Cast your mind back thirty years to the late 80s where hard rock was in full swing. Def Leppard in the UK at the peak of their career after the release of their seminal release Hysteria and over in the states, Guns N Roses were selling out stadiums across the globe. However, in the western world, there’s one band from that era that go somewhat underlooked compared to their peers: X Japan. On April 21st, 1989 the band released Blue Blood (originally titled, X) (CBS/Sony), the album that led them to become one of Japan’s biggest bands.
Derived from the slogan across the album’s cover, “Visual Kei” spawned a whole new movement of music in Japan. This is relating to the use of image similar to glam rock to add a whole level to the sound. Elaborate makeup, hairstyles, and costumes were used to create giant band personas which can be said has become a large part of Japanese music’s culture from the J-pop stars perfume to the polarising Kawaii Metal stars, Babymetal.
Noted by highly esteemed journalist, Carl Begai as being “One of the few damn near perfect albums in my eyes for the simple fact it never lets up and never gets lazy.” This summarises the grandeur of Blue Blood, each track keeps you at the edge of your seat whether it be headbanging to the power-metal tinged ‘Blue Blood’ or swaying gracefully along to the cheesier ballads.
Undoubtedly, Blue Blood belongs in the top albums of the 80s due to its influence still existing and presenting itself across the music board from the high paced acts like Dragonforce to the more operatic stylings of Nightwish. Whilst the band and Blue Blood as an extension seems to fall under the radar largely in the Western mainstream, the sound and scope will live on for decades to come.