Welcome Back: Coldrain

We first spoke with Coldrain at the beginning of 2015, as their campaign to take rowdy Japanese music to the global masses began to gain momentum.

Nearly a year later, they are releasing an explosive new album, Vena, as the Japanese scene in general takes great strides towards conquering the planet: whether it’s Crossfaith, Babymetal or his own increasingly popular crew, frontman Masato David Hayakawa is thrilled to see his homeland’s reputation blossom.

“I think it took a while for our style of music and whatever scene is growing right now to really take off,” says vocalist Masato David Hayakawa. “But it’s great to see kids now getting into new material and music from us and Crossfaith, and Crystal Lake, who are another great band that have just signed a record deal. It feels like, for the first time, that people from outside of Japan are excited about albums from Japanese bands and are bringing that hype. Hopefully people will now know Japan can play heavy rock music and that we do have that ability.”

Although Masato is proud to represent his country and culture in metal, he’s also looking at a bigger picture: one where Coldrain aren’t just a great Japanese band, but a great band full stop. “I think the point is that there are bands from the US and the UK and when you watch them on YouTube or whatever, you don’t immediately know where they’re from because we’re all being influenced by the same great music,” he states. “Bands might throw a little bit of their own culture in there, but if we do anything then we want to show that you can come from a remote place and still just play the music you love.

“We don’t have to be like Babymetal or The Mad Capsule Markets and sing in Japanese. It’s all about thinking that music isn’t Japanese or American or European – it’s worldwide.”

And to prove that point, Coldrain have enlisted the vocal talents of Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix on new album highlight Runaway. “We grew up listening to P-Roach,” smiles Masato. “We got to tour with them and so far everything about our relationship with them has been a dream come true. One day Jacoby texted me to say, ‘If you ever need a guest vocalist…’ and I don’t know if he was joking or not, but I took that text seriously and took advantage of it!”

Much like Papa Roach when they first came to the UK, there’s real excitement surrounding Coldrain. It’s not too much to imagine they could be filling big venues in the UK soon.

“I guess we have an advantage that we’ve been doing this for so long,” Masato tells us. “I mean, this is the first record that’s going to get a full UK release. So people are aware of us but at the same time maybe don’t quite know what to expect. It’s not too much for us to dream that we might make a big impact there. I know we’d all certainly love to do that.”

With an album like Vena firmly planted in their collective back pocket, that dream is going to become a reality very soon for Masato and his bandmates.

*Vena* is out now via VAP/Hopeless

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.