Visual kei quartet Diaura rose swiftly from the ashes of fan favorite Valluna to develop a rabid cult following in Japan and the West. Their extravagant kote-kei ("old-school") looks and raw, metallic, yet accessible sound made them one of the most exciting indies bands to grace the scene in the early 2010s.
All the members had been playing since school, influenced by an earlier wave of visual kei bands like Kuroyume, Dir en Grey, and Pierrot, as well as pop idols like Tokio and T.M. Revolution. Vocalist Yo-ka and drummer Yuu met soon after moving to Tokyo in search of fame and fortune, and formed the short-lived band Marely. After that group split up, Yo-ka was invited by guitarist Kei to join his band Valluna, which rapidly developed a cult following but itself disbanded after only a year and a half. Undaunted, Yo-ka and Kei stuck together, called up Yuu, found bassist Shoya through their agent, and Diaura was born. Their vaguely militaristic concept (the name is short for "Dictatorial Aura"), dark looks, and music appealed both to old-school VK aficionados and to younger fans looking for something different from the then-inescapable wave of garishly colored, pop-oriented oshare bands.
Their debut single, "Shitsuyoku no Seiiki" ("Lost Wing Sanctuary"), was released in January 2011 and was swiftly snapped up by their readymade core audience. Two further singles and the mini-album Dictator followed, each gradually raising the band's profile before their debut album Genesis dropped in March 2012, selling creditably both in Japan and the West. Just two months later, Yuu was forced to take a hiatus due to ill health, which eventually caused him to retire from the band; support drummer Tatsuya, who had played for Diaura in his absence, permanently replaced him in April 2013.
The band continued to churn out a steady stream of popular singles and another mini-album, Reborn, before moving to Blowgrow, a quasi-major label also home to Angelo and Penicillin. The injection of cash meant they could afford a better studio, and their second album, Focus, was an even better record than their debut. Released in December 2013, it was a mature effort with a more polished, melodic sound which sometimes recalled the poppier era of 12012. They followed it less than a year later with a third album, Triangle, which saw them continue in this new direction. ~ John D. Buchanan