“Really? Another heavy J-rock band? C’mon, John, mix it up a bit here!” Yes, I know I just wrote a post about Fear, And Loathing in Las Vegas last weekend, but writing that post made me remember the band -OZ- another one of my favorite (but also lesser known? I think?) J-rock bands. And after this post I’ll take a break from this genre for a while. Promise.
“Oldies” but Goodies
Most of the bands I choose for these musical Saturday timewasters are relatively new bands and the tracks I post from them are within the last year or so. This is not the case with -OZ-. Surprised? So am I. The songs included here range from 2007-2011. The band itself formed way back in the year 2004. That’s like, ancient.
Through my YouTube adventures over the years, I’ve learned that a lot of visual kei music (rock music together with the visual style you see here) sounds about the same, right down to the vocalist. Sometimes it can be very hard for me to differentiate between bands in the genre. What really sets -OZ- apart in my opinion is how the vocalist sounds when he screams. It sounds good. And their music has an overall heavier feel as well, I think.
And this brings me to my love/just-like-okay relationship with -OZ-. When it’s just the music and the vocalist singing clean vocals, they sound like a solid visual kei band. Nothing special, but definitely listenable. Only when the vocalist Natsuki starts growling into the mic does it become really awesome. I kind of wish he would just do it all the time.
So far they’ve released two studio albums (VERSUS and ROUGE) along with a slew of singles and a handful of music DVDs. Do I own any of them? No. I just listen to their stuff on YouTube when I remember that they’re a band and I’m in the mood for some heavier Japanese tunes. The video above is from 2007 and it’s definitely one of their darker tracks in my opinion. Crazy kids and their outfits.
This right here is why I think they’re just okay about half the time. Natsuki doesn’t growl at all in this song. Honestly, it’s a little boring and pretty average. I realize that it’s a slower song and that guttural vocals might seem a bit out of place here, but it really lets you notice how his clean vocals are nearly interchangeable with a lot of other visual kei bands. At least I think so, anyway. I mean, it’s not bad, just nothing special.
And Now For Something Completely Different
As I mentioned above, sorry for all the heavy rock, so here’s something else I found recently. I’m still not really sure if I like them, or kind of hate them. They all look like host-club dudes (or Final Fantasy characters) and I can’t tell if I like the unique sound of the vocalist or if I want to punch him straight in the vocal cords. You tell me.
So tell me, which band did you like better? -OZ- or D=OUT? Do you think -OZ-’s guttural vocals set them apart from the usual visual kei crowd or do they fail to escape mediocrity? Also have you heard of -OZ- before? I was under the impression that they weren’t all that popular. Let me know in the comments!