Tag Archives: J-Rock

X JAPAN Virtual Shock 001

Reviews
X Japan Virtual Shock Title Screen
Hardware: Saturn
10/20/1995 (Japan)
If you're reading this article, there's a good chance that you already know who X Japan is. But if you don't, they're possibly the most internationally popular Japanese rock band. Though they weren't signed to CBS Sony records until 1989, they'd already built a name for themselves on the indie scene long before. And they took the world of rock music by storm in Japan by basing their sound around power/speed metal, with a lot of symphonic influence (from Yoshiki's classical music background, no doubt) that would follow later as they turned into more of a prog metal band. The lineup at the time of this release was Toshi (Vocals), Yoshiki (Drums and Piano), hide (Guitar), Pata (Guitar), and Heath (Bass). Not only was their sound different, but their look as well. Like most successful visual kei bands, they'd eventually switch things up to a more standard rock band look. But they were one of the pioneers of the visual kei movement for much of their earlier career. This made them stand out quite a bit before visual kei really took hold, so their fans (who often mimicked their style) naturally stood out too. To help them feel better about this and thank them for their support, vocalist Toshi would often shout "mune hare!" ("Be proud!") repeatedly to the crowd at the end of their early gigs. Continue Reading

Mr. Video Games – Eric Martin and Game/Japanese Music

Features
Mr. Vocalist - Eric Martin with Guitar before To Be With You
Almost anyone that knows Eric Martin undoubtedly knows him as the singer for the rock band Mr. Big, that enjoyed such popularity in the early 90s for their mega hit "To Be With You". Though they largely disappeared from the consciousness of the American music scene afterward, their popularity in Japan hasn't really diminished. They still exist as a band today, and on the occasion that they do play in the US, you'll usually find them at clubs. When they go to Japan, they sell out the Budokan. I could argue all day long about how "To Be With You" is not very representative of the band's signature sound, and how they deserved to be far more popular in the US than they were, but I'm not here to talk about Mr. Big. I'm here to talk specifically about Eric Martin, and how he's become a small but stand-out part of not only video game music, but Japanese music in general. Continue Reading