|The seemingly boundless enthusiasm for melodic metal on the part of Japanese fans is well known but the land of the rising sun is often also the birthplace of tremendous bands in this musical genre. Names such as Loudness, Anthem and Bow Wow come to mind however none of these bands have gone about it quite as spectacularly as Concerto Moon. The band has managed to fuse the melodic feel of the 80's American metal scene with traces of modern influences while at the same time retaining a sound of their own. Influences such as Deep Purple, Rainbow or Malmsteen are clearly evident in the songs however Concerto Moon are by no means standing in the shadows of such great rock paragons. They enhance their compositions with a unique, unforgettable flair and prove they are truly masters of their instruments.
Singer Takao Ozaki began his musical career as a guitarist at the tender age of thirteen. When he was 21 he joined a local band in his hometown, Kagawa. After moving to Tokyo he joined Dirty Doll, moving later to Zenith, one of the most popular Japanese bands in the Nineties. When Zenith gave their farewell concert in Autumn 1995, Ozaki met the guitarist Norifuma Shima with whom he founded Concerto Moon shortly afterwards.
Norifuma Shima has been playing piano since he was four years old. In 1983 he happened to see a Rainbow video, which led the young musician to take up the guitar. Two years later he was playing an important role in the band Dion and formed the later, highly praised band Crystal Clear in 1994. After three eventful and formative years, Crystal Clear split up, yet within months Shima helped to form Concerto Moon. Shima's impressive style has already made him a guitar hero in his native Japan.
Besides Ozaki and Shima, the band also comprises of bass player Kosaku Mitani, drummer Ichiro Nagai and keyboard player Toshiyuki Koike. Bassist Mitani played in various bands and met Shima and his band Crystal Clear in 1995. He seemed a natural choice when Concerto Moon was formed and was duly asked to join. Drummer Nagai began his career as a percussionist and moved onto the drums when he turned 20, playing in various rock bands. In 1996 he joined Concerto Moon as a guest musician and became a permanent fixture soon afterwards. Keyboard player Koike began playing piano at the age of 10 and soon developed an interest in heavy metal. During a Japanese tour in the Summer of 97, he met the guys in Concerto Moon and joined the band the following year.
After the band was founded in Autumn 1995, Concerto Moon held their first concert in Osaka in July 1996. Two weeks later they caused a sensation at their very first show in Tokyo. In the following summer the band released their debut album "Fragments Of The Moon", which received an impressive 85 point rating in the revered Burrn! Magazine. The album release was followed by a successful Japanese tour and April 1998 saw them preparing for their second album, "From Father To Son", which was released in July. In December, Concerto Moon toured with the Finnish superstars Stratovarius and then began work on their third studio album, "Rain Forest".
Now, captured in all their glory with "The End Of The Beginning" the band present their first live offering proving what a formidable live act they have become. Made up of material from their previous studio albums, Concerto Moon deliver a breath taking set that showcases their technical mastery alongside their vast compositional talents leaving no doubt whatsoever as to their impressive abilities. "The End Of The Beginning" was released in Europe in April 2001 as a special double CD set including 3 bonus tracks and a 53 minute live video CD-Rom track.
This marked the end of an era for the band. A new vocalist was brought in, one who was a little more comfortable with singing in English - enter Takashi Inoue. The new frontman was first heard on several re-recorded Concerto Moon classics on Gate Of Triumph and a best of - Destruction & Creation. But it was not until 2003's Life On The Wire that Inoue was fully unleashed. Life On The Wire saw the bands heaviest and most melodic album yet, further defining the bands role as one of the hottest bands on the neo-classical scene.
Another live album and DVD entitled Live - Once In A Lifetime showcased the bands abilities in the live arena whilst the 2004 release After The Double Cross is the band best effort to date