What is YOUR favorite era of visual kei? (PART DEUX!)

  • Pre-VK (1982~1987)
  • 1st wave (1988~1992)
  • 2nd wave (1993~1997)
  • 3rd wave (1998~2003)
  • 4th wave (2004~2008)
  • 5th wave (2009~2013)
  • 6th wave (2014~2019)
  • 7th wave (aka the current wave, 2020~Present)

0 voters

So this is a thread I put up way back on MH that ended up being surprisingly popular, and so I figured with a new crowd I’d ask again: out of the 7 waves of VK as well as the pre-visual era, what is YOUR favorite?? My personal favorite is the 3rd wave since that happens to be when a lot of my favorite visual kei came out, but this is all a matter of opinion. I believe the last time, the 4th wave was the most popular, but I don’t remember at all lol. In case you may not know, some notable examples of each era will be represented below.

Pre-VK (aka the 0th wave, 1983~1987)
BOOWY (1981~1988)

DEAD END (1984~1990, 2009~2015)

44MAGNUM (1977~1989, 2002~2003, 2007~Present)

BUCK-TICK (1984~Present)

X JAPAN (1982~1997, 2007~Present)

UCHOTEN (有頂天) (1982~1991, 2014~Present)

COLOR (1985~1997)

AUTO-MOD (1980~1985, 1994~Present)

1st wave (1988~1992)
LUNA SEA (1986~2000, 2009~Present)

Gilles de Rais (1989~1995)

ZI:KILL (1987~1994)

BY-SEXUAL (1987~1995, 2011~2016)


EX-ANS (1987~1991, 2015~2018)

BILLY & THE SLUTS (1989~1996, 2008~Present)

TOKYO YANKEES (1988~Present)

2nd wave (1993~1997)
Kuroyume (黒夢) (1991~1999, 2010~2016)

MALICE MIZER (1992~2001)

GLAY (1988~Present)

L’arc-en-Ciel (1991~Present)

La’cryma Christi (1992~2013)

SIAM SHADE (1993~2002, 2011~2016)

ROUAGE (1993~2001)

SHAZNA (1993~2000, 2006~2009, 2017~Present)

3rd wave (1998~2003)
LAREINE (1994~2006)

DIR EN GREY (1997~Present)

Janne Da Arc (1991~2007)

PIERROT (1994~2006)

Psycho le Cemu (1999~2006, 2015~Present)

MUCC (ムック) (1997~Present)

wyse (1999~2005, 2011~Present)

La’Mule (1996~2003, 2010~2012)

4th wave (2004~2008)
D’ESPAIRSRAY (1999~2011)

RENTRER EN SOI (2001~2008)

the GazettE (2002~Present)

Kra (2001~Present)

NIGHTMARE (ナイトメア) (2000~2016, 2019~Present)

AN CAFE (2003~2019)

Kagrra, (2000~2011)

Phantasmagoria (2004~2010)

5th wave (2009~2013)
NoGoD (2005~Present)

Versailles (2007~2012, 2015~2018)

DOG inThe PWO (2009~Present)

GOLDEN BOMBER (ゴールデンボンバー) (2004~Present)

9GOATS BLACK OUT (2007~2013)

Matenrou Opera (摩天楼オペラ) (2006~Present)

Megamasso (メガマソ) (2006~2017)

Royz (2009~Present)

6th wave (2014~2019)
DEZERT (2011~Present)

MEJIBRAY (2011~2017)

DIAURA (2010~Present)

DIMLIM (2017~2022)


DEVILOOF (2015~Present)

DADAROMA (2015~2020)

JILUKA (2013~Present)

7th wave (aka the current wave, 2020~Present)
DazzlingBAD (2020~Present)

Kebyo (仮病) (2016~Present)

Mikansei Alice (未完成アリス) (2017~Present)

gulu gulu (2019~Present)

ChainxmaiL (2019~Present)

Ashmaze. (2019~Present)

NETH PRIERE CAIN (2018~Present)

Hueye (2019~Present)


I like maybe 1% of the bands you listed lol also I tend to divide eras by decade or half decade even so I voted 2004-08.

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I would need a option to vote for several eras :laughing:


I hear ya, pretty difficult XD.

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Definitely 6th, no contest for me. Also love 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th, in my experience 0-2nd didn’t appeal much to me aside from Malice Mizer.

IVth one based on how much I loved living through it tbh; right now I largely listen to penicillin and luna sea, so…


I voted 2nd wave ('93-'97), but honestly “90s till first half of '00s” would be more accurate for me.


Can’t really decide between 6th or 7th wave, voted 7th to even out the score a bit.

1990-2007 or so is the best I can do. Also who scientifically divided up these eras? Can I see the peer-reviewed papers?

I feel like there are many bands that formed on the tail-end of the 4th wave and then rose to prominence during the 5th wave, so I just chose the latter. I also like the concentration of kira-kira bands during that span of years because I’m a synth-head.

I’m also a fan of 3rd wave soft-kei, but I have less favorites there than I do the 5th wave.

Kind of hard for me to choose since I’ve had favorite bands across several stages. It was Nightmare, The Gazette, and Kagerou when I started, but then we got several gems post 2014 like Mamireta, DAMY, and Gossip. Also Doku were 2019-2021, but it feels weird calling them modern since they didn’t really make it past the pandemic. I’m just going to choose the 6th wave, but the best was probably 2014-2020 for me.

While I listen to old school and new school bands, I can definitively say that my favourite waves are 2 and 3. The mid 90’s boom had so many up-and-coming record labels being formed and creating some banger bands, like Matina, Key Party, Sweet Heart, and Soleil. And in wave 3 you had UNDERCODE dominating. Too many good bands to list for those waves…

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Yeah man. For the old school heads, waves 2 and 3 are the Mecca.

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This is tough. The earliest and oldest bands I enjoy would be Shazna and Luna Sea. But I’m a huge fan of the Key Party, Matina, and Soleil labels and their associated bands too. For me, that era was peak vk. I also enjoy Lareine, Versailles, Kamijo and the whole princely power metal tanbi kei aesthetic and sound. I liked the “old but new” feel of Metis Gretel and Megaromania at the time.

I guess based on all of that, my favorite eras would be 2nd, 3rd, and a bit of 4th. To really narrow it down, I’d say mostly old school. 5th and 6th waves are mainly hit or miss in my experience, unless the band is specifically emulating an older era in the way that Ru:natic, early Grieva, Crucifixion, La’veil Mizeria, etc. did.

Pre-VK and 1st wave, with thrash and speed metal bands like X, Rosenfeld, Aion etc. Harkenkreuz and Thread Worm should count too, even though they came on later. But both music and image fits into that whole era.

Second is my favourite and where I find myself always unintentionally wandering to, first and third too. I’m almost totally ignorant on 2008-2018, only really kept up with a few projects, but I’m enjoying going back now.

Gotta be 3rd wave for me. It had early D’espairsRay, Rentrer en Soi, Mucc, Dir en Grey, and even some pre-PSC GazettE. Musically this is where VK peaked for me with releases like Zekuu, Sexual Beast, and Gauze-Vulgar.

I think there was a lot of mystery and intrigue too as VK was just beginning to get really popular overseas and information on bands and releases was relatively scarce.

And the tours seemed to have a lot of raw energy from bands being young and starting to build their fanbase. If there was one tour cycle I wish I could’ve attended, it’s the Macabre tours from Dir en grey.


Yeah man, I’m a huge enthusiast of the 3rd wave myself. Not only was it the peak of softkei, but it also was (in my opinion) largely representative of the best era of Diru. 2nd wave is a very close runner-up though.

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I’m a 3rd wave guy myself, but 2nd wave is a very, very close 2nd.

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