Today, on July 10, girugamesh gave its last live show together. It still feels weird to think that one of the most prominent bands in the scene, one that made people fall in love with Japanese rock, will no longer perform together. girugamesh was a band that gave people lots of amazing and emotional music to its fans. That’s why, on this bittersweet day, we would like to remember girugamesh with a bit of a biography of the band, as well as with some of the most rocking and energetic songs they put out during their extensive career together.
girugamesh: Their Beginnings
girugamesh formed in 2004 in Chiba, when a group of high school friends had decided to form a band. Nii and ShuU were friends since childhood, and were the founders of the band. The band initially had twin guitars, with Nii and another member named Hotaru taking the positions. When looking for a drummer, it wouldn’t take them long to find one, as Nii’s brother, Ryo, took the position. The fact that Nii and Ryo were brothers would be kept hidden for several years before they admitted to it on social media, although the more hard-core fans of the band were already in the know. Now, all they needed was a vocalist, and they found the vocal talent they wanted in a man named Cyrien. Within the year, both Cyrien and Hotaru would leave the band, with Cyrien moving on and becoming the vocalist of Sel’m. The band opted for not recruiting another guitarist, so there was no problem there, but they were still left without a vocalist. It was at this time that Satoshi would be introduced to the band and became the vocalist. As everyone knows, this line-up would last until their disbandment.
2004–2006: A Legacy Forges
In the early stages of their career, also known as their “suit era”, due to their constantly wearing suits as the main point of their look, they were an independent band performing only within the Chiba prefecture. As an independent band, they released only one single, Jaleto, containing one song. Soon, they were signed to Gaina-Japan, their first record label. Under this label, they would release their next single, [Kaisen] -Kikaku Kata Enban- in 2004, and began gaining considerable following across Japan. They would go on to release their second single, [Kuukyo no Utsuwa]-Kyo Saku Kata Enban- and soon, in 2005, they embarked in their first nation-wide tour, which would later be released on DVD.
It was an exciting and busy year for girugamesh. After a string of four one-coin singles in April, they would release their first mini-album, Goku -Shohan Kata Enban-, on May 5. They would then go on to release two more singles, making 2005 their most active year, with seven releases in total.
2006 was also an exciting year for the quartet as it saw the release of one of their most popular songs to play during lives, Omae ni sasageru minikui koe, as well as the release of their first album, 13th Reborn. One of the band’s most popular songs, Owari to Mirai, came from this album, and you can reminisce by watching the music video below:
2007–2009: International Success
2007 saw one of their most important years ever as a band. They signed to European label, GAN-SHIN Records, and played their first overseas concert in the US, as one of nine bands that took part in the Jrock Revolution festival that took place in Los Angeles, California. 2007 also saw the release of their second mini-album, Reason of Crying, and their second album, a self-titled release that included vocalist Satoshi’s favorite girugamesh song, Kowareteiku sekai.
In 2008, the band toured Europe for the first time as part of their Stupid Tour ’08, which took them to Germany, France, UK, Sweden, and Finland. Their continued international success was more evident with the opening of their English-written website, as well as with their American debut, which had the second album, girugamesh, sold exclusively throughout Hot Topic stores. 2008 also received girugamesh’s third album, Music, which had the fan-favorite song, Break Down, as its second track:
In 2009, girugamesh returned to the US as a musical guest for the anime convention Sakura-Con, held in Seattle, Washington. A web commercial for the convention would become good exposure for the band, as the commercial made a hilarious mention of girugamesh, making them a popular internet meme that year:
But that wasn’t all that occurred with girugamesh that year. 2009 also saw the release of three singles, Alive, BORDER, and Crying Rain. Shortly after the release of Crying Rain, the band’s fourth album, NOW, was also released. It was clear girugamesh were at the pinnacle of their popularity, but dark clouds would soon cover the band’s shining career.
2010–2011: The Infamous “GO” Album
Many bands tend to evolve musically over the years, experiment with their sound, and naturally change the direction of the band, and girugamesh was no different. The difference here was how badly it back-fired on the band. In July 2010, the band released COLOR, a single that was met with criticism for its pop-like sound. The following single, Inochi no Ki, was also met with the same criticisms by fans. Fans really started to worry about the band when their fifth album, GO, was released, as it followed the same pop sound many fans came to hate.
After the release of GO, the band entered a short hiatus, in which the members later stated to have felt useless throughout. Satoshi stated that they knew the album was not well received and had to re-organize themselves in order to bring the band back up again. They admitted to going to a lot of live-houses during the hiatus, which Satoshi admitted that if they hadn’t gone to live-houses, they would have “become useless”. The band entered an existential crisis as well, and were not sure what to do at that point. When plans for a comeback began, everyone agreed that they should all be committed to moving forward as a band, and even admitted that if any member had not agreed with that, it would have meant the end of the band at that point.
2012–2015: girugamesh’s Amazing Comeback
In July 2012, girugamesh marked their return with Zeechou BANG!!, a single that began to repair the damage GO had left. People were happy with it, but they still didn’t feel like it was a “girugamesh” song just yet. The band put away those feelings of uneasiness with Zantetsuken, released in September, a song that had those heavy elements and harsh vocals everyone came to love over the years.
After impressing old and new fans alike with their successful return, the band wasn’t satisfied. They wanted more. For almost a year, the band remained silent. The band then began a countdown with a silhouette of the members as a teaser. The band was yet again re-inventing itself. The result was INCOMPLETE, a single released in September 2013. The added electronics to their heavy sound made for a fresh sound that started a new era for girugamesh. The band was now back with full force. In November, the band released their sixth album, MONSTER, and kept the same elements INCOMPLETE had brought.
In 2014, girugamesh would release a best album, LIVE BEST, which included many re-recordings of fan favorite songs that were released since the band’s beginnings. This release would be followed by an EP, Gravitation, released in September 2014. The EP would become one of the best releases of the band according to fans on the internet.
2015 was a quiet year for the band, only performing on Japanese festivals and venues.
2016: The Unimaginable News, The End of an Era
On January 20, girugamesh released chimera, an EP that, at that time, no one knew that this would become their last release. After announcing a new European tour, on May 2, the band announced they would be disbanding after one last Japanese live on July 10. The amount of sadness and shock this left on fans was unimaginable. However, the band gave its reasons for disbanding in our interview with them, stating that they had done all they wanted to do with girugamesh, among other reasons. We went to their live in London and enjoyed the most out of the live, as we knew it would be our last chance to do so.
girugamesh certainly disbanded quite suddenly, that at first it seemed like a bad joke from them. However, the truth is girugamesh will no longer be there to brighten our days with new music, but we will be able to rock out to the music they left behind. Their music probably left a big impression on many people who were struggling with their lives, and were able to forget those struggles for a few minutes as they listened to girugamesh’s music. We say good-bye to a big name in the Japanese rock scene, but welcome and wish good luck on any future endeavor the members might pursue.