There’s no doubt that metal is one of the most popular genres of music in the world. Every country seems to have their own take on the style, and Japan is no exception. With the recent success of Babymetal, we’ve decided to look at the land of the rising sun and remember some of the most influential acts to come from there. Here’s our list of the top 10 Japanese metal bands.
Anthem is a Japanese power metal band formed in the early 80’s. The band currently consists of four members. Anthem has released close to 20 studio albums, seven live albums, and thirteen singles. The band’s debut album, Anthem, was released in 1985 and their most recent album, Explosive!!: Studio Jam, was released in 2020 and featured Graham Bonnet alongside Yukio Morikawa on vocals. Anthem is known for their powerful and melodic metal music, and are considered one of the most influential acts to come from Japan.
ROTTENGRAFFTY is a Japanese rap rock band formed in 1999. The band has released six studio albums, and several EPs and live albums The band’s debut album, CL∀SSICK, was released in 2004 and their most recent album, PLAY, was released in 2018. ROTTENGRAFFTY is known for their unique blend of rap, rock, and reggae music.
LOVEBITES is a Japanese all-female heavy metal band that formed in 2016. The band has released trhee studio album, trhee EP, and several live albums. The band is currently on a temporary hiatus, following their bassist Miho’s exit from the band in 2021.
7. Maximum the Hormone
Maximum the Hormone is a Japanese nu metal band from Hachioji, Tokyo that formed in 1999. The band has released eight studio albums, three live albums, and numerous singles and EPs. They are known for their chaotic and energetic live shows, as well as their humorous lyrics.
6. Dir En Grey
Dir en grey is a Japanese visual kei band that formed in 1997. The band has released eleven studio albums, with their most recent “Phalaris” being released in 2022. They are one of the most successful visual kei bands in terms of both popularity and critical acclaim.
Crossfaith is a Japanese metalcore band from Osaka that formed in 2006. The band has released four studio albums and numerous singles and EPs. They have also performed at various international music festivals, including Slam Dunk festival, Download Festival and Warped Tour.
Sigh is a Japanese avant-garde metal band that formed in Tokyo in 1989. The band has released twelve studio albums and four EPs. They are known for their experimental and eclectic style, which incorporates elements of black metal, world music, classical music, jazz, and more.
Babymetal is a Japanese kawaii metal band that formed in 2010. The band has released three studio albums, with their upcoming comeback album “The Other One” announced for 2023. They are known for their unique style which combines heavy metal with J-pop idol music. The band rose to commercial acclaim worldwide, and performed with artists such as Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and others.
Loudness is a Japanese heavy metal band that formed in 1981. The band has released twenty-eight studio albums, with their latest “Sunburst” released in 2022. They are the first Asian band to have a record charting on the Billboard 100, with their 1986 album Thunder in the East peaking at no. 74. The band’s most acclaimed hit “Crazy Nights” was covered by renowned metal acts such as Therion, HammerFall and Children of Bodom.
1. X Japan
X Japan is a Japanese heavy metal band that formed in 1982. The band has released five studio albums, with an upcoming sixth announced marking their first release since 1996. They are one of the most successful bands in Japan, selling over 30 million records. They are also credited with popularizing the visual kei movement.