Crossfaith @ Tokyo Zepp (Sept. 23rd, 2015)

Electro-metalocalypse
Live Report @ Tokyo Zepp 2015.09.23

Six months on from their last huge show at Studio Coast, Crossfaith are back in Tokyo and playing to an audience of 2300 for the final of their three-date “Xeno” album tour. The new album dropped only a few days ago and whilst the initial reaction to it has been mixed, it’s with a familiar sense of anticipation that we wait for the seemingly interminable 15-minute disco-countdown to end so we can see how these songs go over live. It’s perhaps still too soon to measure the success of the slight change in direction the album has taken, but Crossfaith have always been a band whose reputation for ballistic live shows precedes them, and this 90 minute show does not fail to confirm why these guys are garnering so much interest.

CrossfaithThe show begins with “System X” and the image of the album’s AI character talking to the audience via a massive LED screen covering the back wall of the stage. Throughout the show, this screen acts as an ever-changing atmospheric backdrop to the musical onslaught taking place beneath it. Raised up on a tier at the rear of the stage DJ Teru and drummer Tatsu hold down the chasm-deep breakdowns and beastly drumming that power through the set. Not that Teru can stay confined to his decks for the whole of the show. CrossfaithWhen he’s not behind his rig, he’s perching on it, or running around the stage below screaming backing vocals with the rest of the band. Tatsu, meanwhile, regularly manages to steal the spotlight with drumming so intense it seems impossible for a man of his size to produce. Ken and Hiro, meanwhile, hold down the front in their own characteristic manners; Ken working the audience into circle pits and walls of death, while Hiro is a writhing thrash of hair and uncontained energy. Support guitarist Tama, however, takes a quieter back seat and dutifully puts his leg up on his podium and rocks out without drawing too much attention to himself.

CrossfaithCrossfaith follow their opening with two more songs from the new album, and pepper the rest of the set with more songs from “Xeno”. There’s a definite change in style evident in the new songs, but mixed up with Crossfaith’s live energy, and whatever booze seems to be propping up the on-stage bar, the songs come over heavier and more danceable. Crossfaith chose their party tunes from “Xeno”, but the show overall provides a retrospective of the band’s 9-year output, with songs from “The Artificial Theory For The Dramatic Beauty” to the band’s “Madness” EP from earlier in 2015 all making an appearance. Interestingly, the show takes some of the songs off into a different direction. Followed up by “Photosphere” and “We Are The Future”, “Blue” is given a complete overhaul which not only highlights a thrashier side to this early song in Crossfaith’s career, but also embraces the electro element which makes the band so unique; a sound which was less vast and kickass in their first album than the instantly recognisable tones of “Zion” and “Apocalyze”. Cutting back to 2013’s “Apocalyze”, a killer dubstep opening to “We Are The Future” sucks everyone into an electro-pocalytpic black hole of sound that sets the audience off into frenzy before the song-proper even gets going.

CrossfaithMid-way though the set, the stage goes totally dark and a curtain of rain washes over the screen to reveal the silhouette of a certain long-absent guitarist striding towards the camera, and when the lights come back guitarist Kazuki is standing on his podium, guitar in hand, and is greeted by a roar of welcome from the crowd. The axe-man has been on leave from shows for most of this year recovering from a cerebral hemorrhage, and the reaction from the crowd proves that he has been much missed. There’s not long to bask in the welcome, though, as Kazuki gets straight back into the groove with “Monolith”. The rest of the set is full of live bangers, including the goosebump-inducing “Scarlett”, replete with mirror-ball and snow; and a ferocious closer in “Countdown to Hell” that shows Kazuki is firing on all cylinders, even if it does mean he has to dial back on the head banging.

CrossfaithAfter a brief few minutes off-stage, Tatsu begins the encore by delivering yet another bonkers drum solo, and then Teru comes back on and starts a rave-up. Ken cruises on stage waving a Japanese Crossfaith flag and gets the crowd going with callbacks, whilst Kazuki blasts the crowd with a smoke gun, and two green Jaegermeister dinghies are chucked into the crowd so Tatsu and Hiro can launch themselves off for a little sail around the people-sea of Zepp.

“Omen” and “Leviathan” close out the night, with Tama returning to the stage as the sixth member of Crossfaith for the final song. The two tunes make for a fitting end: “Omen” is the cover that broke the band to wider overseas audience, Crossfaithand “Leviathan” a song that encapsulates the band, blending together everything they do at their best – killer live atmospherics, metal and electro wickedly combined, and a good dose of musical chills.

SETLIST

System X/ Xeno/ Raise Your Voice/ Jaegerbomb/ Eclipse/ Blue/ Photosphere/ We Are The Future/ Monolith/ Devil’s Party/ Ghost in the Mirror/ Scarlett/ Madness/ Caribbean Snake Code/ Countdown to Hell

ENCORE

Omen/ Leviathan

Photos by Julen Esteban-Pretel for Crossfaith.

Share on Facebook

Information

Photos:
Julen Esteban-Pretel
julen@smashingmag.net
Web Site / Facebook / twitter
Julen Esteban-Pretel's Works

Text:
Laura Cooper
laura@smashingmag.net
Web Site / Twitter / Facebook
Laura Cooper's Works

Write a comment