Pierrot

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During their decade-long run on the Japanese rock scene in the late '90s and early 2000s Pierrot became a leading force of the visual kei movement, finally bursting under the strain of the members' creative…
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During their decade-long run on the Japanese rock scene in the late '90s and early 2000s Pierrot became a leading force of the visual kei movement, finally bursting under the strain of the members' creative impulses and leaving a bunch of other rock acts in their wake. The group, established in 1994, was initially named Crash & Noise and consisted of vocalist Hidelow, guitarists Kirito and Jun, bassist Kohta, and drummer Luka. The Pierrot moniker was adopted in time for the band's first demos, out in 1994. The debut indie album Kikurui Pierrot was released during the same year, although the cast of musicians continued to shift for a while: Luka left in 1994 (to be replaced by Takeo), and Hidelow followed in 1995. After Hidelow's departure, Kirito became the frontman, handing over guitar duties to Aiji, formerly of Kalen. Stable lineup secured, the band released its second album, Pandora No Hako (1996), which gathered ecstatic press and brought Pierrot a contract with Sweet Child Records, which released their EP Celluloid (1997). The band played the label's yearly live event Sweet Trance until 2002, and in 1999 sold out the 10,000 seats of the Budokan, later picking up the habit of finishing their tours at this venue.

In 1999, Pierrot were snatched up by Toshiba-EMI, which released their second album, Finale, that year. The album was a huge success, bolstered by the massive airplay received by the singles Mad Sky, Clear Sky and Last Letter. The fourth album Private Enemy (2000) was a big hit as well, but while working on their next offering, Heaven -- The Customized Landscape (2002), Pierrot crossed to Universal, with which they remained. The period of stability saw the release of two more studio albums -- Id Attack (2003) and Freeze (2004) -- and a re-recording of Pierrot's indie material (Dictators Circus Kijutsuteki Senritsu, 2003), but the calm didn't last long. In 2005 Kirito recorded his debut solo album, Hameln, and, despite his promises that this wouldn't hurt Pierrot, the band folded in 2006. Kirito, Kohta, and Takeo started Angelo; Jun founded ALvino with Koji, guitarist of La'cryma Christi, and vocalist Shouta; and Aiji teamed up with Miyavi's guitarist, Maya, to establish the dance-rock act LM.C.