Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

XS ROCK

Featured Articles

The Top 15 Japanese Metal Bands Of The 80s

The Top 15 Japanese Metal Bands Of The 80s

#15 Aion

Formed in 1983 by guitarist Izumi Ochiai, Aion started out as a thrash band but would later develop into more of a power metal-sounding entity. . Along with X Japan, Aion was one of the creators of the Visual Kei movement. Though the band started in the 80s, they found their biggest success in the 90s. Aion has released the following studio albums: Deathrash Bound (March 21, 1989), Human Griefman (February 25, 1990), Aionism (October 8, 1991), Aion -Aion- (愛音~AION~, August 21, 1992), Z (Z [ZETTO], June 2, 1993), Absolute (March 2, 1994), Freak-Out (November 22, 1995), Mithras (February 22, 1997, fan-club only), Eve (April 4, 1998, fan-club only), Ceremony of Cross Out (September 9, 1999, fan-club only), Judge of Death Line (September 9, 1999, fan-club only), Manners of Kill and Wound (September 9, 1999, fan-club only), Magnitude (December 24, 2000, fan-club only), Sister (October 24, 2003, fan-club only).

 

 

#14 Doom

Formed in 1985 this Japanese Thrash band Doom was successful in Asia, but also managed to play the famous CBGB in New York in 1988. Takashi “Taka” Fujita on vocals and guitar is the only remaining original member left in the lineup. Bassist Koh “Pirarucu” Morota died in 1999. Doom has released the following studio albums: No More Pain (1987), Complicated Mind (1988), Incompetent… (1989), Human Noise (1991), Doom VI – Illegal Soul (1992), Where Your Life Lies!? (1999), Still Can’t The Dead (2016)

 

 

 

 

#13 Outrage

Thrash metal band Outrage began in 1982 from Nagoya, Japan. The bands’ first album Black Clouds was released in 1988 on the major label, Polydor Records. Their present-day lineup contains long-tenured members from the 80s with the band consisting of Yosuke Abe (阿部洋介) – guitar, backing vocals (1982–present), vocals (1998–2007), Yoshihiro Yasui (安井義博) – bass, backing vocals (1982–present), vocals (1998–2007), Shinya Tange (丹下眞也) – drums (1982–present), and Naoki Hashimoto (橋本直樹) – vocals (1986–1999, 2007–present). Outrage has released the following studio albums: Black Clouds (1988), Blind to Reality (1989), The Great Blue (1990), The Final Day (1991), Spit (1993), Life Until Deaf (1995), Who We Are (1997), 24-7 (2002), Cause For Pause (2004), Outrage (2009), Outraged (June 5, 2013), Genesis I (October 7, 2015), Raging Out (October 11, 2017), and Run Riot (April 15, 2020)

 

 

#12 Sabbat

This Japanese Black Metal band started in 1984. Sabbat is another band that only released EP’s and singles during the 80s and would not officially release a full album until 1991. In the beginning, Sabbat often played cover songs by Venom around Japan. After releasing several singles in the 80s the band begins to find success outside of Japan as well. Sabbat has released the following studio albums to date: Envenom (Evil Records, Japan 1991), Evoke (Evil Records, Japan 1992), Disembody (Evil Records, Japan 1993) Fetishism (Evil Records, Japan 1994), The Dwelling (Evil Records, Japan 1996), Karisma ((Iron Pegasus Records, Germany 1999), Satanasword (Iron Pegasus Records, Germany 2000), Karmagmassacre (Iron Pegasus Records, Germany 2003), and Sabbatrinity (Iron Pegasus Records, Germany 2011)

 

 

 

#11 United

United took their name from the Judas Priest song “United” from the British Steel album. The band was formed in 1981 and these days, guitarist Yoshifumi “Hally” Yoshida is the longest-tenured member of the band having joined in 1988. Early Vocalist Kouichi “Nao” died in 2017. United released 3 EPs during the 80s before releasing their debut full-length album “Bloody But Unbowed” in 1990. United has released the following studio albums: Bloody But Unbowed (1990), Human Zoo (1992), N.O.I.Q. (1995), Reload (1997), Distorted Vision (1999), Infectious Hazard (2001), Core (2002), Nine (2005), Tear of Illusions (2011), and Absurdity (2018)

 

 

 

#10 Saber Tiger

Saber Tiger was formed in 1981 by founding member and guitarist Akihito Kinoshita. Strangely, the band only released singles before their actual debut album in 1992. Saber Tiger released a major label international album entitled Project One which featured vocalist Ron Keel (Keel), bassist Naoto Shibata (Anthem), and drummer Hirotsugu Honma (ex-Ezo and Loudness).  The album was successful and brought significant attention to the band. Saber Tiger has released the following studio albums: Invasion (April 21, 1992), Agitation (August 25, 1994), Timystery (October 25, 1995), Project One (February 5, 1997), Brain Drain (February 21, 1998), Saber Tiger (January 24, 2001), F.U.S.E. (March 13, 2002), Indignation (January 26, 2005), Decisive (August 3, 2011), Messiah Complex (October 10, 2012), Bystander Effect (November 23, 2015) and Obscure Diversity (October 10, 2018).

 

 

#9 Dead End

Another Japanese band that tried to reach the shores of the U.S., Dead End achieved only modest sales with their Ghost Of Romance album. The band received airplay on MTV with the song “Danse Macabre”, but never really achieved the level of success Of Loudness and X Japan. The band had a unique style and image that was often confusing to American audiences, who were right in the middle of the glam metal movement at the time.

 

 

 

 

 

# 8 Show-Ya

This all-female Japanese metal band was originally formed in 1981 and released its first studio album in 1985.  The band’s main lineup included: Keiko Terada – lead vocals, Miki “Sun-go” Igarashi – guitar, backing vocals, Miki “Captain” Nakamura – keyboards, backing vocals, Satomi Senba – bass, backing vocals, Miki “Mittan” Tsunoda – drums, backing vocals and Mitsuko Numata – guitar (1981-1984). Show-Ya was a stand-out in the 80s metal genre in Japan because of the band being comprised of all female members. Show-Ya forged the way for modern female metal bands like BabyMetal and LoveBites in Japan. They have released the following albums to date: Masquerade Show (1985), Queendom (1986), Ways (1986), Trade Last (1987), Immigration (1987), Glamour (1988), Outerlimits (1989), Hard Way (1990), Touch the Sun (1995), Genuine Diamond (2012), Progress (2015) and Aurora (2017). Show-Ya is set to release their latest album “Showdown” in 2021.

 

 

# 7 Earthshaker

Earthshaker is one of the early Japanese metal bands.  They were unfortunately overlooked in the U.S. market with bands like Loudness, E-Z-O, and Anthem reaching an American metal audience. Early on Earthshaker actually featured Loudness vocalist Minoru Niihara as their singer and bass player. Earthshaker is still well-known in Japan and has released a large discography over the years. In the 80s they released the following albums: Earthshaker (1983), Fugitive (1984), Midnight Flight (1984), Passion (1985), Overrun (1986), Aftershock (1987), Smash (1988), and Treachery (1989). The band released their latest album “The Story Goes On” in 2018.

 

 

 

# 6 Bow Wow / Vow Wow

Bow Wow is one of the early Japanese metal bands. Starting in the late 70s the band released several albums.  In the 80s they released Glorious Road (1980), Telephone (1980), Hard Dog (1981)
Asian Volcano (1982), and Warning from Stardust (1982).  In 1984 the band changed their name to Vow Wow and released the albums Beat of Metal Motion (1984), Cyclone (1985), III (1986)
V (1987) and Vibe (1988).  Kyoji Yamamoto is considered a guitar virtuoso and is known for his skillful style.

 

 

 

 

Seikima-II# 5 Seikima-II

This Japanese band started in 1982 and has featured different lineups over the years with vocalist Demon Kakka as the only constant member.  They have been compared to KISS for their elaborate costumes and use of black and white makeup.  The band has sold over 10 Million records in Japan.  Seikima-II released the following albums during the 1980s: Seikima II – Akuma ga Kitarite Heavy Metal (聖飢魔II〜悪魔が来たりてヘヴィメタる, 1985), The End of the Century (1986), From Hell with Love (地獄より愛をこめて, 1986), Big Time Changes (1987) and The Outer Mission (1988). The band have a long career and officially disbanded in 1999.

 

 

 

# 4 EZO

In terms of mainstream success in the United States, E-Z-O was probably one of the closest to breakthrough. The band’s video for the single Flashback Heart Attack” received airplay on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. The band was helped along by Gene Simmons of Kiss and released their debut album on Geffen Records. The band wore leather and black and white makeup that represented the different elements of Japanese folklore. The band was originally called “Flatbacker” and recorded several albums in Japan before changing their name to E-Z-O at Simmons’s request. After the band disbanded, leader singer Masaki Yamada joined Loudness for a succession of albums replacing vocalist Mike Vescera, who had replaced original Loudness vocalist Minoru Niihara.

 

 

 

# 3 X Japan

X Japan, started a new wave of music by incorporating visual elements like heavy makeup, elaborate costumes, and hairstyles, similar to the U.S. glam rock movement, but purely Japanese in style. X Japan was not widely known outside of Asia for many years but has steadily built a loyal following of fans worldwide. Unfortunately, they received the most press, for the tragic death of guitarist, Hide who was well-loved and wildly popular in Japan and now is recognized for his talents around the world. X Japan has only released 5 full-length albums throughout their long career and is lead by the charismatic drummer, Yoshiki. The band still does a tribute to their fallen band member Hide in each live performance. X Japan is considered a legendary rock band in Japan and throughout the world despite having a smaller discography than many other bands. The bands’ popularity has actually grown over the years.

 

 

#2 Anthem

After Loudness broke through as the first mainstream Japanese heavy metal band, many bands tried to follow their lead. One of the best Japanese bands to hit the scene was Anthem. The band still continues to release new albums, periodically. Bound To Break was the band’s biggest success in the United States, but failed to capture the album buyer’s attention at the same level as Loudness. Highly regarded in Japan, the band has a lengthy discography and deserved far more credit overseas than they received. Studio albums released by Anthem to date: 1985: Anthem, 1985: Ready to Ride EP, 1986: Tightrope, 1987: Bound to Break, 1988: Gypsy Ways, 1989: Hunting Time 1990: No Smoke Without Fire, 1992: Domestic Booty, 2000: Heavy Metal Anthem, 2001: Seven Hills, 2002: Overload, 2004: Eternal Warrior, 2006: Immortal, 2008: Black Empire, 2011: Heraldic Device, 2012: Burning Oath, 2014: Absolute World and 2017: Engraved

 

 

# 1 Loudness

The first Japanese metal band to secure a major record deal with a company from the United States. That band is “Loudness”. Loudness started in 1981 and is one of the most popular metal exports from Japan. In May of 1981, Munetaka loudnessHiguchi (drums) and Akira Takasaki (guitar) from the Japanese band, Lazy decided to form their own band to pursue their favorite music style. Minoru Niihara (Vocals), a former member of Earthshaker, became the original lead singer of Loudness after auditioning. Masayoshi Yamashita (bass), an old friend with Takasaki, was also selected after a few auditions. The band released six releases consisting of full albums and EP’s before recording their debut album for Atlantic Records, entitled “Thunder In The East”. Loudness had made an intentional attempt to reach international fame. When Thunder In The East was recorded, Minoru Niihara did not speak English and learned to sing all of the vocals phonetically. The band received airplay on MTV, which brought them to a whole new audience of American rock fans. The album released in 1985, reached no. 4 on Japanese charts and landed at no. 74 in the U.S. They toured the U.S. with Motley Crue and became the first Japanese rock band to play Madison Square Garden. The band released Lightning Strikes and Hurricane Eyes in the United States and Akira Takasaki began to get noticed as a guitar hero, alongside the likes of Eddie Van Halen, George Lynch, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jake E. Lee, and others. The band went through a few lineup changes when Niihara left the band as was replaced by American vocalist, Mike Vescera and later by Masaki Yamada of the Japanese band EZO. Niihara returned to the band in 2001. To date, Loudness has released a total of 26 studio albums and remains a legendary band, both in Japan and the United States. Today, Akira Takasaki is considered among the best rock guitarists in the world.

You May Also Like

Featured Articles

During the 80’s hard rock ruled the airwaves. Quiet Riot’s Metal Health became the first #1 metal album of all time. Soon after the...

Featured Articles

For every Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Van Halen, There were many other bands that were really good, but somehow didn’t quite make it...

80s Heavy Metal

The 1980s hard rock and metal scene is widely known as a generation of excess and a lot of over-the-top imagery. In fact, most...

Christian Rock & Metal

01. Stryper-Stryper has to be at the top of this list. Not because I think they’re the best, but because their contribution to Christian...

Hard Rock & Metal

Formed in 1982 by Tom Keifer and Eric Brittingham, Cinderella was one of the biggest bands of the ’80s rock and metal era.  Following several...

Hard Rock & Metal

Recently, I received an advanced release for Josh Todd & The Conflict’s debut album, “Year Of The Tiger”. Most of you probably know Josh...

Hard Rock & Metal

Britny Fox was formed in 1985 with “Dizzy” Dean Davidson on vocals, former Cinderella drummer Tony Destra, former Cinderella guitarist Michael Kelly Smith and...

80s Heavy Metal

The 1980s and early 90s saw hard rock and heavy metal go mainstream and reach a large audience worldwide. The genre was split into...

80s Heavy Metal

The 1980s were an awesome time thanks to the glam/hair metal scene. The image almost became as important as the music during this period,...

80s Heavy Metal News

Judas Priest Announces New Album "Invincible Shield"

80s Heavy Metal

Judas Priest just dropped their newest track from their upcoming new album “Invincible Shield” and it should really appeal to fans of the Judas...

Listen To Brand New Ace Frehley Song "10,000 Volts" Listen To Brand New Ace Frehley Song "10,000 Volts"

80s Heavy Metal

Ace Frehley comments on the new video: THE CHERRY MEDICINE VIDEO IS HERE!! This is one of my favorite tracks on the album, and...

80s Heavy Metal

Def Leppard has released several videos on YouTube showcasing their concert at The Whisky back in 2022. Def Leppard is currently out on tour...

80s Heavy Metal

For the first time since the band wrapped the last concert of its Final World Tour back in November 2019, Slayer – Tom Araya/...

helix helix

80s Heavy Metal

Helix vocalist Brian Vollmer has posted the following news regarding Hinz’s death on his Official Facebook Page: Greg “Fritz” Hinz: January 23rd/1956-February 16th/2024. R.I.P....

Sweet Pain Finally Get Debut Album Released On CD With Bonus Tracks Sweet Pain Finally Get Debut Album Released On CD With Bonus Tracks

80s Heavy Metal

Remastered by lead singer, Corky Gunn, who also came up with the new cover concept, this glam cult gem includes a 24-page booklet featuring...

Hard Rock & Metal News

CRASHDÏET Announces New Singer And Drummer

Hard Rock & Metal

CRASHDÏET has announced the following update: The time has come to enter the next chapter in the CRASHDÏET book of madness. After much soul-searching,...

Hard Rock & Metal

March 1, 2024Big Big Train – The Likes Of Us (InsideOut)Blind Channel – Exit Emotions (Century Media)Bruce Dickinson – The Mandrake Project (BMG)Devastator –...

Molly Hatchet Live Photos From Thunder By The Bay Festival, Sarasota, FL Molly Hatchet Live Photos From Thunder By The Bay Festival, Sarasota, FL

Hard Rock & Metal

Legendary Southern Hard Rockers Molly Hatchet played all their greatest hits to a large, enthusiastic crowd that was on their feet throughout the entire...

Vain To Release New Album "Disintegrate Together" Vain To Release New Album "Disintegrate Together"

80s Heavy Metal

Vain has posted the following info on their Official Facebook Page regarding their upcoming new album: VAIN IS BACK… WITH A VENGEANCEIt’s been 6...

Former Dokken Members Return With New The End Machine Song For "Killer Of The Night" Former Dokken Members Return With New The End Machine Song For "Killer Of The Night"

80s Heavy Metal

Today, THE END MACHINE shares the second single from their highly anticipated upcoming release, ‘The Quantum Phase‘ due out March 8th via Frontiers Music...

Stryper to Release Their First Ever Acoustic Album 'Acousticyzed' On Feb. 16th Stryper to Release Their First Ever Acoustic Album 'Acousticyzed' On Feb. 16th

80s Heavy Metal

Stryper is releasing this two-disc set containing an audio CD and Blu-ray video. The band’s first acoustic album and video recorded and filmed at...

XS ROCK Featured Articles

The Top 20 Hard Rock And Metal Albums Of 2023

Featured Articles

2023 had some really good hard rock and metal albums released if you know where to look and listen. The hard rock and metal...

45 Christian Heavy Metal Bands From The 80s And 90s That You Should Hear 45 Christian Heavy Metal Bands From The 80s And 90s That You Should Hear

80s Heavy Metal

Angelica Attempting to hit on the sound of guitar slingers like Van Halen and George Lynch, Angelica went for a more glam-sounding singer, similar...

20 Albums Released In 2023 That 80s Metal Fans Should Hear 20 Albums Released In 2023 That 80s Metal Fans Should Hear

80s Heavy Metal

Each year, it seems that the remaining 80s hard rock and metal bands that are still putting out new music seem to get smaller...

Check Out These 80s Metal And Hard Rock Stars' Real Names Check Out These 80s Metal And Hard Rock Stars' Real Names

80s Heavy Metal

Check out these 80’s Hard Rock And Metal Stars’ Real Names! Some of these names are well known to fans, while others might find...

Who Were The Top 15 Most-Glam Mainstream Metal Bands Of The 80s? Who Were The Top 15 Most-Glam Mainstream Metal Bands Of The 80s?

80s Heavy Metal

The 80s were the decade of excess and musically that was absolutely true as well. The hard rock and heavy metal musical landscape exploded...

Who Were The Best Straight Up, No Frills Hard Rock And Metal Bands Of The 80s? Who Were The Best Straight Up, No Frills Hard Rock And Metal Bands Of The 80s?

80s Heavy Metal

The 1980s hard rock and metal scene is widely known as a generation of excess and a lot of over-the-top imagery. In fact, most...

80s Rock & Pop

80s Music Video Of The Day

Take a trip down memory lane with this list of one-hit wonders on the U.S. charts from the years 1980 and 1981. How many...

Legendary 80s Pop Icon Adam Ant Announces 2024 American Tour Legendary 80s Pop Icon Adam Ant Announces 2024 American Tour

80s Rock & Pop

Adam Ant is pleased to announce his ANTMUSIC 2024 U.S. tour, which commences March 21st in St. Louis, MO. The English Beat will be supporting...

Foreigner And Styx Announce Renegades And Jukebox Heroes Tour With John Waite Foreigner And Styx Announce Renegades And Jukebox Heroes Tour With John Waite

80s Rock & Pop

Foreigner has announced the following: This summer we’re hitting the road with Styx! “We always look forward to being with our buddies in Styx,”...

80s Heavy Metal

Goodwyn was not only the singer but also the guitarist and main songwriter for the band. Goodwyn was widely revered as a great songwriter...

80s Pop Icon Tiffany releases new single “Angels All Around” 80s Pop Icon Tiffany releases new single “Angels All Around”

80s Rock & Pop

Just in time for the Holidays Tiffany is set to release the new single “Angels All Around” and the Limited Edition NEW Shadows cover....

Daryl Hall Gets Restraining Order Against John Oates Daryl Hall Gets Restraining Order Against John Oates

80s Rock & Pop

There’s big drama in the Hall & Oates camp as an ongoing legal battle between Daryl Hall and John Oates continues with Hall gaining...

Alternative-Punk-Electronic

Alternative / Punk

Toxic misogyny, violence against women, and incels are the latest target Al Jourgensen takes aim at in the song “B.D.E.” (aka “Big Dick Energy”)...

Punk Legends Cock Sparrer To Release Their Final Album "Hand On Heart" Punk Legends Cock Sparrer To Release Their Final Album "Hand On Heart"

Alternative / Punk

Punk legends Cock Sparrer announce their 8th and final album on vinyl, splatter vinyl, picture disc, CD, cassette and digital formats! No one (band...

Social Distortion And Bad Religion Announce Co-Headliner U.S. Tour Social Distortion And Bad Religion Announce Co-Headliner U.S. Tour

Alternative / Punk

Social Distortion’s Mike Ness has posted the following regarding the tour: It gives us great pleasure to announce that in April we will be...

Co-Founder Of The Dictators, Scott Kempner Dead At 69 Co-Founder Of The Dictators, Scott Kempner Dead At 69

Alternative / Punk

The guitarist and co-founder of The Dictators Scott “Top Ten” Kempner has died at age 69 from complications of dementia. He would also co-found...

Shane MacGowan, Pogues Singer Dead At 65 Shane MacGowan, Pogues Singer Dead At 65

Alternative / Punk

Pogues singer Shane MacGowan has died after a lengthy stay in ICU for an infection. A statement on behalf of Shane MacGowan’s wife Victoria...

Controlled Bleeding's Entire Discography On Bandcamp Free This Week! Controlled Bleeding's Entire Discography On Bandcamp Free This Week!

Alternative / Punk

Controlled Bleeding has announced the following: The entire Controlled Bleeding digital discography is FREE on Bandcamp for Cyber week starting today!! controlledbleeding.bandcamp.com To claim...

Rock News

Hard Rock & Metal

The 26th Annual Thunder By The Bay Music & Motorcycle Festival is a three-day event held Feb. 16-18, 2024 at the Sarasota Fairgrounds that...

Watch AC/DC's First Live Appearance Since 2016 At The Power Trip Festival Watch AC/DC's First Live Appearance Since 2016 At The Power Trip Festival

80s Heavy Metal

You can watch the full live performance of AC/DC from their Power Trip show courtesy of the Riff Raff YouTube channel. The band ripped...

DEF LEPPARD AND JOURNEY ANNOUNCE SUMMER STADIUM TOUR 2024 WITH STEVE MILLER BAND, HEART, AND CHEAP TRICK DEF LEPPARD AND JOURNEY ANNOUNCE SUMMER STADIUM TOUR 2024 WITH STEVE MILLER BAND, HEART, AND CHEAP TRICK

80s Heavy Metal

Def Leppard and Journey are teaming up for the Summer Stadium Tour 2024 with Steve Miller Band, Heart, and Cheap Trick! The Rock &...

Head East Release Their First album In Over 40 Years Head East Release Their First album In Over 40 Years

Rock

Legendary AOR band Head East is back and better than ever with the highly anticipated release of “Full Circle,” their first studio album in...

Listen To Brand New Ace Frehley Song "10,000 Volts" Listen To Brand New Ace Frehley Song "10,000 Volts"

80s Heavy Metal

Ace Frehley, former and original KISS guitarist will return with a brand new album called “10,000 Volts” on February 23, 2024. You can listen...

Eric Martin Band Gets 40th Anniversary Album Release featuring members of Mr. Big, Tesla and Y & T Eric Martin Band Gets 40th Anniversary Album Release featuring members of Mr. Big, Tesla and Y & T

80s Heavy Metal

Eric Martin Band – Sucker For A Pretty Face – Original Sessions Tracklist: 1.    Sucker For A Pretty Face 2.    Don’t Stop 3.    Private Life 4.    Letting It...

Rock Stars…Where Are They Now?

Where Are They Now?

W.A.S.P. was originally known for outrageous antics such as throwing raw meat into the audience and appearing to torture people on a horror-themed stage....

Winger...Where Are They Now? Winger...Where Are They Now?

Hard Rock & Metal

Winger released their debut album “Winger in 1988 and it scored the band its first platinum-selling album. Winger released its second album In the...

Britny Fox...Where Are They Now? Britny Fox...Where Are They Now?

Hard Rock & Metal

Britny Fox was formed in 1985 with “Dizzy” Dean Davidson on vocals, former Cinderella drummer Tony Destra, former Cinderella guitarist Michael Kelly Smith and...

badlands badlands

Hard Rock & Metal

After guitarist Jake E. Lee was fired from Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, Badlands was formed when Lee recruited bassist Greg Chaisson, former Black Sabbath...

Hurricane...Where Are They Now? Hurricane...Where Are They Now?

Hard Rock & Metal

Hurricane started out in 1983-84 with the original lineup of lead vocalist Kelly Hansen (vocals/rhythm guitar), Robert Sarzo (guitar), Tony Cavazo (bass), and Jay...

Black N' Blue...Where Are They Now? Black N' Blue...Where Are They Now?

Hard Rock & Metal

  Black ‘N Blue was formed in 1981 and released four successful and critically acclaimed albums through Geffen Records including their self-titled debut (1984),...