Tag Archives: hiatus

in memoriam

Today I remember how in 2008 I was in desperate need to satiate my jrock fix. My favorite band L’Arc~en~Ciel has just announced their hiatus and I needed a new band to fill in the void. While scouring the jrock section of the Ongaku Society forums, I stumbled upon the thread for this band that was described as “sounding like the old Dir en Grey”. I took a chance with one of the recommend songs, Grudge. I failed to note the Dir en Grey influence but my interest was indeed piqued. I listened to another song then another. I watched a clip of them performing Tatoeba kimi ga shindara live and was amazed how the vocalist seemed to sound even better than the recording. Then I switched to their performance of Screen during the Spiral Staircase tour. The lights were low, the sound even lower. The vocalist started his verse. The music built up. The vocalist hit a high note as the guitars screamed. The lights went up and I knew right then and there they would have me for life.

I remember listening to Squall for the first time and having goose bumps. I remember reading the lyrics for in vain and how I laughed when I got to the part with all the Xs.

I remembering finally being able to watch the complete performances from Spiral Staircase and being mesmerized. I’ve watched my favorite parts over and over again. Sometimes, I would play it in the background as I write. More often that not, I end up setting aside whatever it is that I’m doing and just glue my eyes to the screen. I have seen numerous recorded performances since then but those from Spiral Staircase would always be my favorite. If only Hizumi’s voice didn’t catch a snag during Squall then everything would have been perfect.

I remember writing my second attempt at writing a formal album review right after I got my own copy of their third full-length album, Redeemer and how it became the first of the many articles I would soon dedicate to them. I remember raving about MONSTERS and how my review found a kindred soul in another blogger’s own assessment of the album. That became my initiation to a network of bloggers whose common passion was jrock. I remember being dead-tired because it’s already past 3am and I’ve been analyzing data the whole day but then I saw gacktpause has just posted his live report. Naturally, the Sandman had to wait. I remember spending too much time backtracking notafanboy’s posts for anything and everything about D’espairsRay. I discovered her journal in my search for translated interviews. Lucky for me, her journal turned out to be a treasure throve for translations AND live reports.

And then there was that one time I messaged CDJapan on Twitter regarding the release date of MONSTERS. Lo and behold, I got a tweet from the band’s official account. The message was rather snobbish and it really bothered me. Toshi of CDJapan assured me that it was all just a translation error. Nevertheless, I messaged @despairs back asking whether it was just a bad day for them hence the rudeness. Whoever was managing it answered back with an apology and came up with the ludicrous excuse that s/he forgot to add a smiley to the first message. Yeah right. Like that would change anything.

I remember asking my friends if it’s sane to pay a huge chunk of my salary for a DVD. Every single one of them was against it. “But it was the 10th Anniversary live!”, I counter-opinioned. Plus it comes a shirt. A shirt! And a mini-photo book. And cellphone strap. And did I already mention that it comes with a shirt? Nevermind if the design looked like rainbow vomit safari.

Then one afternoon, I got shaken to the core when I read the news that D’espairsRay would be on an indefinite hiatus. The announcement said that Hizumi was very sick. I remember immediately tearing up. Our office manager, whose cubicle was near mine, saw me crying. I can still vividly recall the way her forehead crumpled as she tried to comprehend that I’m crying because  some strange band would be pausing activities. I remember that it suddenly rained very hard that afternoon and I remarked that the weather was sympathizing with me. The whole afternoon saw me in a daze. When I got home, I immediately put into practice everything I know about google-fu in search for a cure. I ended up not getting any sleep that night. I pored over dozens of articles and speed-read numerous reports. Then I condensed them into 1 post. The next day, I was so disoriented I ended up accidentally locking myself up all alone in the office. I literally had to wait for someone to come in the morning to set me free.

The day after my post got online, I noticed an unusual activity in my blog. Visitors were pouring in like mad. By mid-afternoon, the numbers have reached 3 digits already and that’s just for a single post. Come midnight, the count had exceeded the number of visitors I could ever hope for in a quarter of a year. I then found out that someone mentioned my post at the largest D’espairsRay community on Livejournal. I checked the thread and was rendered speechless. Two members of the community have translated parts of my post into Japanese and sent them to any available channel to D’espairsRay. Not a few mentioned that they too would do their own research. Everyone was thinking how to best show our support for the band during these trying times. The show of solidarity was just so overwhelming. At that moment, I was at my very proudest for being part of such a dedicated and unselfish fanbase.

During the hiatus, I did not go in search of another band to dedicate my attention. On the contrary, I sought the company of other mania. Twitter has become my refuge. And in it, I found people who share my longing. Together, we reminisce. As one, we look forward to Hizumi’s swift recovery and D’espairsRay’s triumphant return. I also found another proof that indeed, the world is flat. Sometimes, I do get bewildered when I realize that the people whom I’m discussing with the merits of Karyu’s method of baking a cake are scattered all over the globe.

Finally, I remember that just a few hours ago as I was about to attend an important project briefing, I saw a tweet bearing bad news. It contained just two sentences, 3 words and yet it felt that like a ton of bricks when it hit me. I went thru my meeting. Had dinner with a colleague. Did my grocery. Navigated thru the Metro traffic.When I got home, I dumped my things. Slumped on my bed and just let go of the tears I’ve been holding up for hours. There’s no triumphant return to expect. D’espairsRay is no longer coming back.

It’s again past 3am. D’espairsRay made me ditch the Sandman one more time. But then again, this could also be the very last. The last time I’m losing sleep for them, the last time I’m writing a post about them. To paraphrase Neruda, though this be the last pain that they made me suffer and these the last verses that I write for them. And yet, just as it was said in the very same poem: my soul is not satisfied that it had lost them.

Every fiber in me refuses to acknowledge that this is the end. I vow then to remember this day. I will recall all that was said and all the emotions it entailed. And then I would enter Yokohama Blitz and I would rock my heart out with the crowd as we all welcome back D’espairsRay, reunited.

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The Departure of DELUHI

With the slew of announcements regarding this or that jrock band’s dissolution bombarding our newsfeeds last year, it’s not hard to imagine that perhaps someone somewhere was relentlessly listing the names of jrock bands on a mysterious notebook while shouting “SAKUJO” with all the dramatic flair he could muster.

Well, whoever he is, he has struck again.

Teru Mikami

Having followed their progress and reviewed majority of their releases last year, I note with sadness DELUHI’s latest announcement that they are going to disband.

The whole thing felt surreal on 2 accounts:

  • when the band announced their hiatus way back in October, the reason was supposed to be to “further expand the band’s potential”. Leda even promised that when they return, “all of the members will have equal strength”.
  • secondly, the announcement was made on April Fool’s Day. No one should trust the internet on April Fool’s Day.

It has already been 10 days since and the shocking statement is still up on their OHP.

DELUHI is unequivocally departing. And it sucks. Big time.

My first encounter with the band is via their song REVOLVER BLAST. To this day, it has remained one of my favorite songs and when played with Wake Up!, another DELUHI favorite, I am given my much needed dose of energy.  And energy is one description that I will always attach to DELUHI.

DELUHI

Being a relatively young band, the passion and youthful exuberance are still very much palpable in their songs and performances. Even with just 2 mini-albums under their belt, DELUHI had already exhibited so much promise and versatility. Give or take a few more years, and DELUHI could have been spectacular.

DELUHI reminds me of the how girugamesh used to be, you know, before Ryo and the crew decided to become a lil’ bit radio-friendly.  In fact, I honestly believe that their last mini-album Yggdalive could fit very well into girugamesh’s discography. It fills the gap between the brilliant self-titled girugamesh and the experimental MUSIC.

Much like girugamesh before them, DELUHI had all the potential to blaze a blistering path before them. This made it even harder to fathom why that fire fanned out this early. So far, what we know is that bassist Aggy wanted out. All the band members decided then decided to disband as  “there would be no meaning in the DELUHI they continued with”. Fair enough. All that’s left now is to wish them good luck. Who knows, perhaps someday they’ll get together again after they’ve found their way back from that unseen destination. Just as they said in their portentous last single Departure, they will ask themselves in 5 years time “Do you still have the same dream?” Then maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to hear from them again.

once more, with feelings

A thousand reasons I could give why it took this long but that would be digressing. And so without further ado, I gleefully announce that…

SOLILOQUY is back.

To all of those who contributed in giving the site some stat action despite the inactivity, thank you. Whether you really are awaiting for new posts or just stumbled upon SOLILOQUY in your quest for “Hizumi naked”, hats off still to you, dear visitors Smile

On a more serious note, this is actually the 2nd time SOLILOQUY will be revived. During the first revival, I vowed to post more often. Given the fact that the bulk of the site’s content were written around the third quarter of 2010, it’s safe to say that the objective was fulfilled. But the pressure to post as much as I can took its toll hence, the necessary break. This time around, I commit to putting more weight on quality rather than on quantity.

I do have now a lot of ideas that I’m raring to put into writing. Should they actually make it into print, please do share your thoughts with me too. And while you’re at it, how about dropping me a welcome note as well, eh?

Finally, here’s a little something to all of you Hizumi lovers out there.

HIZUMI almost naked
COME AND GET IT!

The Tipping Point* and the D’espa Mania brigade

A link to my entry regarding HIZUMI’s condition and possible treatments somehow ended up in the xxdespairsrayxx** community in Livejournal. What happens next is short of staggering.

Many said that they emailed the information to the address that came along with the official announcement. Some, if I’m not mistaken, reposted the link in their own journals. Two even went ahead and TRANSLATED A SUMMARY INTO JAPANESE before sending it out to Sword staff members and to D’espa’s Ameba account.

Wow.

This shower of support and outstanding demonstration of unity among D’espairsRay’s fans are mind-blowing. I am in high spirits in noting that not a few are also trying to help HIZUMI, even in their own little way. (The one who posted the link said she stumbled upon my entry while doing her own research).

If you, the reader, have some information that could be of some help to HIZUMI then I encourage you to share them with the community. A plan exists to compile them into one translated email to Sword.

With these in motion, we are together in hoping that the information would reach them soon. It may or may not be the answer they are looking for but at the very least, it should nudge them in the right direction. Even more so, we trust that all these efforts would convey our unwavering support and appreciation for the band.

I would like now to give thanks to these awesome people in the xxdespairsrayxx community: to owner999 for initiating the chain of events, to breadtoaster and crimson_deity for moving it forward and to everyone else who spammed forwarded the links to D’espa.

In conclusion, allow me to share an inspiring quote from one of the translators:

It’s great what fans can do together to show their passion for their favorite band, and doing this simply shows the power of uniting together to make something happen is much greater than trying to start something by yourself. Really, thank you for making your entry in the first place, and let’s hang in there together to wish Hizumi and D’espa a swift and epic return! – breadtoaster

Couldn’t have said it any better.

* the “tipping point” is a theory by Malcolm Gladwell which posits the existence of “a magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips and spread like wildfire”

** xxdespairsrayxx is for members only but I’m sure that any fan would be welcomed with open arms.

of HIZUMI’s dilemma and Steven Tyler’s incredible human machine

PART 1: HIZUMI’s dilemma

HIZUMI

“How many times did I shout your name in the storm? My voice’s drying out… I live because of you, so I believe…’close your eyes’. Therefore, this pain never heals…” – Infection, D’espairsRay

Considering the devastating news that has been released recently, the chorus of Infection seem to be a bit prophetic, won’t you agree? Here’s hoping though that the “this pain never heals” part won’t be real as well. Although come to think of it, the whole thing feels surreal. A lot, I’m sure are still in denial, but it is really of no use suppressing the truth any further: HIZUMI has vocal cord problems and as a consequence, D’espairsRay would be on an indefinite hiatus.

What makes it even more devastating is that in a span of barely a week, D’espairsRay was the THIRD to announce suspension of band activities due to the vocalist being sick:

Hearing about Jui and Isshi’s problems saddened me but it was the news about HIZUMI where I took the hardest blow. My first reaction was of course, shock. Then devastation (yes, this poor little fangirl shed some tears). Before finally, disappointment – with a tinge of indignation. But don’t mistake the latter two to be caused by the hiatus. On the contrary, I felt a little angry because it took them this long to finally go ahead and take a much needed break. THIS SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED A YEAR AND A HALF AGO, when HIZUMI’s condition was at its worst.

It was around April of last year when it was revealed that HIZUMI was having difficulties. D’espairsRay went on doing various lives and eventually released a critically-acclaimed album during the second half of this year. All seems to be well. The band is riding high on the crest of a major world tour and probably still nursing a hangover from celebrating 11 rockin’ years in the industry just a few days ago. Then suddenly- BAM! They let out that all this time HIZUMI has been suffering. “HIZUMI  has dealt with this rare throat condition for over a year, but the band’s busy touring and recording schedule hasn’t allowed him the time to fully undergo treatment,” the announcement revealed.

Let it be said that I have a higher level of respect bestowed to HIZUMI now for putting up a brave front these past few months. I won’t even attempt to fathom how difficult it must have been for him, physically and emotionally. Still, he gave it his best and I commend him for that. I salute his courage and determination but not his bullheadedness. The announcement further shared that at this point, “(they) have tried many treatments, but have not yet found one that has a high chance of success”. It went even as far as to ask fans for information regarding “promising treatment options, including those done overseas”. All of these indicate that HIZUMI’s condition is critical, even life altering. So my question now is: why the hell did they push themselves so hard?” Then again, that’s a stupid question to ask, right? Of course, they have to continue doing what they do best so everyone’s agenda can still be fulfilled. The band gets to do it for their fans while the record company gets their due. Well, bullshit. Look at to what that brought us all in. To think that they still want to continue with this year’s tour.

Odaijini, HIZUMI

If HIZUMI is really, really sick then he should take his rest as soon as possible. Not early next year as they originally want, not in a few month’s time but NOW! I mean, c’mon D’espairsRay. Please give us, your fans, more credit. Not hearing or seeing anything new from the band for a while would surely be a great void but if it would mean their well being then we would totally understand. WE’D RATHER MISS D’ESPAIRSRAY FOR A YEAR RATHER THAN TO LIVE IN CONSTANT THREAT that HIZUMI won’t be able to sing again, or that Karyu and ZERO cannot play their guitars anymore, or that TSUKASA have to let go of his drums. Bands take a hiatus for a myriad of reasons and theirs couldn’t be more valid. We get that. And we can live with that fact. Hopefully, so can D’espairsRay.

PART 2: Steven Tyler’s Incredible Human-machine

In the spirit of finding a ray of hope amidst despair, I did a bit of desk research on other singers afflicted with vocal chord related concerns.

Crude joke as it may be, HIZUMI, Jui and Isshi are actually in good company. My research has showed me that even the legendary Frank Sinatra had his career almost in jeopardy when his vocal chords were diagnosed with hemorrhaging.  Dame Julie Andrews of the Sound of Music fame is also another example. Her vocal chords were shattered because of a botched-up surgery to remove non-cancerous nodules. Examples that the jrockers would perhaps be more comfortable being associated with include Matt Tuck, vocalist of Welsh Metalcore quartet Bullet for My Valentine, singer Tony Kakko of Finnish melodic metallers SONATA ARCTICA and finally, THE Steven Tyler of legendary band Aerosmith.

As the name of HIZUMI’s actual condition is yet to be revealed, it’s hard to assume which of the abovementioned singers’ ordeal would match his. Based on their experiences though, HIZUMI best hope lies on a Dr. Steven Zeitels of the Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is associated with two ‘revolutionary’ treatments on vocal chord related conditions: polyethylene glycol injection and state of the art laser technology.

The first option, polyethylene glycol injection is still experimental so I’d rather focus on the high tech laser surgery.

In the midst of their “Rockin’ the Joint” tour, Aerosmith was forced to cancel the 20 remaining concerts as Steven Tyler was downed by vocal injury. To get back into the action quickly, he agreed to take part in an experimental surgery. Based on the report by the Wall Street Journal (as reposted by Aero Force One, an Aerosmith dedicated site),

“(Tyler) was treated with a pulsed potassium-titanyl-phosphate (KTP) laser, the latest and most promising procedure to come out of Massachusetts General’s voice center. Quick bursts of green laser light, lasting just 15 milliseconds, zapped Tyler’s broken blood vessel, sealing the vessel without touching it.

The procedure is sounding a positive note for more successful and resilient recoveries from vocal disorders like Tyler’s. It has saved the voices of at least 14 other singers since 2005, including the opera star Carol Vaness.”

The whole procedure was documented in a National Geographic show called Incredible Human Machine.

Below is an interview with Dr. Zeitels. Annoying female newscaster aside, it is very informative. I hope it could be of some help to HIZUMI, Isshi and Jui.