Friday, December 31, 2010

Most Shocking/Disappointing/WTF JRock Moments of 2010

Luna Sea's world tour
A countdown was made for the legendary band as people were wrapped up in the X Japan hype. They soon held a conference announcing a tour around the world. Some people expected more dates and others were simply grateful for their reunion. I wish them luck on all their future endeavors and maybe one day I'll see them live.

X Japan actually goes through with their U.S. tour
It was buzz talk around the world that X was making a comeback and Yoshiki wanted to take over the U.S.. Some people shared my feelings of disbelief as X had been announcing and announcing such things and cancelling in the end. It was official after kicking things off at Chicago's Lollapalooza. Maybe their 2011 takeover will go through as well.

New bassist for Versailles
Last year, bassist Jasmine You passed away and Versailles continued to push forward with him in spirit. About a year later, it was announced that MASAHI, who was supporting the band on their world tour, became the official bassist. Now, I'm not a Versailles fan, but I was a little surprised they filled in the bassist spot. I wish them all the best!

ViViD goes major
Still considered a fresh new band to the Japanese label PS Company, especially compared to Alice Nine., Kagrra,, and the GazettE. It was surprising to hear this new band went major so quickly compared to their companion indies labelmate Screw. It still confuses me, but I wish them the best of luck and hope Screw catches up in the near future.

Mystery "new band" of Under Code
There were little teasers of a new band surrounding the label and some people hoped that the former members of Siva would be returning to Kisaki's label. It turned out to be a seemingly alter ego of the recently hiatus members of Nega. Some fans predict Nega will never return like they promised and others are optimistic on their revival and the start of PERESTROIKA's differing style. Hope the boys don't burn out balancing PERESTROIKA and Nega Enterprises.

Birth of Rin
Shortly after the announcement of all the members departing chariots, Riku immediately accepted Kisaki's invitation into a new band and let chariots become a solo project. Some people were a little skeptical and not surprised, but they didn't turn into a complete reincarnation of Phantasmagoria's style like chariots. So much for Kisaki retiring from the stage.

Dir en grey and Apocalyptica North American tour
I think someone said that Kaoru promised they were done with touring for a while or something and that this year he broke that promise. I was upset upon the announcement of their tour. Not because there were no dates any where near me, but just for the fact that they were touring at all and I'm still a bit bitter about last year's performance. People understood my feelings and wanted new music over a silly little tour that may still lack the energy and passion they had back in 2008. Honestly, if I could've gone, I would've been more excited about Apocalyptica, but I'm totally looking forward to the release of Lotus single.

QUAFF Reloaded
A note was posted on Ukisemi's Facebook that he would be departing but I didn't realize upon further investigation that everyone decided to part ways with the band as well except band leader Makito. He kept spirits high on Twitter and MySpace by announcing new Quaff members and a live with all 10 former members of Quaff in Japan.

D=OUT & born join PS Company
A lot of people were skeptical about this news. They agreed that D=OUT would fit right in with their style and sound, but were nervous about born's move over. Sadly, I was a little nervous myself as I already enjoy born's visuals and sound...mainly sound, but they released 3 consecutive mini-albums and I am pleased. I think everyone else is too. I'm looking forward to them getting bigger as well as D=OUT as long as they keep improving and not stray too far or become bland.

Vocalists with no vocals
2010 has been a bad year for vocal chords lately. Shows had to be rescheduled for D, the GazettE, Alice Nine., Kagrra,, and lynch. due to the vocalists' voices not being up to par. In between the madness, Vidoll and D'espairsRay had to announce a hiatus for Jui and Hizumi to recover from their strained and overworked chords. I hope everyone will learn to take care of their voices better and that fans are sympathetic to members' health needs.

Mar's transformation
I did not see the announcement of Marbell disbanding in March. Where was that memo JaME...Shattered Tranquility? Huh!? Anyway, I occasionally follow Mar's Ameba and noticed she had a new blog link posted as "MAA". I saw all this promotional stuff for her solo music. It was...different. A bit opposite of Marbell and I'm curious to see how this all pans out.

ClearVeil disbands
Upon their peak of popularity in the Under Code family, a surprising announcement was made to the fans that they would be disbanding. Fans were confused as the band recently released a new album and expressed future plans. For those lucky enough to see them, please support them at their revival live in Japan.

Dio - distraught overlord disbands
Things were looking good for the boys of Dio back in 2008. They released their first full length album and made their first appearance in the U.S. at Houston's Oni-Con. Then Erina announced that he would be leaving the band and the remaining members decided to keep going a little more, giving hope to the fans to stay by their side. They went through with their tour in Europe and finally called it quits after that. Erina joined VII-Sense, Kei stated he would not be returning to the stage, Mikaru started a new band Digras and the members are still unknown, Denka did a little session band with former bandmates Mikaru and Ivy, and Ivy joined Remming (that also has Lolita23q's ex-vocalist Sou). I'll miss Dio's aggressive and melodious music, but I'm still super excited to see what's going on with Digras, VII-Sense, and Remming.

Miyavi's baby announcement
On the night July 4th, Miyavi was wrapping up the second half of his world tour in North America in Houston, Texas. Soft instrumental melodies of "Kimi ni negai wo"(?) played in the background as the soloist apologized for the sudden cancellation last year and spoke of his current accomplishments: new company, new album, marriage, and the birth of Lovelie. There was a bit of a pause before he mentioned that Lovelie would have a little brother or sister soon. Fans were shocked and super supportive! He joked about who the father could be and teased the oblivious fans of the news that it could be a rumor. Toward the end of October, Jewelie Aoi Ishihara came into this world.

Plastic Tree's Ryutaro diagnosed
Unfortunately, another vocalist had to be dragged away from performing and force cancellation for a couple shows. Ryutaro visited a doctor and discovered that he was diagnosed with Guillian-Barré syndrome. It was announced today that it is treatable since they caught it early and was discharged.

Kagrra,'s "demise"
At first, I was shocked by this announcement, but after much examination and talking to a certain Kagrra, loving friend, their "demise" was clear and understandable. When reading the translation comments about their break up, it felt like they were ready to let go of their 10 years with pride. When listening to their newer material, it did feel and sound a little weak compared to their earlier releases. It was still beautiful but nothing stood out a lot. Nonetheless, I'm still sad that the beautiful and unique neo japanesque rock will end next year.

Yuusuke leaves 12012
I always thought they had a close bond, but I guess things happen and leaders leave [like Ryouhei & Erina]. I'm pretty sure everyone was surprised and worried the band might disband. A lot of fans do agree that they have had a bit of a music creativity slump, but our love for them has not faded. I hope 12012 continues on!

Ayabie disbands and regroups
Emotions flurried upon the announcement of 4 members leaving Aoi behind to form a new band and fans began to protest their new band when it was renamed AYABIE. Blame and curious emotions filled the air until translations were put up that controlling management were the real culprits for the split. So, support is still back on for Aoi's solo career and the (re)birth of AYABIE.

ALSDEAD's spontaneous cancellation
Although there were disagreements about the choice of venue, some fans still anticipated ALSDEAD's return to America. Unfortunately, for somewhat disclosed reasons, they were removed from SoniCon's site and replaced with Bowling for Soup and Peelander-Z [who didn't show up either]. I believe blogs are still in the process of being translating.

D'espairsRay's tour cancellation
After 2 years, D'espairsRay was planning on touring North America and Europe in August to the beginning of October. Unfortunately, many problems occurred that upset various Mania. Four tour dates were cancelled in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and the second New York show. Later on, one of their European shows were cut off short due to technical difficulties.

HEISEI ISHIN's disbandment & Taku's passing
I'm not really a fan of this band, but what I knew was that they recently graduated from Under Code and were working on bigger and better things. Earlier this month, it was announced that the band was ending and a couple days or so later, it was announced that Taku, the band's vocalist, passed away from unknown causes.

Vistlip's Car Accident
Earlier this year, visual kei band Gakido had a car accident and lost on their vocalists, Piyo. so hearing about another accident occurring freaked fans out. The members of vistlip and two staff members came out with minor injuries but their manager Ms. Asako Sakakibara was not as lucky. The band has been put on pause as fans sent their blessings to Ms. Sakakibara's family and friends.

Daisuke's Passing
Former drummer of Fatima and vocalist of Kagerou was known for having a heart condition, but he kept on pushing and gave every ounce of energy and love through his music despite that. After Kagerou disbanded, he became part of the studs and later announced a solo project upon the band's hiatus. It was never confirmed, but fans speculated his heart condition or a possible insomnia was the cause. Daisuke's legacy will no be forgotten and he will continue being in our hearts.

Zill's Passing
Shortly after the announcement of Daisuke's death, it was announced that Zill, bassist of Moran and former member of KuRt, passed away. The news of Zill's health was oblivious to the fans (at least oversea ones), so his passing was a shocker to us all.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Promo: San E

|Official Site|

Please welcome San E to the JYP Nation! I had a hard time looking up some background information on him, but what I found was pretty interesting. Before sealing the deal with JYP, San E was an underground artist and had a particular way he worked with production and such. When he announced he was joining the major idol label, he assured his fans that he would not stray from this style of production. JYPE allowed him to have a little freewill and the finished product became his debut mini-album, Everybody Ready?. He speaks truth about the industry in his debut music video, "Tasty San", and mocks his label mates Wonder Girls and 2PM (and even a little at JYP).

I didn't realize that I had heard his voice on an Outsider track, but he picked the right label to join. He's energetic, entertaining, and stands out from current talent in his genre. He contributes both skill and humor with the right amount of cuteness to keep fans wanting more. Upon seeing his latest music video for "Tasty San", I was ready to see what the future held for this talented rapper. He is versatile with his style and a song by the name of "Love Sick" proves it. I can't wait until his next release!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reader's Question: What do you think the future of j-indies will be in 2011?

If it hasn't been said already, I'm addicted to young visual kei bands. I always feel like I have to prove to the world that there are good indies bands out there and hopefully Muddy Cult can be a great place to promote them in their growth.

Now 2010 has been a harsh time for some of my favorite j-indies bands with the dreaded "D" word: disbandment. A few examples are nil delete heads, VALLUNA, SKULL, kalvary, Dio - distraught overlord, and [_vani;lla]. They were all great and had major potential! But their lives were short lived. Sadly, bands with repetitive melodies, mediocre vocal talent, but great visual appeal live on and keep sprouting up like weeds in the beautiful visual kei garden. These weeds will continue to suffocate good talent and distract fans with their "flowery" appearance. I'm sure this cycle will continue, but contrast is good. You can't love everything or else the genre will be boring!

With the end of great indies bands, new promising ones are born and prepare themselves to debut in the coming year. First example are the former members of Dio -distraught overlord. VII-Sense is fronted by a well known face in the vk scene, Shaura (a.k.a Juka) and has been producing more and more amazing music with each release. Mikaru already has a stunning, deep voice that is very memorable with Dio fans, so digras has major potential with him as vocalist and would be even more amazing if Denka backs him up on drums once more. Lastly, Ivy has teamed up with ex-Lolita23q's vocalist Sou in Remming which shall be an interesting combination.

Then there has been name and label changes. SINCREA disbanded and have formed FEST VAINQUEUR which should be just as good if not better. As.milk has been doing well as L~Lotus~ and Like Absolute Myself (now known as lam.) are on the same boat. ROACH cannot do wrong as they have always been true to themselves. Lastly, there have been member changes that will possibly benefit the band's growth like Sizna joining Moran. They're already great friends and have a somewhat similar style about them. The same goes for Soshi, ex-vocalist of Watashime Slug, joining oshare kei band Lolita23q.

I predict that j-indies bands will be getting a gradual makeover for the better to balance out the tragedies of 2010. There's so much great talent waiting to burst in 2011 and I'm excited to be immersed in it all over again! Now as a genre as a whole, I have different thoughts on that.

Feel free to ask me question any time by sending them to zetsu_nightmare2.0.9[at]hotmail[dot]com and titling it "Cult Question(s)"!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rant: Is there really controversy with GP Basic?

I was recently suggested to listen to the young girl kpop group GP Basic on and I ended up liking their catchy tunes from their first single, GAME. I decided to check out their physical skills in their music video for "GAME" and compared the comments from and YouTube users. They both share a similar complaint which is the age of these girls.

Some say that age shouldn't matter, they have talent. They also agree that kpop idols G-Dragon and Tae yang of Big Bang and Minzy of 2NE1 had to train at a young age to get where they're at, so it's the same idea with them. Others believe they're too young to jump into this intense industry and need to tone down some of their dance moves.

So, what does Miko think? Personally, I've been desensitized by the American music industry and Hollywood with people overworking children to become popular. The biggest set of evidence is the late King of Pop Michael Jackson when he and his family were involved in the Jackson 5. America also puts too much emphasise on sexuality as well in young teen pop idols like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Jessica Simpson. Then there is the next big offender in this subject: Japan. They also overwork and oversexualize young female pop groups, usually with photobooks and calendars. They kinda treat them more like products than people like Morning Musume, AKB48, and BeForU. Sometimes America does this as well, so maybe GP Basic hasn't fallen that severely. I'm hoping they're not being overworked and used because they're only 12-15 years old. I do agree that they should keep things age appropriate for them and that the industry shouldn't rush them to appear older. We already have that problem in the U.S. and I'd rather not let that problem spread. They have potential, I think they're cute, and I want them to survive just the way they are without maturing too quickly lyrically and visually.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: The Warrior's Way

Starring: Dong-gun Jang, Kate Bosworth, & Geoffrey Rush
Directed by: Sngmoo Lee
Language: English
Rating: R
Running Time: 100 minutes

Last week, I saw The Warrior's Way with my mom and we both had no idea who was starring in it beforehand. My mom was even more oblivious to the storyline, so I shortly explained that it had about the same premise as Ninja Assassin...which is close to true.

Yang (played by Dong-gun Jang) is one of the greatest swordsmen in his country and he always wanted to become the strongest swordsman when he was younger. He soon claims this title by killing the last warrior of his enemy clan, but there is one clans member still alive...a baby girl. He prepares himself for the execution of the child, but decides to take her into his care. Unfortunately, this decision comes with serious consequences...his own clan is out to kill him for his treason. So, Yang takes the baby with him to a semi-abandon western town that was occupied by a once great circus in search of an old friend that lives that. Once he arrives he learns that his friend has passed away and takes on his laundry business with the help of a mediocre knife thrower Lynne (played by Kate Bosworth). Later, he learns that this town has an enemy of its own and his clan is waiting to hear the cry of his sword to find him.

My first thought when this movie ended was that the movie was visually stunning. They executed their effects and cinematography very well and I was in awe, even if they overused the slow-motion effect a little too much. Sure, it was violent, the plot line was similar to Ninja Assassin, and the conclusion was a bit predictable, but it was still very enjoyable for both of us. The character relationships and backgrounds could've been developed a little better, but it was different from Ninja Assassin as well as the action sequences. I wish Dong-gun Jang had more lines, but it kinda fits with his character in some ways. I like his Korean accent. In short, I enjoyed this movie very much and it's worth seeing if you enjoy movies like Ninja Assassin or anything with epic sword fights.

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quick Music Review

nil delete heads - InvisiblΣ (2010, Japan) Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: Z & the ultimate

It all started with a calm, beautiful melody by the name of "dorothy", then it all erupted into "S.I.G" with loud music and aggressive vocals. The intense momentum continued to a song, that ended up leaving an imprint in my head, "Z". It had the right balance that was loud, but smooth at the same time. Insanity soon came out in the middle of this fabulous mini when I reached "coup d'etat". From there, it continued to get better and better with more intensity and even some surprising acoustic work. It's a shame that the band is disbanding when they're improving so much with their music.

AYABIE - Virgin Snow Color -2nd season- (2010, Japan) Rating: 2.5/5
Favorite Tracks: ZENAKU NO HIGAN, temptation, SHINKIROU, & TSUMETAI TE

Now for the album Ayabie fans have been anticipating and/or dreading. The "Virgin Snow Color -2nd season-" was beautiful, but I was still nervous to hear Yumehito's vocals. I wasn't extremely impressed with the first couple tracks. The balance between vocals and music was off. Either the vocals were too loud or too muffled. Going through the album felt a bit awkward. I like Yumehito and all, but his voice doesn't stand out that much compared to other bands (and Aoi). The music is enjoyable, which I'm not surprised about. It's the same mixture of computer sound bits and their upbeat rock sound they left Ayabie with. Most of the upbeat songs were simply okay to me. "PARADE" was probably the best one out of all of them. Yumehito's vocals didn't seem too out of place, the music was nice and consistent, and it kept my attention. They probably should've moved the track further up on the list. The ballads were a bit bland either due to the so-so vocals or the unbalanced sound levels, although "TSUMETAI TE" redeemed the ballad portion of this album [and earned a heart on my ^^;]. Overall, I'm not extremely impressed nor overly disappointed. The album is alright and I'm still a bit unsure if it's just me being a tad bit bias of old Ayabie with Aoi's vocals or it really is reality that the band is just alright. I look forward to what they have to bring next time, I know that for sure.

Merry - Yakou (2010, Japan) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: Yakou & Lost Generation -replay-

For me, Merry has been on a roll with their music. They have been consistent with keeping their unique jazz-rock fusion style and not making it stale. "Yakou" shows off that style very well, displaying Gara's unique vocals and a couple pace changes in their music, but still holding your hand throughout this beautiful ride of their music. The band went backwards a little and revamped "Lost Generation" for the single. I think it was just as good, if not better, than the original. The single ends with a pretty and great remix of the title track.

T-ara - Temptastic (2010, South Korea) Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite Tracks: YaYaYa & What's wrong

Another fun and wonderfully comprised mini by the lovely ladies of T-ara (and a new member). "YaYaYa" is another upbeat, fun, and nonsensical song like "Bo Peep Bo Peep", but there is a point to it of course, especially when you see the video to it. If you listen to it enough, it'll get stuck in your head. "What's wrong" is almost as catchy as the first track, but in a totally different and somewhat unknown way. "Ma Boo" is a bit more downtempo and shows off the girls' vocal abilities. The final two tracks, "I don't know" and "Nevermind", are opposite from their upbeat companions and are more slow tempo to balance out the energy and mood. They're both alright tracks, but I'm not much of a ballad-y person most of the time.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Promo: Aldious

[from left to right] Yoshi (guitar), Sawa (bass), Rami (vocal), Toki (guitar), & Aruto (drums)
|Official Site||Official MySpace|

It seems like female metal musicians are few to none. Women of Show-Ya and Mari Hamada are pioneers for the movement in Japan that girl power is existent in the genre of Japanese metal. Of course, that was back in the days when X Japan, Loudness, and Seikima-II reigned supreme with loud guitars, whaling vocals, flashy costumes, and big hair. Now in this current time, women are still struggling to make a name for themselves in the world of jrock. It's great to witness a refreshing feminine metal band take on the scene.

It all started in 2008 when Rami and Yoshi came together to start up a band. They picked up Sawa and Toki along the way and started off as a four piece band, releasing their first EP, Dear Slave. In the beginning of 2010, Aruto completed the group, joined Bright Star Records, and released their debut single, Defended Desire, in July. They soon came out with their first full-length album, Deep Exceed, last month and fans are loving it!

Unlike exist†trace that have a tough exterior to their appearance, Aldious keeps a glamorous and elegant look about themselves letting their music do the talking for their toughness. Aldious's wave of talent is slowly catching onto overseas fans as a petition was recently made for them to be on the musical guests for Dallas's A-Kon 22 (specifically opening for Galneryus). I must admit I'm quite picky about the metal genre in general, but Aldious has gotten my vote and I hope that they're able to grow more with their music and fanbase.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Quick Music Review

-OZ- - Rouge (2010, Japan) | Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: Rotate, LEAD, flood bead, PLANT

-OZ- has been a fairly consistent band with their visuals and music, so I knew what to expect from their latest least I believed I did. "Birthday" and "Rotate" set a totally new level to the band's sound compared to Versus, in my opinion. They still had the basic elements that made me follow them, but their growth as musicians shone throughout every track without straying too far. If you haven't picked up Versus, then Rouge is a must have to your collection!

exist†trace - TWIN GATE (2010, Japan) | Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: DECIDE, RESONANCE, VANGUARD, Maid of Orleans

The girls have been busy experimenting with their sound and their latest album is proof they've been testing the waters. Their single releases "VANGUARD" and "RESONANCE" were already amazing to me. Jyou's smooth and aggressive vocals flow beautifully with the intense sound and even some of the ballads were pretty decent. Not all the songs clung to me as easily as the two previously mentioned songs, but it was alright overall. I'm hoping their next big release will blow me away like before.

Sadie - 棘-toge- (2010, Japan) | Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite Tracks: GREEDY EMOTION

I believe this single marked the band entering anime territory and I really don't mind that. Lately, Sadie's releases have been okay, but this has raised the bar back up a little. "棘-toge-" took me a little time to get the feel of it, but "GREEDY EMOTION" is what sold me. It had Sadie's signature style and a little extra power. I'm hoping the band will keep the momentum going whether it's heavy or mellow. Just keep it up!

MAA - Ghost Enemy (2010, Japan) | Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: Ghost Enemy

Former vocalist of Marbell has decided to go solo and share here beautiful vocals with the world a little more. Upon hearing and seeing the title track, I had mix feelings. Her visual style were remnants of early Lady Gaga and the sound was similar to ICONIQ's. Then I moved onto the next track and heard that special quality that MAA has to her voice and style. I anticipate her fist mini-album this month to see what direction she's going.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Good evening, fellow Cult followers!

A few little changes to the blog. First, there's a new poll on the right hand side of your screen, so votes are greatly appreciated. Next, a couple new Cult Links have been added: Linzer Dinzer and jrock vagabond. So, check out those sites and support them, because they are awesome and the people who run them are even more awesome!! Lastly, this place will be spammed with the updates and I must warn you that some of them are old music review drafts I've neglected to finish. Hopefully, there will be about 3-4 days apart from each, so check them out, leave comments, and tell your friends, family, and co-workers about them and the cult.

This has been your cult leader, Miko, signing off!!

made by fayelafee@lj

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Poll: Who Has the Bigger Ego?

Yoshiki and Kisaki are known for having the one of the biggest egos in the jrock industry. So, I decided to let you, my precious cult followers, choose who had the bigger ego. It was a close race and the results were neck and neck.

Looks like the followers have spoken: X Japan's own leader/workaholic/Cinderella Yoshiki! *claps* Congratulations, Yoshiki! You have the biggest ego in Japan. you think that ego can contend with Kanye West's. haha