Metal Square vol. 4 Selection by Cazqui at Shibuya Stream Hall

live report - 02.24.2019 19:01

On December 16th, Shibuya Stream Hall hosted the metalcore event attended by various bands which became a farewell gig for guitarists of Nocturnal Bloodlust.

On the 16th of December, Shibuya Stream Hall – a relatively new live space near one of the central stations in Tokyo – hosted a huge seven hour event, Metal Square vol. 4. Selection by Cazqui presented by L&P Attractive. As the title suggests, the line-up for the event was decided by Nocturnal Bloodlust’s guitarist Cazqui, and yes, it was supposed to be very ‘metal’. The tickets sold out instantly. This success had two reasons: the strong and diverse line-up, and the fact that this was the last opportunity to see Nocturnal Bloodlust's current members, since Cazqui and Daichi are set to leave the band.

Victim of Deception

The event started with a set by Victim of Deception. Despite the fact that this deathcore band has been active for four years, it’s not well-known outside of Japan. That’s a shame. Try it. The band started straight away, and the audience was buried under the massive sound. Powerful drumming by kumao, dynamic guitar riffs from Junpey and morby, a bass solo by Chappy and the growling and screaming of vocalist Makito created aggressive waves of heavy sound. The band was acting on stage as a single organism. It took a while for the audience to recover, and soon the hands rose, the first rows started head-banging while the most audacious ones from the back rows arranged a circle-pit. The band rocked the hall, the bass sound vibrated throughout the bodies, and lights flashing to the beat of the drums intensified the effect. The pauses were filled with psychedelic sounds of thunder and rain. Having finished their 30 minute set and given the evening a cool kick-off, Victim of Deception left the stage to loud applause.

Set list

01. Mortal Prediction
02. Anneliese
03. The Purge
04. Black Colors
05. 1874
06. Anti Creed
07. Godless

DIMLIM

It was DIMLIM who performed next and made a dramatic contrast with the previous non-visual kei band. Well, it was in line with the promised diversity of the line-up. Although the band chose ones of its most heavy songs, they were less aggressive than the previous act and let the audience enjoy the melodic verses before dipping everyone into the vigorous sound of choruses. The very first, vanitas, combined high-pitch vocals and rage that led to head-banging. Nevertheless, the mood on the whole was rather lively. The most striking effect was created by the soothing parts of The Silent Song, when a single ray of light focused on the lonesome figure of vocalist Sho dressed in a black suit and white shirt.

The show picked up, the songs were played one by one, the crowd cheered when suddenly something went wrong with the drum kit. The lights turned down and staff came on the stage. Retsu, Ryuya and Taishi, all dressed in black, turned their backs to the hall and stood motionless like speechless statues. Only the vocalist kept entertaining the audience. While speaking to the fans, Sho acted like a broken doll and played theatrically every second of this unplanned MC. Unfortunately, the band ran out of time, and the problem wasn’t solved, so the vocalist let out an ear-piercing “Gomen nasai”, which echoed in the hall like a mantra.

Set list

01. vanitas
02. kyomou no uta
03. The Silent Song
04. shigarami

DARRELL

The blast of energy from GARBAGE FREAK started DARRELL’s set. Makoto, JOKER and Jun appeared on stage in a casual manner, and in line with the previous acts, started their set furiously with AI’s very first guitar riff in QUINN, the title song of the band’s second single which was also included in the new album DARXNESS. The earth-shaking verses accompanied by the head-banging whirl of Jun’s hair were followed by moving choruses that showed off the deep and unique voice of the vocalist. The mix of growling, fury, rich beautiful vocals and melody generated a distinct atmosphere that only this band could create. At the same time, AI’s relaxed cat-like manners contrasted against the vigorous rhythm so much that this effect was only deepened. At the end of the set the vocalist surprised everyone by giving his guitar to the audience during the NEW CULT, while paying all his attention to the microphone stand. Yes, he simply handed his guitar to the fans in the first rows! But don’t worry, JOKER took it back later.

Set list

01. QUINN
02. DARKNESS
03. HAZEN BLOOD
04. KILL ME, MARRY ME
05. DESPAIR
06. NEW CULT

DEXCORE

After DARREL came another ex-member of DEATHGAZE, Naoki with his band DEXCORE.

Even the rehearsal (i.e. the sound-check) behind the scenes caused excitement that promised a hot welcome from the crowd. Soon the sounds faded, the lights went down, and an angelic choir started singing. It was replaced by the rhythm and the flashlights, accompanied by the screams and applause from the fans. Naoki, haku and to-ru – all dressed in white – appeared onstage. Everything went still again. Suddenly the wave of sharp sound hit the audience! A pause. A beam of white light picked out the figure of the vocalist. The stormy sound again! That’s how DEXCORE started their set with Imitation.

Fresh, reckless energy was boiling in the hall, fired up by violent drumming (it can’t be any other way if the drummer is Naoki), furious guitar and bass lines, and stunning solos! It’s worth mentioning the vocalist Kagami: he was brilliant with all kinds of extreme vocals and had the nerve to look at the audience in an imperious manner, at the same time charming everyone. The audience were eager to be captivated and gave it their all. The band finished their set with the new single Brain Washing which rocked everyone, and they left the stage with a loud scream “We are DEXCORE!”

Set list

01. Imitation
02. BLACK PIG
03. NEW ERA
04. Naked
05. Brain Washing

DEVILOOF

DEVILOOF’s set finally caused one of the most exciting things that ever happen at a metalcore gig – the ‘Wall of Death’. Despite the crowd head-banging, moshing and running in circle pits all night long, only DEVILOOF managed to inspire the ‘Wall of Death’. On the vocalist’s command, the fans split in two then ran towards each other, slamming together with a burst of adrenaline. Keisuke was clearly delighted, watching the hall with a joyful smile.

Well, this moment was preceded by a number of vibrant songs full of growling and screaming along with high-pitched vocals. It was true visual kei at its best: freakish hairstyles, make-up and skirts.

When Ray, who was the last to leave the stage, threw a bottle of water to the overheated crowd, the shout of “Thank you!” was so sincere that one could only sympathize the fans. By the way, next year DEVILOOF are going to visit Europe, so don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy their aggressive energy!

Set list

01. Devil’s Proof
02. LOVER
03. ESCAPE
04. ISHTAR
05. HERO=MURDER
06. RUIN

JILUKA

JILUKA were the culmination of visual kei part of the gig. The band appeared in magnificent and well-designed outfits: cold and masculine Boogie, feminine Sena resembling a porcelain doll, blonde prince Zyean, and charming in some boyish way, frontman Ricko.

This set was solemn and elegant, combined with a storm of passion surprisingly well. The audience was fuelled by skilled guitar and bass parts, spectacular solos and drum beats covered by clean and energetic vocals which easily shifted to growling and screaming. Upbeat Hellraiser was followed by heavy Ajna -Sigver- which made the fans start head-banging. Everyone was captivated by the powerful sound and aesthetically superb performance of the band. JILUKA finished their set on an undoubtedly high level.

Set list

01. Necropolis
02. M.A.D.
03. Hellraiser
04. Ajna -Sigver-
05. Lethal Affliction
06. Obliterater

HER NAME IN BLOOD

The sound-check for this band was made with the curtains open, so the audience got a small instrumental bonus. After that, everyone went wild straightaway! Super muscular vocalist Ikepy ran onto the stage dressed in a tank top and small shorts. This band clearly contrasted against all the previous acts. Brutality was overflowing! But the most impressive part was the sound. It was literally descending upon the crowd, raising goosebumps and smashing the fans down with its power. They responded to every single beat and seemed to be captivated by this deep sound. Neither of the prior bands managed to achieve such a striking effect. After a small pause, the vocalist told the fans: “It is so cold outside, but thanks to you it became so warm here!” Well, we doubt it, since it was the band who really heated things up!

HER NAME IN BLOOD left the stage quite unexpectedly – they simply went away, letting the audience relax and prepare themselves for the set of the headliner.

Set list

01. BEAST MODE
02. LET IT DIE
03. POWER
04. Revolver
05. Invisible Wounds
06. HALO

Nocturnal Bloodlust

Finally, the headliner and host of this event — Nocturnal Bloodlust — came onstage. It would be an understatement to say they rocked the hall. Despite the fans giving their all for six hours already, it seemed they managed to either keep some strength especially for this set or find hidden energy inside their bodies.

The buttoned down, almost businessman-like style of the musicians greatly increased the effect from the adrenaline they poured in to the hall. Looking aloof, as if being the puppeteers to the crowd, they watched the audience go wild and respond eagerly to Natsu’s every gesture or guitar riff. However, the real master of this show was surely Hiro! His brilliant vocal skills and ability to switch from clean to extreme vocals without any visible effort were fascinating. He was the person to start stage-diving and encouraged some of the fans to follow his lead and start crowdsurfing.

Even the lights differed from all the previous acts. Sometimes a simple white light was turning on as if the show was going to end, but nobody seemed to notice that. The audience didn’t look at the stage – everyone was absorbing every vibration coming from the musicians.

Daichi was smiling in a cute way, Masa watched the crowd emotionlessly, and only Cazqui danced in a quirky way with his guitar to his own rhythm. “No matter how sad it is, let’s have fun till the very end,” said Hiro. In response to his words, the fans cried out the names of guitarists who were leaving the band. When V.I.P started, Cazqui made a kind of farewell firework with a cracker that showered the first rows with confetti.

The set was over, and Cazqui threw his picks to the audience. It was hard to believe that the show had come to an end. It would be a mistake to think so! Shouts of ‘encore’ started straight away, and the band returned to the stage in almost no time with a symbolic song, A Day to Re:member!

When the encore ended, Cazqui and Daichi remained onstage to bid their farewells. Daichi tried to say something, but his microphone was switched off, but it was easy to sense his ‘thank you’. Finally, guitarists threw their picks to the audience and left the stage. Unwillingly, the eyes of the fans filled with tears. Another era has come to an end.

The crowd cried ‘encore’ so desperately that it seemed that the band was about to return. But it didn’t, and the event was over.

Set list

01. Pleasure of Torture
02. Vanilla
03. T.Y.R.A.N.T
04. Empty glass
05. GENESYS
06. Calamity of victims
07. FATE
08. I-V-III
09. V.I.P
10. Malice against

Encore
01. A Day to Re:member

Metal Square vol. 4. Selection by Cazqui will surely remain in fans’ hearts for a long time. An excellent line-up, lots of adrenaline and blasting energy will be engraved in the memories of fans and resonate inside. Despite it was a sad event for the fans of Nocturnal Bloodlust, Cazqui did his best to make his and Daichi’s departure gorgeous!

JaME would like to thank L&P Attractive for press passes.
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