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Album Review

Luna Sea are acclaimed masters of visual kei, and Shine leaves little question why. Barring a few oddballs like Sigh and Acid Mothers Temple, Japan isn't exactly the global hotbed of musical experimentation — visual kei, the country's main rock export, is not so much a style as a fashion statement built around Western music. But while the Japanese didn't invent pre-grunge rock, Luna Sea proves that they certainly perfected it beyond their mentors. Shine, one of their best albums along with Mother, is hard rock without the machismo, sentimentality without the sappiness, and melody without the one-dimensional attitude of pop music. There are a lot of actual influences to trace here, from the level of distortion, which recalls Extreme, to the somber and powerful "No Pain," which sounds like the Cure's contribution to The Crow soundtrack, but the wealth of influences alone is the mark of a good album. Add to this the carefully built, genuinely serious mood and the strength of songwriting — the tracks vary from speedy numbers to power ballads and midtempo marches, but remain equally convincing — and Luna Sea is elevated to being an influence in its own right. Shine has the unmistakable vibe of a band in control of their sound, and it's a small wonder that Luna Sea had an impact on literally hundreds of bands that followed in their wake in the next decade.


Formed: 1989 in Kanagawa, Japan

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Luna Sea were the definitive visual kei band of the '90s, rivaling even X-Japan, with whom they had a master-pupil relationship -- two members of X-Japan, which itself split in mid-'90s, discovered Luna Sea in 1990. Luna Sea's sound was firmly based in '80s hard rock, but the band had a versatile, almost proggy approach to songwriting, and its softer side, displayed later on in the group's career, proved equally strong. The band was formed in 1989 as a quintet initially named Lunacy. Guitarist Shinobu...
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  • €14.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: 1998

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