Rise of the Northstar
About Rise of the Northstar
Manga-obsessed Parisian groove metal quintet Rise of the Northstar combined metal, hip-hop, and hardcore with a hefty dose of Japanese pop culture influences to create their own unique "crossover" sound; they broke out internationally with their 2014 debut album Welcame.
The group was formed in 2008 by vocalist Vithia, who, after a succession of lineup changes, remained the sole original member, backed by guitarists Mazin Erwan & Evangelion B, bassist Fabulous Fab, and drummer Hokuto no Kev. From the start, their music was incredibly aggressive, melding the macho swagger of hip-hop and the righteous fury of metallic '90s New York tough-guy hardcore (complete with authentically thick, biting guitar tone) with contemporary metalcore influences, topped by Vithia's unique combination of shouting and rapping in English with short phrases of French slang. They also took their Japanese schtick very seriously indeed: their social media presence proclaims that they hail from Tokyo, all of their videos are subtitled in Japanese, and their name is a reference to the cult manga series Fist of the North Star. Their self-released 2009 debut EP, Tokyo Assault, and its 2012 follow-up, Demonstrating My Saiya Style, sold out as their sound struck a chord with metalheads all over Europe. They toured the continent and, refusing to merely pay lip service to the Far East, toured China and Taiwan in 2013. In 2014, on the eve of self-releasing their debut full-length Welcame (its title another manga reference), they were offered a licensing deal with Nuclear Blast, who gave the album a big international push. Their second album, 2018's Legacy of Shi, was produced by Gojira's Joe Duplantier and dug deep into their Japanese influences to tell a conceptual story following the adventures of the ageless samurai Shi. ~ John D. Buchanan, Rovi