live report - 24.08.2013 10:01

Four well-known metal bands shared the stage of Club CITTA for PURE ROCK JAPAN LIVE’s 2013 edition.

NoGoD did the honors, opening for PURE ROCK JAPAN LIVE, followed by the veterans of rock: SABER TIGER, GALNERYUS and ONMYO-ZA. The show was hotter than hell filled with impressive instrumentals, powerful vocals and 100% of pure Japanese rock.


Vocalist Dancho, guitarists Kyrie and Shinno, bassist Karin and drummer K brought out their A game and their best metal songs. The band kicked off the set with Kamikaze, guitars blasting for the intro and soon followed by K’s fast drumming. Dressed like a clown straight out of a horror movie, Dancho sang into what appeared to be an old book, with the microphone sticking out from one end. The song did a great job warming up the hall with its clever mix of heavy and catchy.

The tone hardened for the determined Zetsubou, Bye bye. The guitars took the spotlight with fiery riffs while the vocals acquired a sharper edge that added ferocity to the tune. With theatrics high Dancho continuously encouraged the crowd to move for Sora no koen, where his voice switched from a whisper into a growl in a split second. “Come on CITTA!” he yelled, one leg on the podium as he summoned the headbanging. Strong yet catchy, Kakusei lightened the mood. Its sweet and desperate vocals met with fierce headbanging. One by one the instrumentals were called to take the spotlight, and Shinno and Kyrie battled each other as they moved forward, their fingers flying over the strings.

“It smells of sweat already!” the vocalist teased. “We weren’t supposed to take part in this event and have to thank the producers for being awesome and inviting us. It’s an honor to be here. I have to say the audience is very different from the ones we generally have and it’s great to see so many guys in the crowd. Since this is a rock event, let’s get ready for some metal!”

Pumping fists flashed up as NoGoD blasted their way to Utsushiyo Horror Show, a powerful addition to their repertoire, and the band’s most recent single FRONTIER came next. “It’s a very heavy metal song!” Dancho guaranteed and the crowd raised hands in the devil horn sign. “I want to see you twirling those towels!” the vocalist demanded as they proceeded to downer's high!. Despite not particularly impressive musically, the song did the trick and got the hall moving, and everyone seeming to be having a blast as they jumped and flashed peace signs in time with the tune. Karin moved forward with a grin, plucking confidently at the strings for some hot bass lines and the band took the song home.

Rock returned full force for the last two songs of the set STAND UP! and TOUSOU HONNOU. Growls and pumping fists at a maximum NoGoD let it all out, instrumentals loud and fast for the finale. “Are you ready for more? Show me your fists! Let’s fight, Kawasaki!” the vocalist yelled encouraging the crowd to pump fists for the final round. With a loud “We love metal!” NoGoD left the stage setting the bar high for the following bands.

Set list

1. Kamikaze
2. Zetsubou, Bye bye
3. Sora no koen
4. Kakusei
5. Utsushiyo Horror Show
7. downer's high!


Guitarists Akihito Kinoshita and Yasuharu “Machine” Tanaka, bassist Takanobu Kimoto, drummer Yasuhiro Mizuno and vocalist Takenori Shimoyama came on stage to the sound of the SE RISE 2001. SABER TIGER brought with them a taste of old school rock, wasting no time as they promptly dove into the powerful ANGEL OF WRATH. Lights went from red to white, and the guitars raced over powerful drums. The crowed followed the tempo by pumping fists in the air, and Shimoyama headbanged like crazy before the guitar trio took the forefront for a torrid instrumental bit.

What better way to start LIGHT-THUNDER-LIGHT than with lightning-like holophotes over the crowd. A fast solo brought Kinoshita and Machine to the front, while the vocalist paced right and left like a caged beast, the hair definitely giving him the appearance of a fierce saber tiger. The bass work stood out through the song, where Kimoto plucked at the strings with confidence as he lightly thrashed his head in time with the tune. The crowd seemed to be having a great time, too. Some had their hands up as they followed the beat, while others rocked to the rhythm. Slightly lighter and with a catchy tone, PUSH saw the guitars at their best battling each other constantly; hair flew as the two men moved thrashed their heads in the process. The bass followed close behind. Kimoto held the bass vertically as he slid his fingers up and down the stings fiercely.
The lights proved a little too bright for ENDSVILLE, making it difficult to keep an eye on the band and what was happening on stage. The lights changed rapidly, flashing red and white brightly to the powerful drumming and intricate riffs.

“The view from here is awesome. This event has been going on for a while, but I think today is the hottest! We have some announcements for today! Let’s start with our America tour in the fall! I won’t talk too much because then we would have to cut some songs out, and I want you to listen to as many as possible!”

THE HAMMER opened with white lightening-like lights flashing over crimson red lights. Heavy and dark, the song proceeded with awesome riffs, and Kinoshita and Machine took the forefront for a heated battle that gave way to a powerful bass solo. Mizuno punished the drums hard, drum sticks flying from cymbal to cymbal as he set the beat for HATE CRIME. With his arms in the air, the vocalist demanded more from the crowd, and SABER TIGER blasted their way through THE ACTIVIST'S CREED. The song proceeded in the same heavy fashion and made the transition to the last song very smooth. The band closed the set with the epic MESSIAH COMPLEX, ready for battle as they bid farewell to CITTA, bringing out the heavy artillery for the heated finale.

Set list

1. RISE 2001 (SE)


Next in line was the well-known power metal band GALNERYUS. They had quite a few fans in the crowd. The audience received guitarist Syu, bassist Taka, keyboardist Yuhki, drummer Junichi and vocalist Sho with enthusiasm, yelling and pumping fists in the air to the powerful SE, REACH TO THE SKY. Ready to rock, Syu moved forward with his hand in the air making the devil horn sign, and the crowd copied him. Sho demanded more, and the shouts threatened to muffle the instrumentals, yet with a grin Syu set the guitar in place and teased his way through THE PROMISSED FLAG, where the guitar was loud and fast over powerful drums. The song brought the guitarist to his knees, fingers flying skillfully over the strings. The piano added intensity to the piece, instrumentals coming together cleverly while the band made sure to take full use of the stage, moving constantly as they interacted with the audience.

“Hello! We are GALNERYUS! Let’s have some fun!” Sho casually yelled out as he got the crowd ready for MY LAST FAREWELL. Fists pumped the air and Syu and Taka swayed back and forth to the tune. Behind the keyboard Yuhki headbanged like crazy, fingers moving fast over the white keys. “We are very happy to be here today. We are celebrating ten years of our major debut this year! Please keep supporting us!” the vocalist spoke in a casual, friendly tone very characteristic to the band half way through the song. The ride continued, fast and determined; the song conveyed an unyielding spirit that showed the band’s determination to strive. It instrumentals raced into the sunrise over strong vocals.

The tone eased with LAMENT, sweet and strong coming together nicely. The drum work stood out with Junichi crossing the drums sticks behind his head before powerfully descending them onto the drums. “We are recording so we will be having a new album coming out later this year!” The vocalist informed the crowd who voiced their anticipation and excitement.

With its classical opera-like intro, FUTURE NEVER DIES caused quite an impact. Syu fell down on his knees theatrically as he took the spotlight for a solo; the guitar’s sweet and mournful plea engulfed the hall. The epic ANGEL OF SALVATION was one of the night’s most impressive numbers, and the hall came together, arms in the air as they shouted the chorus with the vocalist, ready for battle and all things to come. It is definitely a song worth checking. 100% metal, UNITED FLAG closed the set. Fists pumped the air while the vocalist jumped from one foot to the other. Syu kicked the air between twirls, and the intricate guitar riffs added spice to the song while the drums raced at high speed, going wild for the finale. With the crowd cheering loudly, GALNERYUS bid their farewells.

Set list



ONMYO-ZA closed the show, metal and Japanese folk combining uniquely as the band dragged CITTA to their world of demons and legends. Vocalist-bassist Matatabi, vocalist Kuroneko, guitarists Maneki and Karukan, and supporting members Makoto Dobashi (drums) and Masahiro Abe (keyboard) came on stage clad in traditional Japanese outfits that gave the band a distinctive look. The crowd welcomed ONMYO-ZA enthusiastically, to which the vocalist immediately encouraged the audience to pump fists to shouts of “Hei!” for the first song.

The set focused mainly on their 2011 album [Kishi Bojin], which roughly translates to “Mother of devils.” Kuroneko seemed to take the role of the title character, moving dramatically to the tune. Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Shuushuu was followed by Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~Samayoi. The double vocals for the first number gave it strength while the second song carried a more melancholic tone, where Kuroneko singlehandedly took over the vocals.

Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Ubugi opened with a pain-filled grunt that gave the song away. A horror movie came to mind as the dark tune engulfed the hall. Kuroneko moved theatrically across the stage, hair falling over her face and making her resemble Sadako from the horror movie “The Ring.” Matatabi growled fiercely into the microphone for the deathvoice, headbanging while he plucked at the stings. Maneki and Karukan took turns in the front for a solo, headbanging fiercely as they took the song home.

Matatabi’s funky bass riffs stood out through Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Namasu, the crowd moving constantly to the hot beat and singing in unison. Red fell on the stage for Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Oni Kosae no Uta and the theatricals aggravated. Kuroneko moved slowly at first, her twirls growing in speed as the song intensified, and her body convulsing to the tune before guitars and bass took over, fast and determined.
Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Kishibojin saw the band at their best, guitars and drums blasting in a number that got the hall off their feet and rocking to the rhythm. With hair over his face, the bassist headbanged fiercely and suddenly all went silent for the piano which took it home.

“Good afternoon! Thank you all for being here! Even if it’s the first time you see us and don’t really know us, I hope you can remember our name after today’s show! It’s an honor to share the stage with so many amazing bands. GALNERYUS is a band with great technique, and they put on great live performances. SABER TIGER as well. What can I say about NoGoD? Well, Karin is very very cute! On stage, off stage, he is very cute. Dancho is also very cute!” Matatabi added with a laugh, and the crowd burst out laughing.

Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Kikoku gave way to Kouga Ninpouchou and Kurai au closed the set. From sweet and pop to loud rock the show went. The crowd brought out some props for one of the songs; they raised up a cat’s claw for the choreography while Kuroneko exemplified. It all contributed for a wonderful performance that brought the hall together and ready for the encore.

ONMYOU-ZA was the first one back and Matatabi took over the microphone, calling the other bands back on stage for the classic 20th Century Boy. The party was on, and pure rock lit up CITTA in a great finale, the four bands sharing the stage in an epic performance. We look forward to many more editions of this pure rock show. If you happen to be in Japan at the time, don’t miss it!

Set list

1. Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Shuushuu
2. Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~Samayoi
3. Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Ubugi
4. Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Namasu
5. Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Oni Kosae no Uta
6. Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Kishibojin
7. Kumikyoku [Kishi Bojin] ~ Kikoku
8. Kouga Ninpouchou
9. Kurai au

10. 20th Century Boy/T-REX
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