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X Japan - We Are X album review

The X factor

Cover art for X Japan - We Are X album

The barely believable story that has fuelled the cult success of rockers X Japan in their own country has often dwarfed their music. But this soundtrack to their new over-the-topumentary redresses the balance.

Shorn of the larger-than-life visuals and the captivating enigma that is mainman Yoshiki, X Japan’s music is revealed as a studied, intense amalgam of late-70s/early-80s hard rock. Kiss are clearly a primary force, refocused with elements of Mötley Crüe and Hanoi Rocks, a healthy dose of prog, a frisson of LA hair metal and a soupçon of Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

So there’s plenty to hold your attention while you’re in the moment, although not much of it lingers long afterwards. This may be down to the Japanese language not really being geared to provide the kind of melodic or vocal hooks that Western ears seem to need, which could be a problem in X Japan’s bid for global domination.