Back in 1992 a group in Japan formed known as Malice Mizer by three men; Tetsu, Kozi and Mana. From 1992 to 2001 Malice Mizer would dominate Japan’s airwaves with their mix of Gothic and classical style. Their costumes, set pieces, and themes all influenced by goth and classical style of the late Victorian period of France. Though J-Rock (short for Japanese Rock) started in the 70s it wasn’t till around 1998 and onward, the otaku community along with anime made J-Rock a sensation that took parts of the US. Though many probably remember bands like The Pillows, L’Arc-en-Ciel which composed themes to popular anime shows, preforming themes for such anime like FLCL.
Now though Malice Mizer did start with three men, I’m going to openly say its the only band on this planet where I followed a good portion of their career. So much so that I know they had three lead singer changes. Besides Tetsu, you also had Gact and Klaha. Those three lead singers each have a very distinct style in their tone. I will go through each of these “eras” of Malice Mizer to explain why I believe out of the three men whom have been the voice of Malice Mizer, why only ONE of them will always be in my eyes the definitive lead singer.
If we’re going to do a retrospective on Malice Mizer, we must analyze the first lead singer that they showcased. Malice Mizer’s Tetsu “era” in my opinion definitely had the stereotypical feel for starter rock band. Meaning that they had their roots (themed costumes, themed songs and themed albums), but their lead mouthpiece sounded very high pitched at times making the sound a little unbearable to listen to. Tetsu sounds more grainy as if he was going through puberty.
As evidenced by the video above, Tetsu’s voice is very squeaky. As a fan looking back this was Malice Mizer at their worse. Tetsu would hold position of lead singer for a few years, before being dropped from the group.
Gackt was the lead singer in between the two eras of Malice Mizer, the beginning and the end. During this time period Malice Mizer would hit its stride, and become hugely popular both in Japan and in America among the otaku community from 1995-1999. I could essentially say this is where Malice Mizer found their definitive singer. His voice was deep, and fit the theme that the band was going for (which was gothic-rock). His voice wasn’t the only thing that was gaining attention. Sure there were few whom believe Kozi and Mana as attractive, but none as attractive as Gackt. He was the Justin Timberlake of the group garnering many women to swoon at his very appearance.
As one can see the sound of Malice Mizer is more fluid and flowing. Gackt’s voice actually fits what the band was trying to portray and caused the popularity of the band to rise. As years went by, the band would again disband to find a new singer, with Gackt going solo. This marked the era of Klaha and the eventual demise of Malice Mizer.
When Gackt departed the drummer, Kami who have been a staple of the band from the start, died. This was just the start of Malice Mizer’s demise. Klaha, though talented, was also what I believe a cause of their demise from popularity. Sure he was deep in his voice, and also fit the theme of gothic-rock that this J-Rock band had been playing for years. Thing is though he was too deep and dark which drove many, including myself, away from Malice Mizer.
With a heavier sound, came a more serious tone for Malice Mizer. Though they honed their craft well, Malice Mizer’s career was stagnant. This was thanks in part of rumors about the band (manly Kozi, and Mana) feeling that the Kami would never be replaced. Thanks to these rumored lingering feeling, the band decided to go on hiatus only to reunite a few times before they all retired.
Regardless of how they went out, and why one can hear why I believe Gackt was the signature sound that Malice Mizer should of stuck with till the end. The Tetsu era was too gridy with squeaky vocals that didn’t match what Malize Mizer should sound like, and Klaha brought a sound too heavy for a wider audience. Gackt both fit the mold of gothic, but had the ability to inject some life into the dreary themes, making it more popular then intended.