes to X Japan's fanbase, it's sacrilege not to prefer songs by Yoshiki (pianist/drummer, does all the ballads and the most bombast songs) and Hide (guitarist, also known for being the most offbeat).

1996 - Dahlia
Their last album before their recent reunion is the softest, focusing mostly on the tragic, sad ballads that won many people in the mainstream over but it's not to say that they aren't in their own league. Dahlia was actually one of my favorites for many years because of the emotional songs. There are a few rockers on here but the ones they have are good. For instance, Dahlia, Scars, and the industrial track Drain.

Art of Life is good but I consider it more of a single than an album, despite the song being 30 minutes long. There is both a live and a studio version of that single, but to me they're largely the same. Then you have some songs like Standing Sex which was exclusively a single, and a decent metal track, though I wouldn't say it's their best. These, and their last ballad before their breakup titled "Last Song" again were only released as singles, but all are good tracks.

So yeah, I would suggest starting with Blue Blood to really see what X was capable of, but if you want the most heavy stuff, go for their first, Vanishing Vision.

I'd also like to add that X did in fact release independently during the 80s before they ever put out Vanishing Vision, but these were mostly 7" vinyls (flexidiscs even) and demotapes. They had many changes in their membership as well. The early stuff is actually quite different from the commercial stuff but still interesting. There was a guy in the X Japan fan community that I remember whose username was Wing. He knew several of the early members personally and posted audio of the records and tapes in his collection to the internet, which are highly coveted by collectors. If you want to hear some examples of their early stuff, look up the YouTube demo of their song "Time Trip Loving". I like the opening riff of that one. The track "Lady in Tears" is another interesting song from their demo years too, also recommended.
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muckie
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:03 pm

I just want to mention that Vanishing Vision, which tends to get a lot of favor on this forum for God knows why, was actually my least favorite X Japan album. It lacks any real hooks despite the decent technical performance of the members themselves. Alive was very underrated as a ballad and Sadistic Desire was one of their best heavy tracks, but for the most part the album is just dull to me. Blue Blood and Jealousy had the most appeal, with Dahlia being love it or hate it, though I credit 'Crucify My Love' for making me a big X fan. That, and Kurenai, the Blue Blood version.

By the way I'm selling my copy of Vanishing Vision for any who are interested. It has the OBI strip and is in overall good condition, official Japanese press. PM me with an offer price for it and we'll negotiate. I'm not asking an arm an a leg, by any means. I know some folks here have already sampled it and wouldn't mind owning a copy.
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rockhardridefree
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:13 pm

muckie wrote:
I just want to mention that Vanishing Vision, which tends to get a lot of favor on this forum for God knows why, was actually my least favorite X Japan album. It lacks any real hooks despite the decent technical performance of the members themselves. Alive was very underrated as a ballad and Sadistic Desire was one of their best heavy tracks, but for the most part the album is just dull to me. Blue Blood and Jealousy had the most appeal, with Dahlia being love it or hate it, though I credit 'Crucify My Love' for making me a big X fan. That, and Kurenai, the Blue Blood version.


I agree Blue Blood and Jealousy are way better! They have evolved.
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muckie
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:11 pm

My copy of VV was sold. Now, I have a copy of the original edition of Jealousy available for sale, with wear to the book and OBI, and light scratches on the disc, but it plays, or rather, rips fine to my computer. I have since replaced it with a new copy, but this one is still functional and useable. Let me know if you want it, or whatever. I'm not asking an arm and a leg for it, anyway.
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Fat Freddy
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:12 am

Anyone looking for a crash course in X Japan history, the documentary "We Are X" is currently streaming on Hulu. I checked it out this morning and it was an interesting watch.


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HEY KIDS! Check out my way-cool CD and movie reviews and other geeky nonsense on HubPages: http://hubpages.com/@fatfreddyscat
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:36 am

It is incredible that a band can be so successful for that many years while remaining relatively unknown outside of their homeland but it does seem as though the only way that Japanese music travels is if they sing in English.

I read up on a band called L'arc en Ciel who have been going for 25 years sold 40 million albums and became the first Japanese band to headline Madison Square Garden (so they obviously do have an international audience) but I've never heard of them!
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Gilbert
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:01 am

Interesting. Worth checking out. The only japanese metal i was familiar with so far are loudness and i am just getting into them.
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Vexer6
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:13 am

Gilbert wrote:
Interesting.  Worth checking out. The only japanese metal i was familiar with so far are loudness and i am just getting into them.
I was also familiar with EZO and Magnum.
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BearOnUnicycle
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:33 am

Gilbert wrote:
Interesting.  Worth checking out. The only japanese metal i was familiar with so far are loudness and i am just getting into them.
You should check out Anthem. The most consistent Accept/Judas-Preist-at-their-high-point sounding band. MA link
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Boris2008
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PostSubject: Re: X Japan   Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:18 am

Vexer6 wrote:
Gilbert wrote:
Interesting.  Worth checking out. The only japanese metal i was familiar with so far are loudness and i am just getting into them.
I was also familiar with EZO and Magnum.

I'm quite surprised that people are not familiar with some of the more well known Japanese bands that have had some buzz outside of Japan like Bow Wow/Vow Wow and Earthshaker in the '80s and the likes of Sigh, Church of Misery and the mighty Boris in more recent times.
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