Sujk「Arkhelism Live」(2012-04-07) Report

Super live theatre AREA in Takadanobaba was a place I have never been before. A place I may have never have gone if it were not for the former drummer of DELUHI’s side project.

Yes. All of you who listen to my streaming radio show, or listen to Visual Kei should know how mind spankingly amazing DELUHI was. It was rough when they broke up. Every song of theirs i listened to reminded me of all the times i had seen them live and all the times I would never see them live again. Then Sujk made Arkhelism. Though despite being an awesome album, hearing Juri’s voice and Leda’s guitars supporting Sujk’s barrage always stirred a little self pity. When a friend was over from SA we listened to the album together and commiserated all the wasted potential and live shows that were never to be had when a random search on Google turned up info on a series of live shows to promote Sujk’s solo project. I fired up eplus and got my ticket well fast.

The show started off like many DELUHI shows did, with a recorded interview which explained the name “Arkhelism”and had a cameo by Sujk’s silly death voice alter ego. Insignificant crap IMHO but it was nice because it reminded me off all the epic lives that had come before.

When the curtains opened however, The real fun began. They played every song on the album and even played “believer” twice (once in the encore) Juri was the only other member of DELUHI who performed in the live project, even though Leda did do some guitar work on the album. Guitars were shredded by Tatsuaki Sakai from MI-RO-KU, bass was tickled by Yushi Tsuchiya from Twilight NEO and secondary vocals and samples were handled by #14 from DEFINE STRICT. The music was tight and well performed and the songs came alive in ways that not even an album as good as Arkhelism could capture. The small venue and the rough, unpolished informality of the event made it more real than any DELUHI show ever was, and I am willing to bet that connection between the band and the fans was the reason they played above and beyond anything I would have expected them capable of.

“The bass drum dictated the my heart rate and the rest of my body wanted desperately to follow…”

Sujk wrote and arranged everything and so the drumming stands out a whole lot more than most other bands. In fact tit was probably the first drum driven hardcore I have ever seen in Japan. That said, The execution was way better than a lot of the drum driven international acts I have heard (admittedly I have not seen any live before) Regardless. the drums were tight, hard and most importantly, could be felt more than heard. The drum solos were precise tight and surprisingly creative. I have never been a huge fan of drums and honestly have never been interested by drum solos before. Not even the DELUHI ones. There was something about his drumming this time that stirred me in ways that only the guitar and bass have done up to this point in my life. The bass drum dictated the my heart rate and the rest of my body wanted desperately to follow.

Juri’s vocals were on par with the drumming. In short. It is the best vocal performance I have ever seen him give, seeing as it was the final show in the Arkhelism Live tour, I am willing to bet it was truly his best performance EVER. I have been to all but 2 of DELUHI’s bigger tour finals and I have seen the DVD of at least one of those that I missed. Juri hit notes I never knew he could and held them. He was approaching Daniel Heiman heights at one or two points. Yes he was pushing his voice to the limits. The passion on his face while he was singing showed he was at his max, but it held. and it held well. His screams to were more varied than I have ever heard. Any points that sounded like recording tricks or mixes on the CD he actually screamed. I doubt he would have explored the extremities of his voice this well had it not been for the solo project, as there were more than a few times where he sounded amazing but nothing like DELUHI. No recording could ever capture it. No report could ever truly describe it.

“they could not only harmonise their screams, but hold the harmony while they varied their pitch…”

Juri was not alone in the vocal onslaught however. #14 was my favourite surprise of the show. He had a deeper more traditional hardcore scream than Juri and he does not come from a big band with a large pack of fans that need to be pleased. He had a more  brutal hardcore edge that I liked about the Arkhelism CD the first time I heard it. He made it proper metal. My metal. Having him there also created something that I had never seen performed successfully in a Japanese band before (and very few international ones do it well at that)… The scream harmony. Juri and #14 Their different tones and professional control of their screams mean they could not only harmonise their screams, but hold the harmony while they varied their pitch. I doubt this is anything new but It was the first time I have seen it executed this well live while still retaining all the passion and energy that comes with the one off live experience. I also like # 14 a little more because he seemed to be singling out, making eye contact and showing the horns to all the actual metal fans in the audience (myself included). My domo-kun shirt didn’t scream metal-head but all warriors of steel know who their true brothers and sisters are.

Guitars and bass were support. They were not bad, Not at all, but Tatsuaki and Yushi were not quite big band skill level. Not yet. but there was precision and professionalism which counted for a whole lot. I felt the guitar was probably the weakest link but despite that he never once let the music down. Because the drums were in the driving seat and they were perfect you could overlook the places where the guitars were just not Leda. If he was, it might have been too much awesome in one place though. As it is, It took more strength and willpower to hold back storm than I knew I had.

If Leda was there and on par with Sujk and Juri, I would have had no choice but to release the beast. Sadly the crowd was not one that would understand, nor one that would be capable of sustaining a pit to match the power of the music. The venue was also laid out in a way that promoted herd mentality synchronised actions that plague VK (it’s ok to be different as long as everyone is the same different at the same time). I daresay though, even if there was a mosh to be had, there was not enough actual space to get fluid movement. It’s OK though, I have stored the energy up and will unleash it to ARCH ENEMY at Yokohama Blitz this Saturday. Blitz indeed.
Yes… Arkhelism Live.

“Yo from Matenrou Opera made a guest appearance and he brought with him his 6 string bass”

The real treats came with the encore. As they usually do. Those that care (and many do for some reason) will be pleased to know that Juri got a cake for his birthday. Yes that is a big deal to many of the online fans it seems. More important though as the man who brought it out. Yo from Matenrou Opera made a guest appearance and he brought with him his 6 string bass (with the cool LEDs on the neck) While he is no Masashi or Yu-To (That's Leda’s other name) He can still rip it um pretty damn well. With him on stage they tore up a cover of “Battery” by Metallica. This was epic on many levels. Firstly, as Juri explained before they played. It is a very famous song, but not everyone in the room that night would know it. I love it when VK artists show their true colours and I love it more then their rabid fans are taken by surprise. Which is what happened. Battery being Battery, every metalhead in the room was psyched while the hyenas looked desperately to the stage for directions on how to wiggle their fingers. Mainly however, it was a testament to Sujk’s drumming. because even with Juri’s amazing voice. He is no James Hetfield. Sujk however would have made Lars Ulrich jump out of his skin. Yes. He is that good a drummer. He just never got to show it until DELUHI broke up.

Which is why I am stoked. Yes the show marked the end of the lives associated with Sujk’s solo project. While there may be more in the works it wont be here for a while and the band will likely be different. But there will be more lives. Leda has announced his solo project which should be equally amazing. Who knows. Maybe Juri has something in the pipe of his own as well. DELUHI may be no more but the talent, power and sheer awesome that they brought to music will continue.

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