Existtrace – heavy metal Visual Kei
J-music: Existtrace is an all-girl Visual-Kei rock band from Tokyo. It’s not screamo, but think heavy metal, melodic death metal, and gothic metal…
Existtrace is an all-girl Visual-Kei rock band from Tokyo, Japan who started out in 2003. Their music is often described as heavy metal, melodic death metal, and gothic metal, as there is a lot of very heavy drumming and guitar distortion, and even a lot of screaming and growling (although it’s not so much that it can be categorized as “screamo”.) The members of existtrace are as follows: Lead Vocals: Jou; Guitars: Miko, Omi; Bass: Naoto; and on Drums: Mally.
A lot of what goes into Visual-Kei is crossdressing, meaning that males tend to dress like females, and on the other end, females as males. Miko says of the band’s F2M fashion:
“The fashion we choose to wear is Gothic fashion, and within that we just wear what we like. We don’t really think about whether it’s for men or women, we just wear what we want because that’s what Gothic fashion is.”
Being one of the few female Visual-Kei bands out there (bigger male visual-kei bands being some like LM.C, 12012, Vistlip, etc), you can imagine the difficulty in gaining popularity in a predominantly male music genre.
“Of course there are difficult times,” says Jou stated in an interview with 69 magazine. “But we’re making music and for that, whether we are male or female doesn’t matter.”
Their current album Ambivalent Symphony was released back in October of 2009.
In the same interview, when asked about the album, “How would you describe this work to overseas fans?” the band answered, “The theme of the album is “freedom” and “restriction”, that was the concept. This album has some songs that are quite violent and harsh, and then also some that are straight and softer, and with this album we want to be able to show people different facets of Exist Trace’s music. We hope that through this album, more people will come to get to know us and like us.”