Malice Mizer - Beast of Blood
Genre: visual kei, metal elements
Song style: really "goth" - heavy guitars + harpsichord + hissing and singing vocals
I have to say this was one of my first conscious exposures to Japanese rock music (and possibly a stereotypical one). In 2001 for my first time in Japan (I was like 14 years old!) I ran across a magazine ad with these guys and I thought they looked pretty awesome... so I looked into their music and liked what I heard! Combinations of heavy discordant guitars and melodic singing really draws me in. This group is now defunct (sadly happened the same year I discovered them), but it used to have the now-uber-famous Gackt as its lead vocalist. Here, the band is headed by their last singer, Klaha (I wonder what happened to him?) It also has the famous crossdresser Mana pretending to play the violin, who frequently models for goth fashion magazines. I was never really a goth person but can understand why people might like the effect or the music. But don't be fooled into thinking this is all Japanese rock has to offer! It's just an interesting extra facet that we don't too frequently see in America these days (though even saying that, these guys are pretty old news now).