Over the past few years, it seems as though the Visual Kei scene has been heavily relying on the standard formula. You get into the style with costumes and makeup, you play some edgy music and copy whatever other big bands are doing. A lot of the music is average at best, and it all feels like you’ve heard it before.
This isn’t to say that all upcoming bands go through this formula, and those that break the mould seem to be the ones that bring in fresh takes in the otherwise stuck genre.
Shintenshi Kaibyakushudan ZIGZAG (in Japanese -真天地開闢集団-ジグザグ or simply ZigZag) is one of those bands. Starting in 2018, they infused traditional Japanese with their own style, not always taking themselves too seriously. With this, they created a discography with fun singles that make you smile, as well as some darker songs that really hit the spot.
One of their more recent releases, 忘却の彼方 or Boukyaku no Kanata, is one of the latter. At the first notes, you can already feel that it strays from conventional Visual Kei with more pop-rock influences to it. The strong vocals from Mikoto resonate through your speakers with a powerful sound behind it. It’s directly clear where he’s leading you with a feeling of longing and searching. It’s hard not to get captivated by his voice. The feeling only gets stronger with the changing instrumentals going from soft and lonesome, to a stronger desperate sound to support Mikoto’s powerful chorus even further.
The video furthers the message of being lonely and in search of company by placing the band in a huge deserted place, long removed from civilisation. It strengthens the lyrics where Mikoto screams “Can you hear me?” (Kikoemasuka?) While not a single soul is in sight.
Overall it’s a new fresh take that I believe will help the Visual Kei movement grow by showing the formula isn’t necessary. I’d definitely recommend giving these guys a try!