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How I Stumbled Into Kawaii Metal

A while back Esther wrote about her love of Asian television. I’ve not watched a single K- or J-drama to save my life but I enjoyed her article quite a bit. My impression of Asian media was mostly informed by weird Japanese game shows and this (admittedly pretty awesome) League of Legends music video. That’s about it.

(Not to lump all Asian film, music, and gaming together. But, much like America and England have somewhat similar media output—enough so that we Americans keep remaking their shows—at least to this outsider it looks like the various Asian markets share some similarities. I’m open to correction.)

If you’ll recall, I love metal. I love weird metal that’s out of the norm (in America at least). I love when bands surprise me. I love experimentation. I love unabashed musicianship.

Now I need to admit something.

I’m aware of a handful of all-girl metal bands from America, the UK, or Europe. Try as I might I’ve never been able to get into them. Don’t misunderstand me. They’re not bad. Some are even pretty decent. There’s some fantastic talent there. But—I hesitate to admit this—I’ve never found a Western all-female rock or metal outfit to have terribly impressive musicianship. (Again, I’m very open to correction. If you’ve got some band suggestions, leave them in the comments.) The solos don’t wow me. The drums lack aggression. Nothing blows my head off.

I don’t like categorizing bands by the gender of their members. If your music is awesome, I don’t care at all what your musicians look like. Still, love me or hate me, as much as I don’t want this to be the case, as much as I want to like the bands, I’ve never had the headbanging, fist-pumping, adrenaline-gushing experience with them that I crave in metal.

(Unless your name is Sarah Longfield. If that is your name, first of all, I’m stoked you’re reading this. Second of all, keep doing what you do. It’s awesome.)

That’s why, with Esther’s article fresh on my mind, it was such a pleasant surprise when a couple weeks ago YouTube recommended this band called Lovebites to me. The thumbnail looked like exactly my kind of metal: cheesy fantasy art, magic, the whole deal. I clicked to watch the music video. It was an all-girl Japanese power metal band and their musicianship was insane. Instantly hooked. Then I found Mary’s Blood, Band-Maid (more 2006 rock than anything else, but still catchy as all hell), Doll$Boxx, Aldious… The list goes on. Apparently Japanese ladies have a thing for metal. Which is pretty damn awesome.

There you go. There’s your new rock and metal bands to check out. They’re even making me want to go back and check out the Western bands I’d previously rejected. (Looking at you, Burning Witches.) 

Hopefully these bands will keep breaking into the American market. Some have even toured here already. If you like that mixture of aggression of ethereal beauty you often get with female-fronted metal bands, you’ll love these groups. Check them out.

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