GUARDIAN HACKER is a female-fronted Japanese alternative/metal band formed in 2002. The band, currently on hiatus, is Asami (vocals), Takashi (guitars, programming), Nov (guitars, vocals), Koji (bass) and Rossy (drums). CD Universe says this band is “Spirit of Heavy rock, heavy Metal, EMO and Gothic, Japanese Rock band of the woman vocal.” Yes, they are something like that. GUARDIAN HACKER, in sound, is very much like Japan’s RAMPANT. I discovered both bands, among others, on the now defunct JapanFiles.com. The biggest difference between these two bands is that, unlike Hiroko (of RAMPANT), Asami sings almost entirely in heavily-accented English. Well, she does through their second full album FLARE IN REVERBERATION (2009). However, on their latest album, The Lastman Standing (2011), she incorporates more Japanese vocals. And, with crunchier guitar riffs on that same album, GUARDIAN HACKER sounds more like DAZZLE VISION. But fans of Japanese bands like 6ft. Down or ANEMONE is HERE won’t be disappointed.
My introduction to GUARDIAN HACKER was with their second album FLARE IN REVERBERATION (2009) which I purchased via JapanFiles.com. After a few spins, I downloaded the two mini-albums that preceded the album, A New Scenery (2006) and Burn Me Away (2008), even though 2 tracks from each of the 4 track releases (“A New Scenery” and “The Thing Changing You” from the first, “Burn Me Away” and “End Up” from the second) were re-recorded for FLARE IN REVERBERATION. All are excellent alt-metal rockers. The rest of the album is filled with, mostly, ballads, both soft (“Over”, “Life Of Human”) and harder (“Live A Lie”, “M.A.D.”). All good ballads, but “Out of Breath” is a cool riff-heavy rocker.
GUARDIAN HACKER‘s latest album, The Lastman Standing (2011), their third and final before going on hiatus, is my favorite. I prefer this one over the previous one mostly because of Asami’s Japanese vocals. Those tracks are some of this band’s best, like “Everlasting” and “Aishitai (愛したい)”. But, “Tsuki no Nai Sora (月のない空)” and “Aroma” (re-recorded from their first album) are good, too. The comparison to DAZZLE VISON is most evident on tracks like the first single “Don’t Look Back”, “Still Believing” and “The End of Twilight”, which even incorporate some harsh (male) vocals.
Watch the videos for “Burn Me Away” and “Don’t Look Back” here:
2005.03.27 – On one’s own authority [Album]
2006.11.03 – A new scenery [Mini-Album]
2008.02.02 – Burn me away [Mini-Album]
2009.08.21 – FLARE IN REVERBERATION [Album]
2011.11.09 – The Lastman Standing [Album]