Lynch

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This Nagoya band's fusion of hardcore punk brutality with beautiful, shimmering melodies made the group a huge underground success.
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Forged in the fire of the same Nagoya scene that birthed Kuroyume and Deadman, Lynch was one of the heaviest visual kei bands to achieve mainstream success in Japan. Their moody, leather-clad look and fusion of hardcore punk brutality with beautiful, shimmering, and hugely infectious minor-key melodies made them an enormous underground success, and eventually led to a major-label deal. At the same time, they gained a huge international following, despite only one of their albums being released outside of Japan.

Lynch -- named for the verb rather than the surname -- was formed in August 2004 by guitarist Reo, drummer Asanao, and vocalist Hazuki, formerly the frontman of Deathgaze, another heavy Nagoya band that plied a similar sound. Until 2010, when they finally employed a full-time bass player, they operated with a series of session bassists, the first of whom was Yukino, who had played with Reo in the band Gullet. They started playing live early in 2005, and began their recording career with a bang in April of that year, forgoing singles or EPs to put out a full-length album, Greedy Dead Souls, as their very first release. The album, with its dark, gothic, and aggressive tone, was an immediate success, and was followed in November by a mini-album, Underneath the Skin. Choosing to focus on touring rather than recording, the band took a comparatively long time by Japanese standards to complete their second album, 2007’s The Avoided Sun. In 2006 they had been joined by a second guitarist, Yusuke, and they took full advantage of his presence to craft a strong follow-up bursting with new ideas that further increased their popularity.

Later in 2007 the band chose to re-record some of the songs from their debut album and mini-album on a release entitled The Buried. The addition of a second guitarist gave the songs added punch and vitality, and the album was also picked up for release in Europe through CLJ Records, a German label specializing in visual kei. The band spent 2008 playing live, undertaking their first solo tour as well as one with fellow visual acts Sadie and Screw, and it was mid-2009 before they released their third album, Shadows. It was their most brutal and aggressive release to date and, while it sold well, left some fans feeling it was too one-dimensional and that the band was running out of ideas. In 2010, to the surprise and delight of their fans, Lynch announced they were signing to King Records, one of Japan’s major labels. At the same time, they finally recruited a full-time bassist, Akinori. Sadly, Hazuki was forced to sit out most of their final indie tour after being diagnosed with laryngitis, but he soon bounced back and the band headed into the studio to record their major-label debut album. I Believe in Me, released in mid-2011, was classic Lynch, laying to rest fans' fears over songwriting quality, and was followed almost exactly a year later by their fifth album Inferiority Complex.

XIII
The 2010s was a productive decade for Lynch, with the band putting out an album almost every year. 2013's Exodus EP was followed by the brilliant album Gallows in 2014. For 2015's D.A.R.K. (In the Name of Evil), the band signed a licensing deal with German label Okami. This imprint of Gan-Shin Records -- one of only two labels releasing J-Rock in Europe following the demise of CLJ (the other was JPU) -- was also the European home of Dir en Grey. 2016's Avantgarde was also released on Okami. In late 2016, Akinori was arrested for drug possession and subsequently dismissed from the band by the label. Lynch refused to replace him, recording 2017's Sinners EP and "Blood Thirsty Creature" single with support bassists including J from Luna Sea, Hitoki from Kuroyume, Tsuyoshi from P.T.P., and Yukke from Mucc. Having patiently borne his exile, Akinori was allowed to rejoin the group in early 2018. The band celebrated his return by re-recording the EP and single with him on bass, releasing them together as the compilation album Sinners: No-One Can Fake My Blood. Later that year they celebrated their 13th anniversary with their ninth album, XIII, which was released in Europe through Okami.