The first of these bands is Codomo Dragon, who you might know as That Other BP Band if you’re a fan of Royz and/or Kiryu. But they’re anything but “other.” They’re a fusion of punk, metal and pop with tons of style, great musicianship and unique presentation. Their single Hemlock was, IMHO, the best release of last year. And whenever they bring something out, it always seems fresh – even though they are putting out music at the usual faster-than-the-speed-of-light BP Records pace. (They almost didn’t get signed to BP, by the way. They had approached the label for assistance in making a PV, and BP, which intended to be a two-act company, was going to make the video and send them on their way. Fortunately, Takemasa of Kiryu went to bat for them, and the rest his history).
And I dare anyone to find a better opening riff than the one that kicks off Viper.
The second band is Gotcharocka. If you read my fanfics, you’ve seen they have just a slight presence in there as of late. Just slight. Because they are the quintessential complete VK package on every level – great songs, great musicianship, great personalities and image. The band is a supergroup made up of three VK veterans – Jui from Vidoll, Jun from Phantasmagoria and Toya from Charlotte – and they fit together as if they’ve been a band their entire lives. Their style is pop-metal with some influences from jazz and even, occasionally, show tunes – these guys know their stuff. Shortcake is a song and video that absolutely never fails to make me smile (they had a fourth member, bassist Shingo, at the time it was done). Kyousou Royale is just a theatrical song and video all the way around (and it’s my all-time favorite look for this band).
And the third band is, alas, one that I found only after they disbanded – Moran. I regret I wasn’t around for their heyday, because this is probably one of the most amazing VK groups I’ve come across. They had true musical sophistication. They were able to pull off everything from jazz-rock to electronica with equal grace and style (and always looked good doing it – vocalist Hitomi has unbelievable charisma even by VK standards). Their ballads were to-die-for gorgeous. They were a group that deserved to be around forever and play Budokan – but unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. At least their body of work is still hanging around for people to discover – and be amazed. (Just to be on the safe side, the second PV features snakes, in case that's a trigger for anyone.)