Nine Bands I Think Deserve Some More Attention

Strap in for a good read. Regulars know how I get down from time to time. Even though we are notorious for being a visual kei hub, we also want to be a place where conversations about what’s popular in the wider rock (and music) scene can happen too. But in that lies a Catch-22 where conversations about legitimately successful artists in Japan don’t take off here because as a group we haven’t worked our way around to them yet. The size of the entire Japanese music scene can be staggering and overwhelming, especially without a guide or a way in, so I decided to do what I do best: spout exposition.

Let’s bulldoze right through all the barriers and talk about a few bands I enjoy that I think others may too. The only commonalities between these bands is that I like them and that they are not visual kei. I also put a poll in at the end, so feel free to vote for any artists you enjoy.

Nine Bands I Think Deserve Some More Forum Lovin’

Bo Ningen

This is one of a few bands that doesn’t get nearly enough attention on the forum, so they come first. Japanese for “Stick Man”, Bo Ningen is a four piece noise rock / alternative rock band signed to both the British label Stolen Recordings and Sony Japan. They’ve been at it since 2006, and I’ve heard their name bubble up time and time again but I didn’t look into them properly until recently. What gets their name really out there is that they’re a band that pulls equal influences from Britain and Japan, and they come up with something unique as a result. Sliders is such a cool track, so I hope that it gives a good idea as to what they’re all about.


Proof that not all indie rock from Japan has raspy male vocals in tweed backed by jangly guitar. It’s sweet female vocals instead. I jest, but that substitution connects with me on a level that a lot of indie rock doesn’t. Shishamo formed while the original three members were in high school early 2010. They started writing music in 2011, joined a music contest and won, and released a debut album off the hype. They’ve been gaining traction ever since. They’ve had one member substitution since they’ve formed, but the sound is consistent no matter what. They’ve released eight albums too, so their work ethic is top notch.



Punk doesn’t get a lot of attention on this forum, so I chose Disclose next. Disclose were a Japanese d-beat and punk rock band from Kouchi City, heavily influenced by British hardcore punk band Discharge. They took everything about Discharge’s style and amped it up to 11, from increased use of fuzz and distortion to lyrics about nuclear war and its horrific consequences. Sadly, the band came to a close when frontman Kawakami died from a drug overdose in 2007.

Sailing Before The Wind

You thought @Rena was the only one that talks about Sailing? Describing themselves as a melodious metalcore band, they’ve been at it since 2011, and being signed to their own label they’re arguably one of the biggest metalcore bands in the scene right now, so throw some respect on their name. The differences between the visual and non-visual metalcore scenes are numerous, but what really impressed me about Sailing are their consistent collaborations with other big metal artists. From guest vocalists to guitarists, these features bring a lot of variety and flavor, but make no mistake these guys bring the heaviness too. Each song is a grab bag of riffs guaranteed to get me hype. Check em out.

Unlucky Morpheus

I really like this band. I’ve been following them since they were an instrumental doujin arrangement band and I’m so proud at how far they’ve come. They started with just yuki and Fuki in 2008 and now they’re a six piece kicking serious ass. They have a dedicated violinist for crying out loud, and Fuki is quickly becoming one of my favorite metal vocalists! The way they incorporate visuals without being visual kei is something new and interesting as well - they’re obviously taking inspiration from the scene, but they are 100% their own thing. Black Pentagram grabbed me instantly due to Fuki’s massive presence, so I hope you like it too.


If you or someone you know is still spurned by how MISC. washed away all of DIMLIM’s potential, yet you feel like the album isn’t as bad as some play it up to be, then just know that siraph accomplished what DIMLIM attempted to go for but much more convincingly. A pop rock band formed by ex. School Food Punishment members with anisong singer Annabel after the disbandment of School Food Punishment, I really feel like this band has the potential to get back to the indie sound of School Food Punishment I fell in love with all those years ago, but they have also shown the ability to be much more flexible and dynamic. Wash out the bad taste of MISC. with this.


I don’t feel like we talk about downy enough either, even though they’re considered the founders of Japanese post rock, so they get a spot too. Depending on my mood, these guys go from really good to hittin’. The way this band plays with texture and melody is unmatched. Unmatched. So consistent they took a few years break, came back, and was still on their game. They played at both Japan’s greatest rock festival “FUJIROCK FESTIVAL” and at China’s largest rock festival “Concrete & Grass”. downy also co-hosts the festival “Afterhours” with MONO and envy, inside and outside Japan. If you like Nagoya-kei, then I think there’s a lot here for you to chew on. Lots of sonic similarities. Their live performances must be otherworldly; even though they aren’t visual kei they also use visuals to good effect. Check this video out to see what I mean.


Originally an acid jazz band, MONDO GROSSO came to be the main alias of composer, DJ, musician, producer, and former MONDO GROSSO leader and bassist Shinichi Osawa. The amount of releases under the MONDO GROSSO moniker is astounding, but he has solo projects and collaborations too that should be counted. As a composer and producer, Osawa has worked with Japanese artists such as Amuro Namie, UA, Monday Michiru, bird, Nobuchika Eri, BoA, and Crystal Kay. As a remixer he has remixed songs for both Japanese and international artists like Digitalism, Benny Benassi, Anna Tsuchiya, Clazziquai Project, and m-flo. The genres range from R&B, soul, and acid jazz, to pop, experimental, and electro house. My first introduction was with this track off BIG WORLD, so I’m gonna share it with you guys too.


We don’t talk about Sigh enough, which is shocking considering that they are the founders of Nordic-style Japanese black metal. Trying to sum up their sound is as taxing as trying to run through their history, because it spans as many genres as it does members. The founding members Mirai Kawashima and Satoshi Fujinami have been innovating with various genres and sonic combinations since their debut Scorn Defeat - what other band would stick a jazz solo in the middle of a black metal song? - but the place that they have reached is so singular that there’s often the joke that they shove everything and the kitchen sink into each track. And they do, but that’s part of the charm. Friends tell friends to listen to Imaginary Sonicscape at some point, so why not now?

Which artists did you enjoy?
  • Bo Ningen
  • Disclose
  • Sailing Before The Wind
  • Unlucky Morpheus
  • siraph
  • downy
  • Sigh

0 voters


Probably going to come back and vote for everyone once I listen to the bands I’m not familiar with.

EDIT: I ended up voting for everyone.


Voted fast for Bo ningen because they become slowly a new obsession of mine, will listen to the others later.

This less melodious but still mostly harmonious chaotic energy bundles of songs are something I need badly more of.

that lead singer in Sigh reminds me of Wendy O Williams. She was a badass punk chick who had a mohawk, electrical tape over her nipples and dated Lemmy from Motorhead. Totally Awesome <3 So yeah I’m defo going for sigh.

If you’re talking about the photo for Sigh, that’s actually their saxophonist and backup vocalist Dr. Mikannibal. She has a Ph.D in Physics and is all-around awesome.

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Ph D in Badassery :smiley:

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I voted for everyone except for Shishamo. I tried to get into them several times before and they just don’t sound that special to me in the great scheme of things

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Hard agree on Sigh and Disclose. I think Japanese punk and hardcore and black and thrash metal generally deserves more attention. There was a lot of fuzz around both scenes 10-15 years ago, but it’s like the interest of it kinda died all of a sudden.

Sigh had a very, very big name in the late 90’s and early 00’s, but they’ve kind of eliminated a huge part of their fanbase due to their absolute weirdness. A weirdness that makes them into one of the very best bands ever imo. But Scorn Defeat, Infidel Art, Hail Horror Hail and Imaginary Sonicscape are all regarded as black metal classics, and are still super popular.

As for Disclose, they too seemed to have a big name for a long period of time. They’re still popular enough, but should’ve reached a whole other hight than they did. Phenomenal band that possibly drowned a bit due to all the other Discharge clones, but none of the other could match Discharge in any way. Disclose did not only match Discharge, but outclassed them at times with their rawness and brutality.

I think the main reason behind why the buzz around these scenes has disappeared is because it was considered something new and exotic to begin with, and people seemed to go “wow, do Japan have insert genre that wasn’t super mainstream at the point? That’s awesome!”. It was just something new in the mid-to-late 00’s, but as soon as people got used to it the buzz just disappeared. And it’s a shame, because Japan have had and still has some incredible punk, black and thrash metal bands.


As SBTWs “spokesperson” here, i would like to mention something these guys are absolutely awesome with, which not all bands take care of, and that is Social Media
(Zeus made the cut on the musical part already)

Their Facebook is completely oriented towards foreign fans.
From memes to the band account trying to answer to each fan commenting.
(They answer on their YouTube account too)
From international shipping, to a collab for merch in the Philippines only to then uploading a whole 2 hour live to YouTube for free.

I have not often seen a band being so interactive with their fans and so open.

And props up to Bitoku because he is the one managing the accounts.