Tatsu Mikami
Tatsu Mikami2.jpg
Mikami performing with Church of Misery.
Background information
Birth Name Tatsu Mikami
Occupation Musician
Genres Heavy Metal, Doom Metal, Stoner Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Speed Metal
Instrument(s) Bass, Vocals
Years active 1984 - Present
Labels Southern Lord Records, Leaf Hound Records, Rise Above Records, Diwphalanx, Metal Blade Records, Wolverine Records, High Society Satanic Records
Associated acts Church of Misery, Sonic Flower, Salem, Legend, G.A.T.E.S., Skull Pit

Tatsu Mikami is a musician best known as the bassist, lead songwriter and sole original member of the doom metal band Church of Misery, who have been active since 1995. Along with his best known band he has been active in the Japanese metal scene with a wide range of bands from traditional heavy metal to psychedelic rock to speed metal to punk. He is also notable for his bass being positioned low enough to his knees and playing bass directly from the neck of the guitar.

Mikami has been involved with music for well over thirty years, having played in five other bands outside of Church of Misery and to date, has released six albums with Church of Misery and a host of other releases with various bands.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Church of Misery[edit | edit source]

Tatsu Mikami would form Church of Misery in 1995, expressing a desire to form a doom metal band inspired by Saint Vitus and Black Sabbath. He would enlist enlisted Tomohiro Nishimura (guitar), Hideki Shimizu (drums) and Kazuhiro Asaeda (vocals) and the band would perform live for the first time on 18 February 1996 at Meguro Live Station in Tokyo, Japan.[1] The same year the band would record an album's worth of material, which would be bootlegged and released via Doom Records without Mikami's consent (and later reissued in 2007 officially.). Despite the frustration over the first album being bootlegged it would get them noticed by doom and stoner circles the world over.

Church of Misery's first official releases came in 1998 with appearing on the Doomsday Recitation compilation, along with a split with Sheavy in Born Too Late and the EP Taste The Pain. Mikami's keen interest in the lives and actions of notorious serial killers would serve as a basis for the song themes and gain the band some notoriety. With shows in Japan, a few lineup changes and building a name for themselves Church of Misery would sign with American label Southern Lord Records to release their debut album Master of Brutality in 2001.

In 2004 Yoshiaki Nigeshi would leave the band due to musical differences and Hideki Fukasawa would replace him. The band would record with the new singer and release The Second Coming in 2004 via Japanese label DiwPhalanx and French label Salvation. That same year all of the recordings with second singer Nobukazu Chow would be compiled in the Early Works Compilation via Japanese label Leaf Hound Records. With further acclaim and notoriety the band would tour outside Japan for the first time in 2005 and 2006 in The Second Coming European Tour 2005 and No Sleep Til' Halloween European Tour 2006, respectively. The band also participated in all five editions of Doom Age Festival in their native Japan, supporting various touring acts.

A new guitarist would join in Australian Tom Sutton (aka Tom Satan) and work would begin on a third official album. Signing with British label Rise Above Records for a worldwide deal, Church of Misery would release Houses of the Unholy on 20 April 2009 to critical acclaim though Fukasawa would leave the band the same week the album was released. With further touring and frequent appearances at marquee festivals such as Roadburn Church of Misery would establish themselves as a notable act in the current doom scene.

Following a brief return with third singer Yoshiaki Nigeshi, Fukasawa would return to the band in 2011 to begin work on a fourth official album, resulting in Thy Kingdom Scum on 26 January 2013. Following the band's first ever Australian and North American tours along with frequent visits to Europe however, Fukasawa, longtime drummer Junji Narita and guitarist Ikuma Kawabe would all leave the band in the Fall of 2014.

Church of Misery would go largely dormant but Mikami would go to the United States to record a fifth official album, collaborating with Eric Little (Earthride), Dave Szulkin (Blood Farmers) and Scott Carlson (Repulsion, Death, Cathedral). The end result would be And Then There Were None... released on 4 March 2016. A year later on 24 March 2017 Mikami would make the statement of "CoM rises again!" and announce a new lineup with vocalist Hiroyuki Takano (Sithter, Psychotoblack), Drummer Junichi Yamamura (Empire) and guitarist Yasuto Muraki.[2] This new lineup would tour the world from 2017 - 2020 as work began on a sixth album.[3]

Other Bands[edit | edit source]

Prior to Church of Misery's formation in 1995 Mikami had played bass in a heavy metal band known as Legend a decade prior in the Kanegawa prefecture. This band would change their name to Salem in 1988 and last until 1994, releasing a single album, a single EP and a handful of demos while playing entirely in Japan. Two Salem compilations would see retroactive release (2008's The Legacy and 2013's Ancient Spells of The Witch), both of which compiling demos and rarities and both authorized by Mikami.

Mikami would also join a speed metal/punk band known as G.A.T.E.S., which is an acronym for God Admires The Evil Soul with themes on satanism, sleaze and death. This band would be formed in 1999 alongside drummer Keisuke Fukawa, guitarist Masayasu Futatsugi and vocalist Yoshiaki Negishi (The first project Nigeshi and Mikami worked together on about a year before Nigeshi joined Church of Misery.). The band performed largely with thrash metal, speed metal and punk bands in Japan and mainly released split singles and EPs via Japanese speed/thrash label High Society Satanic Records. Following the release of the Deceiver single in 2010, Mikami would leave the group to concentrate on Church of Misery.

In 2000 Mikami, along with Keisuke Fukawa, Takenori Hoshi, Tomohiro Nishimura and Arisa, would form Sonic Flower. This band would be an instrumental psychedelic rock project, releasing a single album in 2003. The band would do only a handful of shows, supporting the likes of Acid King and Electric Wizard before going dormant in 2007. In 2019 Tatsu would announce that Sonic Flower would re-form with original drummer Keisuke Fukawa, Yasuto Muraki and original Church of Misery singer Kazuhiro Asaeda. An album would be announced in the works, with seven original songs and a Savoy Brown cover. A second unreleased album entitled Rides Again, along with the self-titled, would be released in 2021 via Heavy Psych Sounds.

In 2018 it would be announced that Tatsu Mikami would be involved with a heavy metal collaboration with Mem Von Stein (Exumer, Of Rites, Sun Descends) to form Skull Pit, whom released their eponymous debut album on 16 November 2018. Rounding out the band for this studio project was Keisuke Fukawa (G.A.T.E.S., Sonic Flower) and Taichi Futo (Varam, Cemment).

Personal Life[edit | edit source]

Mikami resides in Japan with his longtime partner Mika Komine. Komine notably also films a lot of Church of Misery performances, along with other bands in the Japanese scene.

Bands[edit | edit source]

  • Legend - Bass (1984 - 1988)
  • Salem - Bass (1988 - 1994)
  • Church of Misery - Bass, Songwriting (1995 - Present)
  • Sonic Flower - Bass (2000 - 2007, 2019 - Present)
  • G.A.T.E.S. - Bass (1999 - 2010)
  • Skull Pit - Bass (2018 - Present?)

Discography[edit | edit source]

Church of Misery (Selected Discography)[edit | edit source]

Other Releases[edit | edit source]

  • Salem - Demo 2. 1988. (Demo) (1988, Self-Released)
  • Salem - Back to the Front Demo '91. (Demo) (1991, Self-Released)
  • Salem - Salem (EP) (1992, Wolverine Records)
  • Salem - Life with No Hope Demo 1993 (Demo) (1993, Self-Released)
  • Salem - Reason for Existence (1993, Howling Bull)
  • Sonic Flower - Sonic Flower (2003, Leaf Hound Records)
  • G.A.T.E.S. - DEMONlition 1 (Demo) (2003, Self-Released)
  • G.A.T.E.S. - Total High Society Satanic Rocks (Split with Metal Skull) (2003, High Society Satanic Records)
  • Blood Farmers - Permanent Brain Damage (Compilation; Liner Notes) (2004, Leaf Hound Records)
  • G.A.T.E.S. - Nuclear Hell / Black Plague (Split with Disclose) (2005, Doh Doh)
  • G.A.T.E.S. - Total Death (Compilation) (2005, DiwPhalanx)
  • G.A.T.E.S. - Death Bitch (Split with Blüdwülf) (2007, High Society Satanic Records)
  • G.A.T.E.S. ‎– Devastation (EP) (2008, High Society Satanic Records)
  • Salem - The Legacy (Compilation) (2008, Satanic Lust Records)
  • G.A.T.E.S. - Metal Punk (Split with Children of Technology) (2009, High Society Satanic Records)
  • G.A.T.E.S. - Bloodsucker (7" Single) (2009, High Society Satanic Records)
  • G.A.T.E.S. - Nowhere To Go / Dust (Split with Burning Leather) (2009, HG Fact)
  • G.A.T.E.S. - Deceiver (EP) (2010, High Society Satanic Records)
  • Salem - Ancient Spells of The Witch (Compilation) (2013, Armée de la Mort Records)
  • Skull Pit - Skull Pit (Studio Album) (2018, Metal Blade Records)
  • Sonic Flower -Rides Again (Studio Album) (2021, Heavy Psych Sounds)

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Leaf Hound Records' Trade Page via Wayback MachineAccessed 6 January 2017
  2. Church of Misery FacebookChurch of Misery rises again!, accessed 24 April 2017
  3. The Obelisk
V·T·E Church of Misery
Current Members Tatsu MikamiHiroyuki Takano
Past Members Hideki Shimizu • Tomohiro Nishimura • Kazuhiro Asaeda • Nobukazu Chow • Junji NaritaYoshiaki Negishi • Osamu Hamada • Takenori HoshiHideki FukasawaTom Sutton • Kensuke Suto • Ikuma Kawabe • Eric LittleDave SzulkinScott Carlson • Junichi Yamamura • Yasuto Muraki • Fumiya Hattori • Yasunori Takeda
Studio Albums Master of BrutalityThe Second ComingVol. 1Houses of the UnholyThy Kingdom ScumAnd Then There Were None...
Extended Plays Taste The PainMurder CompanyBoston StranglerDennis NilsenGreetings From Jonestown
Splits Doomsday RecitationBorn Too LateAcrimony / Church of MiseryChurch of Misery / Deer CreekChurch of Misery / Sourvein
Compilation Albums Early Works Compilation
Live Releases Houses of the UnholyLive in Red, Eurotour 2005Live at Roadburn 2009Terror in Tokyo
Sonic Flower Sonic FlowerSonic FlowerRides Again
Associated Bands and Artists CoffinsNepenthesThe Order of IsrafelEarthrideBlood FarmersInternal VoidCathedralSithterPsychotoblackFirebirdHorisont
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