For the inaguaral post to the new DRESS CODE blog, I would like to profile one of my personal favorite Visual Kei bands from Japan, THE RHEDORIC. Fans from the LA area might recall that they performed at the LA VK Fest that was held the same weekend as Anime Expo '14. I'll be the first to admit that I was not too familiar with them before this event. I had heard bits of their music from the videos shared prior from the event's page, but as far as the VK Fest was concerned, I came mainly to see ANTI FEMINISM and Carat. That's where things get interesting as I was not aware at the time that Carat vocalist, Yuuji was also the vocalist for THE RHEDORIC. Before my brief recap of this event I should point out that neither Carat nor THE RHEDORIC came out in full force. Carat was represented by Yuuji (vocals) and Nozomi (guitar) while THE RHEDORIC was represented by Yuuji (vocals) and TOMO (Guitar).
Onto the event itself. The LA VK Fest took place at Bar Nirvana in Little Tokyo on Sunday, July 6th and ran well into the early morning of the following day. Lolita Dark, ANTI FEMINISM, Carat, and Kon (Vocalist from CELL) all took the stage prior to THE RHEDORIC's set and the place was packed. I was tempted to leave early as the show was already going well into the following morning and the entire weekend had been a tiring one, but I ended up staying. That may have been one of the best decisions I've ever made. THE RHEDORIC might not have performed as a full band, but their songs were amazing and it was clear that they had amazing stage presence and energy. Also, they performed with Nozomi from Carat. In essence this was a Carat x THE RHEDORIC collaboration show, something that you won't even see in Japan! They performed four songs and basically stole the show. The night ended the night with more energy than I would have thought possible for show at 1 AM on Sunday night. Even though I fell in love with their sound instantly, I foolishly forgot to purchase any of their merchandise at the show (I am actually not sure if there was any, but I'm going to assume there was.) and I spent the next few months waiting to get my hands on both their EP and eventually, their first album.
After months of haunting XENON in Little Tokyo (An amazing store that I will profile later that was also the sponsor for the LA VK Fest.) I resigned myself to the fact that I would either have to wait for the merchandise to come by way of TOMO himself (Who I knew to be visiting the US later in the year) or I'd have to use an import site. After months of waiting, and purchasing all of Carat's CDs in the meantime (A band which TOMO produces by the way and a band I plan to profile later.), my patience paid off. Just this past week TOMO himself appeared at a XENON in-store event that was paired with a livestream by visual kei band, ROYZ. I was lucky to not only meet TOMO again, but also get both of THE RHEDORIC's CDs (Their first EP and their first album, "Jiggy") along with a Delfina Ma'riage CD. Delfina Ma'riage being one of the bands which TOMO participated in previously in his career. I must admit that I was not aware of this latter fact either even though I was a huge fan of Delfina Ma'riage at one point in time. Either way, I got that CD autographed as well as other merchandise and went home to finally properly listen to THE RHEDORIC for the first time.
I plan to post a full review in the future, but I will share some of my impressions upon hearing the album for the first time. From the opening track, "Guilty", I remembered why I fell in love with this band in the first place. Now, I had heard the song before via the PV preview on their Youtube Channel, but hearing the full version was something else entirely. The song is catchy, rocking and Yuuji's voice is something one can be hard pressed to find fault with. I listened to the complete album non-stop for three rotations and I found something new in each successive playthrough. Songs like "possibility", which features something that I have a weakness for: a bass solo, and "Meloncholic", which shows off Yuuji's amazing vocal talent. Both of these songs are featured in the video I am sharing on the bottom of this post. Both of these songs stood out immediately as my favorites and both feature a sound and energy that one doesn't always find in Visual Kei bands. Other songs like "Monster", "Truth" and "Critical" stand out too, but it is really hard to pick out favorite songs from such a strong album. The album also closes with a somewhat haunting, acoustic rendition of "possibility" that I might actually prefer to the original. If I had to pick an album-of-the-year type award, it would definitely go towards "Jiggy", it is simply that good. All the songs have that perfect blend of hard rock that is both strong and powerful while still being catchy and accessible. I hope that everyone who can, goes out and buys the album. If not, then just scroll to the bottom and watch the video at the very least. THE RHEDORIC have become my current favorite band and I'm sure if you give them a chance, they might become yours too!
The album "Jiggy" is available at XENON in Little Tokyo and I encourage everyone to pick up a copy! With all this said, I hope to one day see THE RHEDORIC live in full force, or even in a fashion similar to what was seen back in July. Either way, I can't wait to hear more from them! Be sure to watch the video below too, you won't regret it!
THE RHEDORIC Are:
●Vocal: 雄志 / Yuuji (Carat)
●Guitar: TOMO (ex-Deflina Ma'riage)
●Guitar: 須賀勇介 / Suga Yuusuke
●Bass: 時雨 / Shigure
Links to their SNS sites can be found below.
◆ Tom Kiryu