Exist Trace at Tekkoshocon X in Pittsburgh, 2012
|Genres||Alternative metal, gothic metal, melodic death metal|
|Labels||Sequence, Monster's Inc., Tokuma Japan Communications|
Exist Trace (stylized as exist†trace) is a Japanese visual kei metal band, consisting entirely of female members. The members originate from Tokyo, and initially formed in June 2003. The founding members are Jyou, Naoto and Mally, who then advertised for guitarists, meeting miko and Omi.
To date, the band has released seven singles, four EPs, and a compilation album. They have also appeared on ten omnibus albums as well as two live DVDs featuring several bands on the Shizuoka-based Sequence Records label. Their highest charting is number 84 on the Oricon album chart for Virgin.
- Vocals : Jyou (ジョウ)
- Lead guitar : Omi (乙魅)
- Rhythm guitar, Vocals : miko (ミコ)
- Bass : Naoto (猶人)
- Drums : Mally (マリ)
Musical style and direction
Exist Trace's early music can be described as melodic metal, with vocalist Jyou's growls and shouts throughout many songs, which contributes to their dark undertone. They have since added more complex sounds to the compositions, their guitar sound often featuring heavy distortion and technically virtuoso riffs and solos. The lyrics are mainly based on gothic themes, and their music style has resemblance to gothic rock. In recent work, they have experimented with different electronic and melodic approaches to their music, such as the jazz-influenced "Ginger", the electronic-rock of "Diamond" and the '80s disco' feel of "Spiral Daisakusen".
In 2013, Exist Trace introduced their 'new world' musical direction, where long-time main lyricist/ composer miko would officially be taking a dual-vocal position with Jyou. Miko's earliest shared vocal was on the track "Little Mary to utsukushiki nikushimi no Danube"(Little Mary and the beautiful hatred of the Danube), where she played the part of the sweet young Mary to counterbalance Jyou's deep-voiced rendition of her mother, the murderous queen. Following this, the 2012 track "Ginger" showed a 'call and response' style of duet, where the two act as a sort of Bonnie and Clyde couple of bickering thieves, whose shared passion for crime and each other is constantly tested by their own selfishness. The 'twin vocal' style was emphasised in 2013's single "Diamond", where the interactions between the two vocalists was less a meeting of two parts or characters, and more a case of shared lines and a harmony of chorus. In 2014's "Spiral Daisakusen", the pair again share front billing and the centre spot on the music video.
This direction created some controversy within the fandom, some criticising miko's less powerful vocal capabilities and claiming that Jyou's vocal parts were made less acrobatic in order to match. The twin vocal style necessitated a change in the band's sound, as it favoured clear harmonies over the previous style of raw, emotional vocals, interspersed with wordless sounds such as growls, screams or sighs. This has left many concerned about the future of the band's sound, and questions over how much of the change in the musical direction is owed to pressures from the Tokuma music label to appeal to a more mainstream audience.
A new album is slated for release in September 2014.
First introduced to the West by their inclusion on the Silent Hill soundtrack in 2007, the band developed a dedicated international following. Fans of Japanese rock and the visual kei genre in particular voted eagerly for the band to tour internationally, and were rewarded in 2008 when exist trace embarked on a tour of Europe, including the United Kingdom. Voices from the United States fandom encouraged the band to be booked for Japanese culture conventions, such as Tekkoshocon X in 2012, and AKON 2013.
2014 brought the introduction of the band's official international fanclub, 'Archangel Diamond', to act as a supplement to the Japanese fanclub 'Vanguard'. The club became an active presence on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, featuring fan artworks and responding to fan questions. It officially opened for membership on May 19, 2014, the 19th of each month being generally used for exist trace announcements as it is 'Igu day' -- a Japanese pun on the shortened form of the band's name.
Archangel Diamond promises to connect international fans more closely with the band, and will offer fanclub exclusive merchandise, as well as messages from the band members.
- Recreation Eve (November 19, 2008)
- Twin Gate (November 3, 2010)
- Virgin (May 23, 2012)
- Annunciation -The Heretic Elegy- (December 13, 2006)
- Demented Show (September 9, 2007)
- Vanguard -Of the Muses- (April 22, 2009)
- Ambivalent Symphony (October 21, 2009)
- True (June 15, 2011)
- The Last Daybreak (October 19, 2011)
- "Ambivalence" (August 28, 2005)
- "Riot" (July 17, 2006)
- "Funeral Bouquet" (January 10, 2007)
- "Liquid" (July 18, 2007)
- "Knife" (June 2, 2010)
- "DIAMOND" (July 3, 2013)
- "Spiral Daisakusen" (May 14, 2014)
- "Hai no Yuki" (灰ノ雪, February 22, 2004)
- "Kokumu" (黒霧, July 1, 2004)
- Drive Up!! vol. 1 (April 15, 2005) Corrosion
- Summit 03 (November 29, 2006) Mabushii Hodo no Kurayami no Naka de (眩しい程の暗闇の中で)
- Deviant's Struggle (June 20, 2007) liquid
- Fool's Mate Select Omnibus Seduction#1 (December 16, 2007) Sacrifice Baby
- Summit 04 (January 30, 2008) Venom
- Summit 05 (December 10, 2008) Judea
- Shock Edge 2009 (October 14, 2009) Liquid
- Neo Voltage (May 26, 2010) Unforgive You
- Iron Angel (January 15, 2011) Liquid
- Final Summit 2000~2010 (February 16, 2011) Mabushii Hodo no Kurayami no Naka de (眩しい程の暗闇の中で)
- Mariannes (July 20, 2011) Liquid
- Silent Hill 2061125 Pavilion which deer barks (January 31, 2007) SACRIFICE BABY
- 0704272930 (September 18, 2007) Lilin/JUDEA
- Visual-kei DVD Magazine vol.4 V-Rock Special (March 31, 2010)
- Just Like a Virgin One Man Show (Shibuya O-WEST 23 June 2012)
- exist†trace on JaME Retrieved on Sep 21, 2007 (English)
- "Exist Trace". Oricon. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- Official website (Japanese)