The hotly anticipated lineup for Soundwave 2015 began to unfurl last week. Instead of starting the roll-out with major headliners, the earliest announcements put five lesser-known acts in the spotlight. First cab off the rank was Japanese metalcore five-piece Coldrain.
Coldrain might be an unknown name to Australian audiences, but that’s hardly the case in their homeland. Formed in 2007, the band is a veritable linchpin of the Japanese metal scene. In fact, their success has had an important effect on the country’s growing heavy music scene.
“Every year it gets a little bigger,” says Coldrain singer Masato David Hayakawa. “There’s more bands, more younger bands and more kids playing in bands covering those songs, so it’s getting wider and wider. It’s cool to see kids that are starting to make their original stuff, trying to sound like us. That’s how genres are built.”
A few other Japanese metal acts, such as Crossfaith and Pay Money To My Pain, have made an impact during the last decade, but Coldrain didn’t start out surrounded by a thriving metal scene. The band members’ initial exposure to this style of music came via the late ’90s and early-’00s nu-metal boom.
“I got into listening to heavy stuff when I listened to Limp Bizkit, Korn, Linkin Park, Slipknot,” says Masato. “When we started out we were all big nu-metal fans.”
These days, Coldrain’s combination of heavy riffs, aggressive screams and cunning chorus melodies warrants comparisons to metalcore heavyweights like Asking Alexandria and Bring Me The Horizon. However, Masato says the melodic leaning stems from the Japanese pop music they listened to growing up.
“We always wanted the melodic aspect plus the heavy music. It’s cool because I think the Japanese influence towards pop music and the Western-style heavy music is what builds our sound.
“The Japanese oriental style is somewhere buried there,” he adds. “It’s not something that’s going to be standing out, but it’s definitely something that’s put in there at a small dose, [so] that people will feel a difference from Western bands.”
Although Coldrain’s third LP The Revelation was released in Australia just last week, it came out in Japan over a year ago (where it debuted at number seven on the national charts). Recorded with American producer David Bendeth – who’s known for his work with Paramore, Underoath and Papa Roach – it’s no accident that this album is bringing Coldrain international recognition.
“When we recorded The Revelation, [Bendeth] was like, ‘This record’s definitely going to be released worldwide.’ He said he was going to be ‘thinking about the world, you guys can think about the Japanese market. That’s what’s going to make the new sound.’ We did definitely aim for the world and I can’t wait to see how everyone reacts to the record in Australia.”
Aiming for broad accessibility encouraged the band to decorate the arrangements with synth lines and string parts for the first time. They weren’t seeking to make an altogether nicer album, however.
“David tried to make the record sound darker,” says Masato. “He said, after listening to the tracks and after listening to the lyrics, he always aimed for us to sound darker. So it turned out a little darker than what we originally went for and I think it sounds cool.”
Coldrain’s early announcement on the Soundwave lineup gives Australian listeners plenty of time to get acquainted with The Revelation before next year’s festival tour. To say that Masato is enthusiastic about their inaugural trip Down Under would be a major understatement.
“We can’t wait to be there. So, so looking forward to it. I can’t wait until 2015 already.”