Kuroyume (translates to "Black Dream") is a Japanese heavy metal band formed in Nagoya in May 1991. The band is one of the most notable musical groups in the early Japanese metal scene, in particulat, they were highly influential to the underground J-metal movement and the Visual Kei
scene, being credited as an inspiration to the second wave of Visual Kei bands during the late 1990s/early 2000s and as one of the Trope Codifiers
for the genre, especially the subsets of Nagoya and Eroguro kei, of which they are cited as the Ur Example
for the two sub-movements.
Despite this cult success, the band went on hiatus in 1999, and ten years later, in 2009, the group officially disbanded. In 2010, the band reformed as a duo consisting of vocalist Kiyoharu and bassist Hitoki.
The band is notable for its distinctive sound, fusing early Alternative Rock
with elements derived from Doom Metal
, Hardcore Punk
, Goth Rock
and noise. One of the most distinct traits of their sound is their use of extended vocal and bass techniques, with vocalist Kiyoharu pioneering the use of varied vocal styles
, ranging from harsh growling to pseudo-operatic singing to banshee shrieks and feminine falsetto vocals, and bassist Hitoki becoming one of the musicians using the slapping/fingerstyle method of bass playing in Japanese metal.
- Kiyoharu - Vocals (1991-1999, 2009, 2010–present)
- Hitoki - Bass (1991-1999, 2009, 2010–present)
- Shin - Guitar (1991-1995)
- Eiki - Drums (1991-1992)
- Hiro - Drums (1992-1993)
- Ikiteita Chuzetsuji... (December 25, 1992)
- Nakigara o... (11/06/93)
- Mayoeru Yuritachi -Romance of Scarlet- (9/3/94)
- Cruel (31/8/94)
- Feminism (10/5/95)
- Fake Star - I'm Just a Japanese Fake Rocker (May 29, 1996)
- Drug Treatment (27 June 1997)
- Corkscrew (May 27, 1998)
- Headache and Dub Reel Inch (November 2, 2011)
Kuroyume provides examples of:
- Careful With That Axe: It was Kiyoharu who popularized this style of singing in Visual Kei, though it is arguable whether he developed it or copied it from Ume of Tokyo Yankees.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Averted with all the band's members, though Kiyoharu and Hitoki looked fairly waif-ish during the band's Visual Shock phase.
- Fountain of Expies: Vocalist Kiyoharu is pretty well-known for having been copied by many modern Visual artists, from TM Revolution to Ruki of The Gazette to Hyde of L'arc~en~Ciel, with the most well-known of these clones being Dir En Grey vocalist Kyo, who copied his "blonde-haired emo teen" image for much of his career as a Visual artist. note
- It is agreed upon by Visual fans the both Dir En Grey and The Gazette took influence from them (the former even has a vocalist who is considered a near-double to Kiyoharu) but mentioning these bands in any discussion about Kuroyume is one sure way to receive a lot of Internet Backdraft.
- Follow the Leader: The band formed in the wake of the Visual Shock era in the early 1990s, inspired by bands such as X and Luna Sea. Their music and image has also been copied by some modern J-metal bands.
- Hitoki's slap bass style was actually introduced to the scene by Taiji Sawada of X.
- Genre Roulette: They frequently cycle between various rock and metal subgenres as if they were clothes.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: What new-generation Visual Kei fans know about the band primarily stems from material circulated around the Internet, and it will most likely be the only way, as they have almost faded into obscurity until recently, when they reformed.
- Lead Bassist: Hitoki is a Type A and Type C; not only was he one of the band's founders and the one who stayed with the band the longest, but he was also one of the most proficient bassists of his time, though he has been primarily overshadowed by modern examples.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: The earliest example in Visual Kei, though it did take time for him to develop his vocal skill.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: On average, they range at around 6-7, with some of their softer material going down to 4 and harder songs going up to 8. At their time, though, they would have been a 9-10.
- Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Around 7-10, primarily due to taking Refuge in Audacity.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: They combined Gothic Metal, Punk Rock, noise, Funk Metal and Alternative Rock in ways previously unheard of.
- Nu Metal: One of the earliest examples in Visual Kei, and possibly in metal in general.
- Soprano and Gravel: Kiyoharu can do both by himself.
- Spiritual Successor: They're Visual Kei's answer to Korn.
- Visual Kei
- What Could Have Been: They were at the top of their game in 1999, and were making headlines in the Visual scene alongside another successful cult band, but due to bassist Hitoki's health problems, they suspended all activities in that year. Had that not happened, they would have gained far more recognition overseas as one of Japan's finest metal bands.
- The newly-reformed band has been trying to rebuild its fanbase as of The New Tens. Unfortunately, they have been largely overshadowed by their successors.