Visual Kei is not a genre, but a musical movement quite few of us over here in the western world knows about, but most of us have seen through such media as Asian films or series. The style is inspired by a blend of Japanese theatre and classic culture blended with modern, more western culture to bring together Japanese traditions with their own brand of modern musical genres.
Visual Kei itself holds no genre, it is more the appearance that becomes the style, but it is heavily associated with rock and metal today.
Things that stands out in Visual Kei is the traditional clothes, heavy make-up and androgyny, something Kiryu has mastered. Kiryu is a Metal Visual Kei band that stands out in the crowd with their even more traditional visual style and even heavier musical style than most Visual Kei bands have.
Formed in 2007 and signed to B.P Records, Kiryu have taken the whole world with storm. Unlike their style-bound siblings, Kiryu has heavier influences in traditional Japanese culture and most of their videos are recorded around temples, ancient ruins and traditional theatre sets while their music is pushing the limits of modern metal. The band members have made an art form out of androgyny and if you didn’t know before what gender the members have, it will be hard to figure out just by looking at them.
The members of the band also has a parody band called My Dragon (which is the English translation of Kiryu). My Dragon has focused more on parodical pop and each member goes under a different name, this time they play a character. The lead vocalist, Kurosaki Mahiro, is known as the bee named Dandy Maro, while lead guitarist Sakai Miitsuki goes by the witch named Charity Miki. Back guitar Kujo Takemasa is known as a mermaid named Beauty Tama, bassist Isshiki Hiyori is a Snow White-inspired girl by the name of Panty Hiwai and drummer Tokai Junji took on the Red Riding Hood persona of Pretty JuJu.
When playing as Kiryu, the band members each have a colour associated to them. The colours are seen in many modern TV shows in Japan and identifies the personalities and roles of each member. Kurosaki Mahiro is purple, Sakai Mitsuki is red, Kujo Takemasa is green, Isshiki Hiyori is pink and Tokai Junju is blue. You might recognize these colours from such shows as Power Rangers or VR Troopers.
If you want the full experience of Visual Kei, words aren’t enough. You need to see it and hear it to fully understand and no band is a better introduction of these polar opposites mixed seamlessly than Kiryu.