I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Seikima II -- EL-DO-RA-DO

When I got to Japan in 1989, one of the big signs that Japanese music was indeed diversifying appeared in the form of bands like By-Sexual and X who put on the cosmetics as well as the rock and punk. And then there was the heavy metal outfit known as Seikima II(聖飢魔II)led by Demon Kogure(デーモン小暮), now known as Demon Kakka(デーモン閣下). The first time I saw this fellow show up on Japanese TV, I just went "Well, there goes the neighbourhood!" He looked like a kabuki actor from space. And since I was no fan of metal, I basically just saw him and his bandmates looking quite fearsome although they sounded quite amiable in conversations on shows like "Music Station".

The Wikipedia description of Seikima II goes as follows:

According to the band, Seikima-II is a group of Akuma (悪魔, "demons") from the futuristic hyper-evolved dimension Makai (魔界, "demon world") that preach a religion called Akumakyo in order to propagate Satan through the use of heavy metal music. Each member is a demon of a different hierarchical class, with His Excellency Demon Kakka being leader of the Akuma and His Majesty Damian Hamada being the "Crown Prince of Hell". In accordance to the prophecy and after completing their world conquest, the band disbanded at the end of the century on December 31, 1999 at 23:59:59.

Well, you gotta admit, these guys have spunk and imagination (although invitations to perform in the Bible Belt in the US were probably not forthcoming)! Demon Kogure, being the only constant in the band since its formation in 1982, has kept the otherworldly tale going ever since then. The band may have disbanded briefly at the end of the century they've come back time and time again.

Oh, how I wished YouTube had the full interview here. Back in the early 1990s, CNN devoted an entire week to cover the various aspects of Japan, and the one big highlight was seeing Demon Kogure actually show up on "Larry King Live!" First off, I didn't even know that Japanese demons could speak English that well, and he was quite personable although at points, he seemed rather bewildered at Larry's line of questioning. However, the most hilarious part of the interview was at the end when the famous interviewer allowed His Excellency Demon to pass the coverage off to the anchorperson in Atlanta, and he did it with aplomb! The anchor was most amused.

And then since my return to Japan in 1994, he also appeared as the spokesdemon for a short-lived English conversation school called TOZA which had perhaps been set up as a direct rival to my old unit NOVA before various financial difficulties brought TOZA down rather dramatically (one day, students and teachers were locked out of their schools without notice). NOVA would face the same fate several years later, but by that point, I had long moved on to other schools.

But after all these years of seeing him on commercials and TV programs (music and variety), I've come to the conclusion that Demon Kakka is a pretty nice fellow as demons go. It's almost like Casper The Friendly Ghost with him being Kakka The Amiable Demon. Heck, I saw him several weeks ago helping out broadcasters on NHK give the sports news.

Not being a fan of theirs, I just went with anything that caught my fancy and I saw the above video on YouTube with the then-Demon Kogure's visage glaring at me. The song was their 3rd single released in March 1987...or in the band's year of B.D. 12...called "EL-DO-RA-DO" (although the song had first been known on their 3rd album from November 1986 "From Hell With Love"), and I was actually quite impressed at how melodic it was. I had been expecting a cacophony of screams and guitar wails and smashing drumbeats but it wasn't too hard on the ears at all. Kogure can take credit for words and music.

Plus I gotta say that His Excellency Demon has a pretty good voice. I gather that Hell offers some decent vocal training. Watching the whole band perform the song in the video above, I rather liken Seikima II to KISS with a (bleeding) tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. That one guitarist even looked a bit like drummer Peter Criss in terms of his makeup.

The current lineup for Seikima II is Kogure/Kakka, Raiden Yuzawa(雷電湯澤), Xenon Ishikawa(ゼノン石川), Luke Takamura(ルーク篁), and Jail O'Hashi(ジェイル大橋).
You can check out Seikima II's Wikipedia page for more details including the history behind their name.

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