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Rocksmith’s Japanese Stars

Tom “Rock” Smith on the downloadable J-rock gods in Ubisoft’s game

Golden Bomber

With Babymetal’s arrival to the international consciousness this year, Japanese music is – for better or worse – once again in the public eye. But before that trio of chocolate-wanting headbangers become the media’s ambassadors for all things Japanese pop-rock, Ubisoft’s Rocksmith 2014 managed to capture a much less polarised portrayal of the scene. As part of their DLC catalogue for the guitar ‘game’ are six of quite possibly the biggest names in rock from Japan, each covering a very different base.

For lovers of guitar legends, look no further than Tomoyasu Hotei. He has been widely credited as the man that made domestic guitar music in Japan popular in the 80s, managing to show the youth of his country that they too could contend with the likes of David Bowie, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. Included as DLC are two of his classics from the 90s, ‘Thrill’ and ‘Bambina’, as well as his biggest claim to fame in the west ‘Battle Without Honor or Humanity’ – the infamous theme to Kill Bill, and shamelessly ripped off in action movies ever since.

While Hotei has the classic rock sound nailed, ONE OK ROCK are very much owners of the modern fist-pumping pop-rock anthem. Singing in silky smooth Japanese and English, sprinkled with the odd screamy chorus, ONE OK ROCK are combination of years of great western and eastern rock influences that it’s almost impossible to guess they’re Japanese from the audio alone. Sing-along track ‘LIAR’ is included, as well as the headbang-a-thon that is ‘NO SCARED’ – check out its video below.

Rock is never complete without a large slice of cheese, and before Babymetal were causing all-types of metal-infused chaos, another band from Japan were grabbing attention for their mad live antics; Golden Bomber. While they may look like any other bunch of hosts at closing time in Kabukicho, they managed to capture the hearts (and karaoke clubs) of Japan with their party track ‘Memeshikute’. Lucky for you lot, it’s now available as DLC along with two of their more recent songs ‘Death Mental’ and ‘Earphone’.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep J-rock fans happy, or to offer a crash-course in the genre (and it is a genre, you’ll find ‘J-rock’ sections in music shops across Japan), there are a further three artists supplying DLC; B’z, one of the biggest selling artists in Japan with 46 consecutive number one singles and the first Asian band included in the Hollywood RockWalk; jazzy folk guitarist Kazuyoshi Saito, a man behind a number of famous songs composed for some of Japan’s biggest pop acts; and 9mm Parabellum Bullet, heroes of Japan’s ferocious indie scene.

All tracks are available now from Rocksmith 2014’s in-game store as single downloaded, or as bundles. Keen music lovers can also purchase a number of tracks from the iTunes UK store too (though those won’t work in-game, obviously).

Rocksmith 2014 is available now in the UK on PS3, Xbox and PC DVD.

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