Surprisingly melodic visual-kei band inspired by romanticized France04 April, 2012 by Chad
While the 90s brought us some of the most talented artists to have tread this earth, over the past decade, the Visual Kei scene had not recovered from the eventual hiatus of the many great bands.
Newer Visual Kei artists tend to sacrifice the talent of groups like Malice Mizer, Luna Sea and of course, the legendary X Japan for sheer showmanship. But one new group to have transcended this barrier is the band known as Versailles Philharmonic Quintet.
The magic of Versailles come from how they shun punk or glam rock themes for a more romantic style sometimes akin to symphonic metal. Versailles refers to its style as a concept of “absolute beauty and extreme aestheticism”. Dueling guitars are a significant trademark of their music which in their words “sound like rose vines grown riot over an agitated rhythm”.
Versailles’s symphonic style is only accentuated by the aesthetic outfits the band dons. The rococo inspired costumes have already seen a collaboration with Baby, The Stars Shine Bright sub-label Alice and the Pirates. The costumes lend themselves nicely to the iconism of the group too, with members generally wearing color coded outfits suggesting their “identity” in Versailles.
The members carry this Castlevania-like theme and personas into all of their productions, including an amusing mini-comedy/drama that they starred in last year called Onegai Kanaete Versailles. The theme song for the drama Philia, is an nice example of Versailles signature style.
Versailles was the creation of Kamijo and Hizaki, veterans from the visual kei scene. After half a year of gathering talents, the group was formally announced on 29th March 2007 and included a total of 5 members, Kamijo (vocals), Hizaki (guitar), Jasmine You (bassist), Teru (guitar) and Yuki (drums).
Straight from their first release “The Revenant Choir”, Versailles enjoyed excellent reviews and publicity from the media. Interestingly, the group turned down all local indie companies to sign up with CLJ Records, the German label that also houses acts like alice nine and the GazettE. A smart move considering the popularity of visual kei in Europe. As a result, Versailles indie releases saw strong launches in both Japan and Europe, where it has unsurprisingly garnered a strong following.
Since 2009 though, Versailles has had major releases through Warner Music Japan. Overall, the band releases few singles, instead focusing on completed albums and tours worldwide.
In late 2009, just months after they managed to sign to the major record label and while in the midst of recording their new album, Versailles announced that bassist Jasmine You would be suspending all activities due to poor health. This was followed a few days later by a sudden announcement on their official website that he passed away that morning.
The reason for his passing was not revealed. Aide from Kamijo and Hizaki, You had played the most integral role in the group’s formation and fans were shocked and grieved by the news.
The following year, after serving as a replacement on their world tour, Masashi was officially adopted as the group’s new bassist. The deceased You would be considered by the group as an “eternal member”.
This year, as part of the 5th year anniversary of their first live, Versailles will be performing at the Ebisu Liquid Room on the 23rd and 24th of June together with a number of invited guests. Moi dix Mois will be making an appearance even.
Versailles will also be delivering their latest single Rhapsody of the Darkness, the first in more than a year, as a digital release later this month on the 25th of April.
More information about the group at the official web site of Versailles.Click here to search CDJapan for Versailles and other related items.