Review by Lydia Fitzer with Photos courtesy of EdenCancan

What is Hyper Japan, you ask? It’s a festival dedicated to representing the culture of todays’ Japan, all the way from food to fabrics. If you haven’t been yet, you definitely should. For me it’s one of the most enjoyable weekends of the year (and I promise that’s not just because I acquired about a thousand free sachets of wasabi). The next Hyper Japan is 16-18th November 2018 – book your tickets! Pro tip: Also book tickets for the Sake Experience. You won’t regret it.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that despite Hyper Japan’s manifold attractions, the main reason my friends and I decided to go this year was that The Sixth Lie were performing on the Hyper Live! Stage. The stage runs all weekend with a variety of acts, each one a visual and auditory feast. I wish I could have reviewed all of them, but if that were the case I’d be sat typing at my computer for the next month. If I was going to review any act, it would always have been The Sixth Lie. I’ve been dying for the chance to review them ever since I started writing reviews. Their music is one of my favourite subjects and I want to give them as much support as possible. (大ファンです!イングランドに戻ってください。)

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They describe their sound as electronic ‘future’ rock. Their tracks use a kind of alternative dance beat that makes me want to headbang while simultaneously jumping, hands in the air, clapping and stamping my feet. At times they use soaring riffs which, paired with ethereal vocals, make you feel like flying. See ‘Planet in your Eyes’ for more information. At other times they use an incessant beat that’s somehow both metal and club dance. Their sound is incredibly layered – it becomes large, almost as if you could struggle to absorb it with five senses alone. This is characteristic of their artistic vision – the name ‘The Sixth Lie’ is derived from Debussy’s idea that art is the most beautiful of lies, and that they want to create a lie too beautiful to be experienced through five senses alone.

I initially encountered The Sixth Lie when they performed at Hyper Japan last year, and seeing them live for the first time felt a lot like falling in love. Do you remember the first band you were ever truly passionate about? The one that lit a fire inside you? Maybe you were a teenager at the time, and you’re remembering that gorgeous feeling from a place of distant adulthood. The Sixth Lie will make you feel that way again.

I don’t know exactly why The Sixth Lie affect their fans the way they do. I’d imagine it has a lot to do with their character on stage. The Sixth Lie show so much personality and heart that it’s difficult not to throw your weight behind them. Ray (drums) is so adorable, Reiji (guitar) is so caught in the moment, Arata (vocals) pairs an incredible purity of voice with the most attractive charisma. It helps that all three of them are some of the most handsome men you’ve ever seen. Their beauty is a truth that’s universally acknowledged. Their sign for the post-show Meet and Greet featured a vital appendage: “Warning! Hot men – Don’t faint”. They’re also part of their own music in a way that’s only possible with bands that write their own songs. Reiji writes and arranges most of the music as well as a good deal of the lyrics, Ray writes a lot of the lyrics, and Arata has written some of the music too. They release sparks of magic on every stage.

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“We are The Sixth Lie from Japan!” They hit the stage with maximum force and an infectious beat – the whole crowd punched the air for the intro of ‘Another Dimension’. This is from their 2017 album ‘Differential’, and has all of their signature qualities. Heavy rock and electro form a perfect marriage with Arata’s caramel vocal, although his mic was too quiet at the beginning of the set. Even so, every audience member was utterly taken in. I could barely take notes – the compulsion to dance was too strong!

Reiji came to the edge of the stage to shrieks of appreciation. His face is that of stoic magnificence. Long-time fans were particularly appreciative. Historically Reiji didn’t engage quite as much with the crowd – he actually didn’t need to, as the ex-bassist Hiroto provided a lot of hype on stage. Since Hiroto left the group, though, it’s been wonderful to watch the remaining band members blossom. Ray is more bouncy and Arata has grown into the ideal frontman, filling the stage easily, soaking up the crowds’ energy and projecting it back to them tenfold. The difference in Reiji’s performance style is the most important for me, though. In the past he tended to get lost in the music almost to the point where nothing else existed. Now he seems to be more aware of the crowd, which gives the crowd a better chance to appreciate him. Hiroto’s absence has brought the rest of the band more sharply into focus. They’ve grown to fill any gap he may have left and beyond. The Sixth Lie are stronger, more complete, more ready than ever to conquer the heart of the music industry.

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For their second song they played ‘Wake Up Your Fire’. Arata came to the front of the stage and gave just enough fan service to start an inferno. (He really is a beautiful man.) Soon came the immortal opening line: “Everybody jump, jump!” Everybody did – even Ray almost bounced right out of his seat. This track has an enormous sound and they filled every note of it seamlessly. Arata hurled across the stage, Reiji pirouetted like a Catherine Wheel. The audience were delirious with euphoria. It’s especially powerful that this song was performed so perfectly, as it makes a clear statement that The Sixth Lie are not hindered by the loss of Hiroto. For context, ‘Wake Up Your Fire’ was always used to show off Hiroto’s bass skills and charisma, and became associated with his unmasking. (When he was younger they kept his face covered, as they were concerned that his youthful look might cause him to be taken less seriously.)

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They followed this with their cover of Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Oh No’, which is better than the original. I tell it like it is – don’t shoot the messenger! The Sixth Lie version has more depth, more body and shape. It floats through space and sinks in the sea. At one point, the instrumental is stripped back and Arata’s soft voice whispers right into your ear. His performance is so expressive and personal. Each member of the crowd could almost feel his breath on their skin.

Next came the title track of their newest album, ‘Singularity’. The whole room jumped and clapped wildly. Arms raised as Arata hit those powerful, yearning notes that sink hooks into the psyche. It was clear that they’ve developed a speedy following. Last year at Hyper Japan they were virtually unknown. This year the whole crowd knows the melody and sings it back to them. It’s not surprising that they gain fans quickly. Once you’ve tasted their performance, you will always crave it.

The ever-loveable Ray introduced their newest single, ‘Hibana’. This is a really special track, featured as the ending theme of the new anime ‘Golden Kamuy’. Hopefully this exposure will give them lots of new fans! ‘Hibana’ has quite a different sound to their other work. It uses a more traditional J-Rock sound with far less electronic elements.

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All three band members seemed to have boundless energy. Arata moved in great strides and bent into the lyrics with incredible soul. He came to the edge of the stage and performed fan service with all the confidence and grace of someone who knows how beautiful they are. Each band member was totally engaged with the crowd. By instinct they knew exactly what to do – every movement was perfectly timed. Arata dropped to one knee at just the right moment to provoke screams.

The final song of the set was ‘Endless Night’, and the crowd wailed as the chorus melody dropped. The atmosphere had reached fever level, and everyone jumped in time to the beat. Reiji came forward again and jumped in time with the crowd – there were screams – there was a wall of screams. The Sixth Lie built up a magnificent finale; a massive guitar riff and an explosion of drums that brought forth a neverending applause.

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