High and Mighty Color

High and Mighty Color started as a Metallica cover band and worked their way up to fame until they broke apart in 2010. Honestly, I didn’t know Japan had Metallica cover bands. The band started in Okinawa like many other bands. American and Japanese music traditions mix and swirl on that island apparently. (Perhaps to Japan’s misfortune?)

I’m just kidding. High and Mighty Color was a really good band.  I was sorry to see them break up. The lead vocalist, Makii, had an ethereal angelic voice that contrasted beautifully with the raw metal instrumentals and vocals of the band and Yuusuke.  I don’t much care for scream-metal but this band had a nice balance on their albums. The way Makii, and later her replacement Halca, sang nicely offset what I normally find annoying about metal bands.

The band does remind me of Metallica with their rhythms and instrumentals. They are heavy but don’t have the same oppressive sounds that Metallic is famous for. The instrumentals often sound happy or hopeful. Their sound is complex and doesn’t lean heavily on the bass section.  They sound very American compared to other groups like Home Made Kazoku. The lyrics simply sound great. Mind you I understand very, very little Japanese. Luckily you don’t have to understand much of what is being said to enjoy music.

High and Mighty Color produced many anime themes, which was how I discovered them. Among them are Bleach‘s 3rd opening “Ichirin no Hana,” “Style: Get Glory in This Hand” for Death Note: The Last Name, and “Pride” for Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny ( Gundam always has such long titles). Not all their tunes are excellent. Some of them slice my ears with their screaming-metalness when Makii is conspicuously absent from them.  But by and large their music is good.

As I mentioned the band broke up in 2010. Makii left in 2008 after her marriage to other singer. She left the band on good terms. Halca came on board for just 1 album before the band released their farewell single: “Re:ache.”

It’s unfortunate the band broke up. They had a unique metal-rock sound that nicely mixed Japanese musical language and American instrumentals. The female vocalist could join the male’s gravel when needed or float on light wings. High and Mighty Color, if nothing else, will be remembered for their theme song for Bleach.