Yukueshirezu Tsurezure – Post Katastrophe
David: Sitting on their alt-idol thrones, Yukueshirezu Tsurezure (Not Secured, Loose Ends) lord over the devastation caused by the collision of sprite-like vocals, nigtmarish intensity, and dark, manic screams.
Walküre – Walküre Attack!
Greg: This lively cover conveys the energy of the newest addition to the music of the “Macross” franchise, the “Tactical Sound Unit” Walküre. The idol group is a key part of the anime series, and front and center on this first of their two albums released in 2016.
BiSH – FAKE METAL JACKET
Greg: BiSH got their conquest of 2016 off to an early start with the second album, released in January. Great, simple cover showing off the members and the group’s wry sense of humor.
Kanon Wakeshima – Luminescence Q.E.D.
Jen: It’s great seeing Kanon show off a more mature and rock ‘n’ roll side, but the pink envelops are a reminder of the sweet, whimsical girl we all know and love.
Namie Amuro – Dear Diary/Fighter
David: As far as epic pairings go, you’d be hard pressed to find any duo more fearsome than Namie Amuro and Death Note’s shinigami-supreme Ryuk, ready to out-smart and out-dance any and all foes.
exist†trace – Royal Straight Magic
Jen: Jyou’s androgyny is on point, as there is no indication of her gender here. The card is flying straight at us, as if this mysterious person is issuing a message to give the album a listen.
D – Wonderland Savior
Nhu: D continues their love of Alice in Wonderland with a steampunk makeover on the cover of “Wonderland Savior”. The smash up is a welcoming addition to the visual kei scene where steampunk has yet to be executed properly.
L’arc-en-Ciel – Don’t Be Afraid
David: With their positions as J-Rock elite firmly in place, it would have been easy for the members of L’arc-en-Ciel to back off this campy homage to zombie life, but they went full throttle instead, bringing ultimate never-seen-before-style to the undead.
Onmyouza – Karyoubinga
David: Onmyouza’s deep dive into mythology yields yet another majestic creature, the immortal Buddhist diety Kalaviṅka, with a golden voice to match vocalist Kuroneko note for note.
BAND-MAID – YOLO
David: Iconic rock images make a statement, and BAND-MAID’s steely-sharp headphones (complete w/ Saiki’s trademark blue rose) tell you everything you need to know about this band’s combination of hard-rock shredding and ferocious beauty.