In the late 2000s, a new breed of visual kei bands emerged who took the fashionable looks of the oshare set but shied away from the garish colors, relentlessly optimistic outlook, and summery pop-punk sound, opting instead to incorporate harder metallic elements and more melancholy lyrical themes. In the indie scene, one of the first (and probably the most popular) of these was Vistlip, a stylish quintet formed on July 7, 2007 by former members of the bands Replia and Jessica: vocalist Tomo, guitarists Yuh and Umi, bassist Rui, and drummer Tohya.
After a steady period of gigging around Tokyo, they launched their recording career in April 2008 with a slickly produced and packaged mini-album, Revolver, grabbing visual fans’ attention from the get-go. The band was praised for its top-notch musicianship, and especially for Tomo’s naturalistic lyrics. A steady stream of singles followed, and another mini-album, Patriot, appeared in April 2009. At this time the band was also brought to the attention of European fans with their inclusion on the second volume of the J-Visualism compilation album series, and in October they performed outside Japan for the first time, at the Tsuki-Con convention in Helsinki, Finland. They finally released their first full-length album, Theater, that December. It sold well domestically, and their international popularity continued to increase.
On July 30, 2010, the band was involved in a car wreck inside a road tunnel which resulted in the death of their manager, Asako Sakakibara. The bandmembers survived with only minor injuries, but were devastated by the incident. They immediately ceased all musical activity and went on a hiatus which would last for almost a year. In June, 2011 they finally returned with a new single, and in December of that year their second album, Order Made, was released. While retaining a propulsive rock feel, it was a smoother and slicker affair musically, with the rough edges ironed out and featuring many beautiful and charming melodies. It performed even better than its predecessor, reaching number 12 on the Oricon charts, and the band continued to go from strength to strength, following it up with two further singles in 2012. ~ John D. Buchanan
FORMEDJuly 7, 2007