Artist Playlists

About L'Arc〜en〜Ciel

L’Arc〜en〜Ciel means “the rainbow” in French, and fittingly, the Osaka-formed band of the same name, singing mostly in Japanese with the occasional English lyric, offer a colorful array of sonics—’80s and ’90s American hard rock, British glam, pile-driving punk and metal, and even orchestral-tinted pop. The group’s secret weapon is frontman hyde, who boasts a powerful, dramatic voice with the range (and crooning flair) necessary to handle these disparate styles. Co-founded in 1991 by hyde—who also fronts Vamps and maintains a solo career—and bassist tetsuya, L’Arc〜en〜Ciel were initially associated with the image-conscious visual kei movement. The quartet landed a major-label deal, debuting with 1994’s Tierra, and by the end of the decade they were superstars in Japan, thanks to a No. 1 chart single (the string- and horn-heavy “winter fall”) and a pair of best-selling 1999 albums, ark and ray. Over time, L’Arc〜en〜Ciel have become known as a formidable live act—they played Madison Square Garden in 2012, becoming the first Japanese act to headline a concert at the venue—and have branched out into movie and TV work; “Don’t Be Afraid” was used as the theme of the Japanese theatrical release of 2016’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Through it all, L’Arc〜en〜Ciel have maintained their ferocity and commitment to craft, which have kept them at the forefront of the Japanese rock scene.

February 1991
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