Kagrra is a visual kei band with a keen interest in Japanese culture and history, which earned them the "neo Japanesque" label, and a moderate approach to outfits and songwriting, which earned them commercial success. The group was formed in 1998, after Isshi (vocals), Izumi (drums) and Nao (bass) found guitarists Akiya and Shin via a newspaper ad. The quintet was initially named "Crow" and had a sister band in Lar~mia, both performing together and sporting related nicknames "black bird" and "white bird". The partnership only lasted until 1999, when "Crow" signed to PS Company, changing the name to Kagrra, derived from a Shinto ritual dance. The first mini-album Nue was out in 2000 and had to have a second pressing due to high demand. More EPs followed in 2001 and 2002, along with four singles themed after the seasons of the year, as well as a Hong Kong tour with Kagerou and Dué le Quartz in 2001. 2002 saw Kagrra's first full-length Gozen. After that the group stepped up the tour work, which was mirrored in a stream of live DVDs -- two were released during their indie days, and two were added in 2004-2005, after the band was picked by Columbia, adding a comma to their name to mark it (i.e. becoming "Kagrra," per official spelling). They complemented touring with two albums, Miyako (2004) and San (2005), and finally made it to a higher level: in 2006 they had their song "Chikai no Tsuki" picked for the TV series Kinnikuman II Yo Ultimate Muscle 2, and in 2007 they debuted overseas, playing the J-Rock Revolution festival in Los Angeles. Kagrra kept on recording as well, releasing full albums Shizuku in 2007 and Core in 2008 (the latter album scored number 28 on the Oricon charts).
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