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Eternal Elysium
Eternal-elysium
Eternal Elysium's current lineup.
Background information
Origin Nagoya, Japan
Genres Stoner Metal, Stoner Rock
Years active 1991 - present
Labels MeteorCity Records, Cornucopia Records, DiwPhalanx, Black Widow Records, DiskUnion, Electric Earth, Hammerheart
Associated acts Ran-ja, Dead Claw, Okuyama, Muga, The Pollen, nibs
Website Eternal Elysium Official
Current members Yukito Okazaki
Tana Haugo
Katagiri

Eternal Elysium are a stoner metal/stoner rock power trio from Nagoya, Japan. Active since 1991 with guitarist/vocalist Yukito Okazaki as the sole original member, Eternal Elysium has built a reputation as one of Japan's longest-standing stoner acts. The band's lyrics and themes deviate into spiritual concepts and stoner culture as a whole.

Since their formation in August 1991, Okazaki's trio has released six studio albums amidst a host of other releases and has managed to tour all over the world. Though largely performing in Japan and Europe the band had toured the United States on a few occasions when a working relationship with MeteorCity Records was established for a time.

HistoryEdit

Doomsday Recitation: Beginnings and Faithful (1991 - 1998)Edit

Eternal Elysium was founded by Yukito Okazaki, Atsutoshi Tachimoto and Jiro Murakami in August 1991. Following the break-up of the NWOBHM-influenced Ran-Ja in the Spring of 1991, Okazaki and Tachimoto opted to begin a new band blending British heavy metal with Japanese musical scale and the added element of doom metal. Murakami would quickly join as the band would release a demo in October 1992 and finish their first recorded studio album by February 1993. The band would tour Japan for the first time that March, with Tachimoto and Murakami leaving by the end of the month.

With Okazaki as the sole original member he would keep the band active and negotiate with various labels on releasing this debut album, with German label Black Mark Production taking up the offer. In January 1994 Jun Kawasaki and Yasuhiro Okada would join as the new rhythm section. However by March 1995 following a tour of Japan Kawasaki and Okada would both leave the group along with Black Mark falling out of the deal on releasing the debut album. While Okazaki would briefly work with other bands his style would shift back to heavy rock and he'd choose to keep Eternal Elysium going.

Notably at the end of 1995, Eternal Elysium would find two labels to release the debut album. Finally in May 1996, Faithful would be released via Eclipse Records and Cornucopia Records. Bassist Eiichi Okuyama and drummer Takashi Kuroda would join the group. The band would make plans to tour that September in support of the album's official release but Okazaki would fall ill thus forcing cancellation. The band's operations would resume in February 1997 with the band being invoved in a series of summer events, leading to a trilogy of live demos known as The Spiral Conclusion. This lineup would be the most stable for a number of years, also recording a host of compilation tracks (January 1998's Doomsday Recitation, December 1998's At The Mountains of Madness and 1998's Survive List). In 1999 the band would get offers to record songs for MeteorCity Records' I Am Vengeance soundtrack and Black Widow Records' Black Widow tribute.[1]

Movements and Vibes: The MeteorCity Years (1999 - 2003)Edit

More recording sessions from Eternal Elysium would begin in February and April 1999, including a MeteorCity Records tribute to Iron Maiden (Released February 2000) and songs for the band's second studio album. That May the band would begin to negotiate with MeteorCity, leading to the group getting signed with the label that summer. Eternal Elysium's second studio album Spiritualized D would be released in April 2000 to positive reception in the stoner circles. Around the time of the album's release Okuyama would leave the group due to personal issues.

Toshiaki Umemura (aka Zion) would join the group in May 2000 and the new trio would record a host of covers. However this lineup would be short-lived with Kuroda leaving in February 2001. Rio Okuya would join the group on drums as the trio began work on a third studio album from May to November. The band's first gig with this lineup would be on 30 June 2001 in Tokyo. The band would get a second drummer, a New Zealand resident known as Tom Huskinson, to record a track. In November 2001 after recording sessions would finish, Okuya would leave the group with Huskinson taking over as the full-time drummer. Eternal Elysium's third studio album Share would be released via MeteorCity Records on 25 February 2002 to positive acclaim. With worldwide distribution (Century Media in Europe and Revolver in the United States) along with being signed to MeteorCity, the trio would tour the United States for the first time.

In support of Share and performing alongside Witch Mountain the trio would play in thirteen cities (Including an appearance at Stoner Hands of Doom). With the tour being a success the trio would begin work on a split CD with Japanese space rock band Of The Spacistor, working with hardcore drummer Antonio Ishikawa (Formerly of the band MUGA). However after the recordings of the split CD, Toshiaki Umemura would leave the group citing a desire to play guitar and sing in other groups. Ishikawa also took over as the new drummer as Tom Huskinson moved back to New Zealand. With a fill-in bassist in Mitsuru Kondo the band would perform two gigs that summer.

The Split CD with Of The Spacistor would drop on 20 October 2003 via Cornucopia Records. The band also announced that a new bassist in Tana Huogo would be moving from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Nagoya to join the band.[2] In a 2009 interview with Doom Mantia, Huogo explains her story of moving to Japan and joining Eternal Elysium:

“Greetings.

I was living in Minneapolis, working part-time at various record stores, playing in bands over the years and was really into the whole stoner rock scene from the late 90’s. Around that time I became totally captivated by the sounds of some old Japanese bands, Flower Travellin’ Band, The Jacks, Speed, Glue and Shinki. I had known of EE from the Meteor City releases and always dug the sound, thinking of it as “Japanese dudes with awesome record collections that love Sabbath and smoke a lot”.

One day I was sifting through used LPs and discovered a band from Tokyo called Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, dude’s voice put a spell on me! I was seriously hooked. So when I found that this band was actually still playing and not a beloved relic, I cashed in some frequent flyer miles and headed to Japan to check out four shows during their lengthy tour, May 2003. I had hopes of catching Boris, Garadama, Church of Misery or EE, and while none of them had any gigs at the time, I did make contact with Okazaki and we hung out when I was in Nagoya for the Michelle Gun shows. I had such a great time and made an awesome connection and found out that, hey, EE had no bass player! The trip to Japan was so magical and special, difficult on many levels because I didn’t speak or read Japanese, but still, I found rockers and wonderful people wherever I went, I fell in love with the place.

About six weeks later, I went back to Japan to jam with Okazaki and Antonio and just check out the feasibility of moving there. The old drummer Tom, a New Zealander, was really helpful because he had the “foreigner in Japan” perspective and was able to answer a lot questions. The vibe with the EE crew was right, things fell into place quickly, I sold my house in Minneapolis, said goodbye and officially moved to Japan and joined EE in November 2003.”

 
— Tana Huogo, Doom Mantia [3]

The band would close out 2003 with a New Years Eve gig in Nagoya, the first official show with the lineup of Okazaki, Ishikawa and Huogo as a new era of Eternal Elysium would begin.

Agent of Doom: Searching Low & High and Within The Triad (2004 - 2010)Edit

With a stable lineup the trio would begin playing more shows in Japan, frequently with the likes of Church of Misery, Boris and Greenmachine. Eventually the band would sign with DiwPhalanx amidst working on a fourth studio album, working on it from February to May 2005. Searching Low & High would be released in July 2005 to positive reception, the band touring around the record's release through North America and a Japanese tour with Nebula. The next two years would see more material recorded and working with Acid King and Black Cobra, alternating tours of the US and Japan, also releasing a split CD with the latter band on DiwPhalanx. 2007 would also see the formation of the Doom Age Festival via Leaf Hound Records, leading Eternal Elysium to perform with the likes of Orange Sunshine, Electric Wizard, Witchcraft and Revelation among other doom heroes. Notably the split CD tracks with Black Cobra would be re-released as a 10" entitled Mysterious Views in Stone Garden with a bonus track.

On 15 October 2008 Eternal Elysium would appear on a compilation entitled Life Conception, unveiling a new song entitled "Agent of Doom" as a teaser for the next studio album. Within The Triad would be released in August 2009 via DiwPhalanx, the trio touring North America and Japan in support of the album with Kylesa, Birushinah and Black Cobra. The trio would support Saviours on their first Japanese tour and do a full tour of Europe for the first time with Place of Skulls that fall. Within The Triad would be reissued on vinyl and CD that November with a host of bonus tracks.

In a 2010 interview with Doom Mantia, Okazaki would speak about the band's first ever tour of Europe, complications with Japan and the makings of Within The Triad.

“Our first European tour was great, totally. I was so glad and surprised many people knew us everywhere, and they gave us warm reactions. Touring with legendary doom master Victor Griffin’s Place Of Skulls was amazing. Vibra Agency’s organization was pretty good, I mean, we could sleep in hotels every day, I didn’t think we could do that. And we got the opportunity to play at a couple festivals, I don’t think we could have booked those ourselves.

There were some unfortunate things. One of those was that the EU release of our new album wasn’t ready in time for this tour, so we couldn’t sell that at the gigs. But we tried to change our feeling, and the quality of our playing was getting better day by day. I was actually tired only a little bit at first on this tour. Some communication breakdowns made me nervous, maybe. Different system for some things, different customs, and different languages. And, I had to care about my body condition because of my disease. It was actually a kind of trial for me, but I have done. This is one important point for myself. I appreciate everybody that checked and supported us very much.

I felt Europe has the excellent culture of heavy music. Population of doom rock heads is totally higher than Japan and US, I guess. I was so surprised when I saw a bunch of people at Hammer of Doom festival. A lot of metal shops were selling stuff there, that’s so cool. I felt there is big heavy rock culture in Europe, obviously. US has also a great scene, but it seems different a little bit. Quality of PA system in EU is pretty much better than US, I mean, Japanese venue usually has great equipments, I think that’s same as EU, or much better. Money system of Japanese venues sucks. Many underground bands have to pay to play, and the price of ticket is pretty expensive. People usually pay about 20 euro to check underground bands like us. That’s not from music, that’s from a different society.”

 
— Yukito Okazaki, Doom Mantia [4]

Highflyer and Resonance of Shadows (2011 - Present)Edit

Despite lengthy gaps between studio albums the group maintained a busy show schedule and recording sessions, notably in 2011 performing at the 30th anniversary of the Huck Finn venue and a short tour of Japan in November 2011 to support a vinyl reissue of Searching Low & High via Hydro-Phonic Records. 2012 would see them supporting Nails and Earth on Japanese tours along with other shows. Notably the band would release a split with SardoniS on 4 October 2012 with both bands touring in support of the split. Eternal Elysium would also compose a theme song for Shinya Ishikawa (All Japan Pro Wrestling) and release an EP of this Highflyer on 24 October 2012. Through the next few years the band would tour Australia for the first time in 2014 with The Shrine and then tour Japan with Earthless the next year.

On 15 June 2016 Eternal Elysium would release their sixth studio album Resonance of Shadows, attaining positive critical acclaim from the likes of The Obelisk[5] and Robust Fellow[6] among others. Touring of Japan would follow in support of the new album. In a 2016 interview with Outlaws of The Sun, Ukazaki would explain the process in making the album and performing songs in his native Japanese rather than English:

“ I learnt a lot about the 2011 disaster in Japan. The result is that I found a kind of truth in all this, and I decided to try to spread much more great vibes and thoughts from our music. I was drifting on a sea of despair and sadness while I was looking for any information that would give me hope for the future. I found the current answer, finally, and that content became some of the lyrics for songs on the new album. The term between our last album and this new one is almost the same as the distance from the edge of despair to hope.

[On songs in Japanese] I got back to my roots, my early musical experiences. I remember singing traditional Japanese songs a long time ago, but after the shock of heavy/hard rock such as Sabbath, Purple, Zep and so on, I lost all interest in singing Japanese songs. My early vision of Eternal Elysium was to release our albums overseas. I couldn’t imagine anyone being interested in bands using Japanese at the time I launched Eternal Elysium in the early 90s. So singing in English was not too unnatural for me.

We became more expressive than in the past. That's a result of playing a lot, both on gigs and in the studio, and trying to know each other better. We noticed many points that we didn't have, and we’re still polishing our skills so we can better convey our vibes. We’ve made judgments about what we can and can’t do well, throwing some of it out and going for a more simple approach. Amount of overdubs was less than past releases. We want to show more clearly what we're doing. This approach is a better match with the contents of lyrics. My score for the new album is great. I can say this album is still a transition point. I like the quality of this new one, but I’m not completely satisfied, because I believe in our potential. We'll progress more in the future, totally.

Another important new idea that I brought to this recording is changing the tuning of our strings a bit higher. The point is to play at 528hz, a natural, organic frequency/tone. Some people say that 528hz has the power to cure DNA damage. I absolutely feel different vibes from this tuning. I hope people listen and feel great resonance from new album. Search for info about this magical tone if you're interested.”

 
— Yukito Okazaki, Outlaws of The Sun [7]

Eternal Elysium would remain active in Japan through 2016 and 2017, performing often in Japan for special marquee doom events or venue anniversaries such as Earthdom. However the band saw a major change in 2018. Following two live performances in February, longtime drummer Antonio Ishikawa would part ways after fifteen years with the band. Eternal Elysium managed to secure a live drummer in Katagiri (nibs) for a 15 October performance and the band's first ever shows in China. Huogo and Okazaki intend to keep the band going with a new drummer in 2019.

DiscographyEdit

Studio AlbumsEdit

  • Faithful (1996, Cornucopia Records; Eclipse Records)
  • Spiritualized D (2000, MeteorCity Records)
  • Share (2002, MeteorCity Records)
  • Searching Low & High (2005, DiskUnion)
  • Within The Triad (2009, DiwPhalanx)
  • Resonance of Shadows (2016, Cornucopia Records)

Misc. ReleasesEdit

  • 1992 Demo (1992, Self-Released)
  • The Spiral Conclusion 1, 2, 3 (Live Demos) (1997, Self-Released)
  • Doomsday Recitation (Split with Church of Misery, Berenice, Millarca) (1998, Cornucopia Records)
  • Eternal Elysium / Of The Spacistor (Split with Of The Spacistor) (2003, Cornucopia Records)
  • Wizard's Convention (Split DVD with Boris, Greenmachine, Church of Misery) (2005, DiwPhalanx)
  • Eternal Elysium / Black Cobra (Split with Black Cobra) (2007, DiwPhalanx)
  • Mysterious Views in Stone Garden (EP) (2008, Electric Earth)
  • Ascending Circulation (Split with Sardonis) (2012, Hammerheart)
  • Highflyer (EP) (2012, Cornucopia Records)

MembersEdit

Current LineupEdit

  • Yukito Okazaki - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals (August 1991 - Present)
  • Tana Haugo Kawahara - Bass, Vocals (November 2003 - Present)
  • Katagiri - Live Drums (2018 - Present)

Past MembersEdit

  • Atsutoshi Tachimoto - Bass (August 1991 - March 1993)
  • Jun Kawasaki - Bass (January 1994 - March 1995)
  • Eiichi Okuyama - Bass (May 1996 - May 2000)
  • Toshiaki Umemura aka Zion - Bass (May 2000 - June 2003)
  • Mitsuru Kondo - Bass (July 2003 - October 2003)
  • Jiro Murakami - Drums (August 1991 - March 1993)
  • Yasuhiro Okada - Drums (January 1994 - March 1995)
  • Takashi Kuroda - Drums (May 1996 - February 2001)
  • Rio Okuya - Drums (April 2001 - September 2001)
  • Tom Huskinson - Drums (November 2001 - December 2002)
  • Antonio Ishikawa - Drums (January 2003 - February 2018)

List of Known ToursEdit

  • Faithful Japan Tour (1993)
  • 1995 Japan Tour (1995)
  • September 1996 Japan Tour (1996; Canceled)
  • Share North American Tour 2002 (With Witch Mountain) (2002)
  • 2003 Shows (2003)
  • Searching Low & High North American Tour (2005)
  • Nebula 2005 Japan Tour (With Nebula) (2005)
  • Acid King 2006 Japan Tour (With Acid King) (2006)
  • Bestial September Tour (With Acid King, Black Cobra) (2006)
  • Doom Age Festival (With Orange Sunshine) (2007)
  • Feather and Stone Japan Tour (With Black Cobra) (2007)
  • Doom Age Festival (With Electric Wizard) (2007)
  • Pilgrimage Japan Tour (Select dates with Om) (2008)
  • Doom Age Festival (With Revelation, Church of Misery) (2008)
  • 2009 Japan Tour (Select dates with Birushinah, Kylesa) (2009)
  • Within The Triad North American Tour (With Black Cobra) (2009)
  • Within The Triad Japan Tour (With Black Cobra, Amber Vial depending on dates) (2009)
  • Accelerated Living Japan Tour (With Saviours) (2010)
  • As A Dog Returns European Tour (With Place of Skulls) (2010)
  • Eternal Elysium Japan Tour 2011 (2011)
  • Eternal Elysium / Sardonis Japan Tour (With Sardonis) (2012)
  • Eternal Elysium Australian Tour (With The Shrine) (2014)
  • Earthless / Eternal Elysium Japan Tour (With Earthless) (2015; originally 2014)
  • Eternal Elysium & Auma Japan Tour (With Auma) (2015)
  • Triad in Black Summer Confusion (With Greenmachine, Nepenthes) (2016)
  • Resonance in Shikoku (With Ithaqua, Spacegrinder, Oldemada) (2016)
  • Eternal Elysium China Tour 2018 (With Alpaca) (2018)

External LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Eternal Elysium Official Page via Wayback Machine
  2. Eternal Elysium via Wayback Machine
  3. Doom Mantia Eternal Elysium – Japanese cosmic travellers, accessed 20 December 2018
  4. Doom Mantia The Agents Of Doom – A New Interview With Eternal Elysium, accessed 20 December 2018
  5. Resonance of Shadows review via the Obelisk
  6. Resonance of Shadows review via Robust Fellow
  7. / Outlaws of The Sun An Interview With ETERNAL ELYSIUM, accessed 20 December 2018
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