Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Malice Mizer

Biography :

Malice Mizer is a visual kei rock band from Japan. They were active from January 1992 to December 2001. Formed by Mana and Közi, the band's name stands for "malice and misery", extracted from "nothing but a being of malice and misery" — their reply to the question "what is human?". Their earlier music and themes were characterized by their strong French and classical influences, later moving away from deliberate French romanticism and incorporating Gothic-Victorian aspects after several tragedies befell the band. Despite the stated archetypes, Malice Mizer is best recognized as a thoroughly original entity.

Malice Mizer is as famous for their music as for their live shows, featuring lavish historical costumes and stage sets, short silent theatre pieces preluding various songs, whimsical dance routines, and even a particularly notable instance of the vocalist descending to Earth (the stage) as a fallen angel, only to ascend again at the end of the concert. Throughout their history, the band has gone through several different lineups and three drastic image changes.

On December 11, 2001, it was announced that Malice Mizer would go on an indefinite hiatus.

However, as Mana recently wrote on his homepage, three of the four members (Mana, Közi and Yu~ki) have regained frequent contact with each other from the middle of 2008, and on December 27, seven years after the hiatus started, Mana and Közi finally met again on stage along with members from Moi dix Mois to perform in front of the fans with a session concert. They were overwhelmly greeted in joy by the fans.

History :

Tetsu era; The Indie era of Malice Mizer (1992–1994)

Mana and Közi formed Malice Mizer in 1992 with Tetsu on vocals, both Mana and Közi on guitars/synthesizers, Yu~ki on bass and Gaz on drums. From the outset, the band established their trademark "twin guitar"' sound, whereby two guitars play different melodies creating polyphony. Malice Mizer's sound during the Tetsu era was a mixture of rock, early 1980s goth, and strong classical influences. Their first official release was the song "Speed of Desperate" on the 1993 compilation Brain Trash. Before this, they had released a demo tape called Sans Logique which contained no vocals. Shortly after the release of Brain Trash, Gaz left the band to join Kneuklid Romance, while Kneuklid Romance's drummer Kami in turn joined Malice Mizer. In 1994, the band released their first album, Memoire, on Mana's newly founded independent record label Midi:Nette, and shortly after re-released it with an additional bonus track, "Baroque" under the title Memoire DX. Only days later, singer Tetsu left the band. While the exact reasons are unknown, Tetsu went on to take a different direction in his work and some say it was because he disliked the flamboyant image of the band. The band's continued use of his lyrics in songs they continued to perform with later vocalists suggest an amicable split.

Gackt era; Voyage and Merveilles (1995–1999)

Malice Mizer during the Gackt era (Mana, Gackt, Kami, Közi and Yu~ki).

In 1995, after a year of inactivity, Malice Mizer recruited Gackt as their new vocalist. With a new concept created by Mana, the band's music became more Progressive rock, incorporating even stronger classical and electronic elements. Visually, the band abandoned their 1980s goth look for colourful historical costumes always with a gothic feel. In 1996, Malice Mizer released their second album, Voyage ~Sans Retour~. The band became increasingly popular and in 1997 signed with Columbia Records, where they released a number of successful singles, a short film (Bel Air ~Kuuhaku no Shunkan no Naka De~ de L'image), and, in 1998, their third album, Merveilles. The band even had their own radio show around this time and played a two day live at the Nippon Budokan which involved a large building as a stage prop and amazing theatrics; each member performing a skit with another member on their own. It was a massive success and was released on Video as Merveilles l'espace. In January 1999, at the height of Malice Mizer's success, Gackt suddenly left the band, and after just four months he released his first solo album. There are many rumors circulating as to why he left, but none of them have yet been confirmed. The most likely of these rumors however, is that Gackt had wanted to write the music for the band along with the lyrics, and Mana asked him to leave the group. Malice Mizer left Columbia shortly after and returned to Midi:Nette.

A few months after Gackt's departure, drummer Kami died of a subarachnoid hemorrhage on June 21, 1999, leaving behind a handful of songs, which the band eventually released as part of the EP/video boxset Shinwa, which consisted of 2 songs composed by Kami and short track 'Saikai' which was written by the band. Kami was never replaced; from that point on, Malice Mizer would only use support drummers (namely Shue, who is not shown in the band's later and final music videos, nor credited) and Kami would be credited as "eternal blood relative" on all their future releases. [2] Because of Kami's untimely death and other factors, the Band decided to shift their image and music.

Klaha era; Bara no Seidō (2000–2001)

In the second half of 1999 and the beginning of 2000, Malice Mizer — still without an official vocalist — released a number of singles and began to work on a new album. Eventually, they recruited Klaha (real name Masaki Haruna), vocalist of darkwave band Pride of Mind. By then the band had abandoned the lighter pop music sound of the Gackt era for a dramatic mixture of classical music, gothic/goth and heavy metal music, and adopted an elaborate funeral Goth look. In the summer of 2000, they released what would be their last album, Bara no Seidou, followed by a very spectacular and theatrical live show, featuring pyrotechnics, a choir of veiled nuns and a scaled-down cathedral as stage prop. In 2001, Malice Mizer starred in a feature length vampire movie (Bara no Konrei ~Mayonaka ni Kawashita Yakusoku~), and released three more singles: "Gardenia", "Beast of Blood", and "Garnet ~Kindan no Sono E~"- "Gardenia" and "Garnet" being of a considerably lighter tone than their previous album, signifying the start of a new era for the band. Unfortunately, those few singles were all the world would see of the yet again reborn Malice Mizer, as the band members decided to go their own separate ways in 2001, leaving disband messages on their official website, Miroir, which can still be viewed today. The split was spoken of as a "hiatus", however, so as not to exclude the possibility of a future reformation.

Post projects

After his departure in 1994, Tetsu has subsequently taken part in a series of bands such as Zigzo and Mega 8 Ball and has released one solo album; his most recent being the independently released band Nil.

After his departure in the beginning of 1999, Gackt started a solo career almost after a year which has been enormously successful; he is now one of Japan's top entertainers and TV personalities.

Klaha started a solo career as well in December 2002, but in the middle of 2004 it was announced that his fanclub would be closing down, and after that there have been long periods with silence, only broken by rare updates on his site. Due to health problems he has been taking a break from creating music, but last year he stated on his site that he would resume musical activity in 2007. Further details haven't been announced.

Mana has formed his own solo project, Moi dix Mois, performing live concerts across Europe. In addition to the successful solo project, Mana simultaneously pursues a career as fashion designer for his fashion label, Moi-même-Moitié, which focuses on the styles Elegant Gothic Aristocrat (EGA) and Elegant Gothic Lolita (EGL). He continues to also run his Indie record label, Midi:Nette, and is looking for bands to sign and produce.

Közi has joined Haruhiko Ash's Industrial band Eve of Destiny and also has a solo project. Eve of Destiny has been inactive since 2006. As of Halloween 2008 he is part of the band DALLE.

Yu~Ki has not been active on the music scene since 2004 when he wrote a song Memento, about Kami, for Közi's solo project. In an informal conversation with Klaha, he said he would like to return to the music scene.

Discography :

In several cases, the Japanese titles are given first, followed by the romaji titles in square brackets.

Demo Tapes

* Sans Logique (10/31)
* Speed of Desperate (???)
* SADNESS (4/05)
* The 1th Anniversary (10/12)


* [Uruwashiki Kamen no Shoutaijou] (12/10)

* ma chérie [ma chérie ~Itoshii Kimi e~] (10/10)

* [Bel Air ~Kuuhaku no Toki no Naka de~] (7/19)
* au revoir (12/3)

* [Gekka no Yasoukyoku] (2/21)
* [Le ciel ~Kuuhaku no Kanata e~] (9/30)

* [Saikai no Chi to Bara] (11/3)


* [Shinwa] (2/1) - KAMI’S MEMORIAL BOX
* [Kyomu no Naka de no Yuugi] (5/31)
* [Shiroi Hada ni Kuruu Ai to Kanashimi no Rondo] (7/26)

* Gardenia (5/30)
* Beast of Blood (6/21)
* [Mayonaka ni Kawashita Yakusoku ~Bara no Konrei~] (10/30)
* Garnet [Garnet ~kindan no sono e~] (11/30)


* memoire (24 July 1994)
* memoire DX (24 December 1994) - reissue with bonus track
* Voyage ~sans retour~ (7 June 1996)
* merveilles (18 March 1998)
* 薔薇の聖堂 [Bara no Seidou] (23 August 2000)

Band Members :

Last line-up :

* Klaha - Vocals (2000–2001)
* Mana - Guitar, synth guitar, keyboard, percussion (1992–2001)
* Közi - Guitar, synth guitar, keyboard, percussion (1992–2001)
* Yuki - Bass, contrabass, percussion (1992–2001)

Former members :

* GAZ - Drums (1992–1993)
* Tetsu - Vocals (1992–1994)
* Kami - Drums, percussion (1993–1999) (deceased)
* Gackt - Vocals, Piano (1995–1999)

Supporting members :

* Shue - Drums (2000–2001)
* Kazune - Live Keyboard (2000–2001)

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