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Dec 28

[live report] Dead End – Tour 2009 “Metamorphosis"

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Article by Sarah Dworken

Up on the hill near Yoyogi Park in Tokyo there is an accursed land filled with the ghosts of Jrock past. Many rock stars have lived out their prime there and many are now buried in the dusty analogues of history, only remembered by their loyal fans and the now grown-up youngsters they inspired.

But some have unfinished business. They don’t stay buried up there on that hill. And when they return from the dead, you better be ready to scream and head bang like your life depends on it.

Such is Dead End, one of the pioneers of the dark, glam-goth rock style that influenced everyone from Gackt to girugamesh. They represented the sinister, yet entirely human aspect of the visual rock scene, allowing sweeping melodies to cascade over power metal instrumentals. However significant they were in the 1980’s, they remained virtually anonymous to many overseas fans who heard mention of their name only as other artists cited them as inspiration. While other defunct bands garnered interest with the international crowd in recent years, Dead End, which split officially in 1990, seemed all but ignored.

That was until earlier this year when news hit that Dead End would not only resume activities, but also release an album filled with brand-new material. Buzz went around the online Jrock community once Dead End appeared on the same stage with the likes of VAMPS, MUCC, and SID for Maverick D.C.’s JACK IN THE BOX 2009 SUMMER music festival in Chiba, Japan. Younger music fans wanted to know who this incredibly charismatic and solid band was while older fans wanted to know what this little teaser would offer next.

And no one was disappointed. Dead End soon announced two performances in Osaka and Tokyo as a mini-comeback tour entitled Tour 2009 “Metamorphosis.” The Tokyo stop just happened to be at that live house up on the hill, Shibuya-Ax, on November 20th. Mixing the old songs with the new, the band delivered a solid display of why certain bands should rise from the dead to feast on the brains of their devoted fans and newcomers alike.

The band took the stage with a quiet reverence. Fans hooted and screamed, but the band seemed humbled by the fact that this was their first Tokyo performance together as Dead End in nearly two decades. The moments before the music began were surreal, perhaps too much to handle for certain ecstatic fans who were belting out blood-curdling screams of delight.

05Vocalist Morrie, guitarist You, and bassist “Crazy” Cool-Joe were joined by Luna Sea’s Shinya on drums. Each member participated in projects post-Dead End, but to see them together on stage again was awe-inspiring. The band was tight, flowing seamlessly from classic Dead End to selections from their latest album, Metamorphosis. No lyric was left out of place, no note was carelessly out of tune, and no beat was off by even the slightest millisecond. This wasn’t a self-satisfying romp down memory lane, but proof that Dead End is a band that wants nothing more than to wow their audience with the talent and perfectionism they possess.

Even though their older works brought nostalgic tears to many a fan’s eye, the music received an update that brought the tunes into the early 21st century. Instead of the concert being new Dead End covering old Dead End, it was a display of how each member has grown over the years.

Morrie’s voice has gone from a wild, slightly raw howl to a refined, almost operatic baritone. His demeanor on stage is also much more ominous, like a dark shadow looming over the audience, sucking their souls in. None of the instrumentals are predictable, veering off the typical rock path by allowing “Crazy” Cool-Joe’s bass to stand out, pounding away at the hearts of those around it. But one of the most memorable aspects of the live was You’s seemingly inhuman guitar solos. Putting shame to anyone who’s ever strapped on a V-guitar and claimed to know how to play it, You attacked his fingerboard with  speed, agility and accuracy to pull out his bewildering melodies.

With the new album selling well and the consistent increase of new fans, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear Dead End announce a continuation of their tour. And considering there is a wealth of North American and European fans just beginning to dip into Dead End’s discography, fans will undoubtedly begin begging to see the band perform on their soil.

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Dead End Official Website – http://www.deadendofficial.com
Photos courtesy of Danger Crue Records

2 comments

  1. Meg

    WOW. Killer opener and great accompanying pics.

    But its just great to hear that they still sound so amazing. You never know with bands that disappear for a while and try to come back. I think it would be awesome for them to continue their tour and venture outside of the counry too. I would totally be there for that one.

    Another great (beautiful) report :)

  2. Viktor-HYDEist

    ^^ hey really thanks so much for the report ^^
    I reading.. cool!

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