Japan offers one of the most unique metal subcultures on Earth. With an eye always on the Western world, the country has taken cues from the metal scene at large, first adopting the twin guitar attack of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, combining it with the wide-eyed stage aesthetic of glam, dubbed visual kei, without conforming to the hair metal craze on much of a musical level.

The "Land of the Rising Sun" also has an appreciation for art culture, often times delving into avant-garde territories regardless of what their metal foundation is, be it black metal, death metal, sludge or anything in between or outside these parameters. The result is a scene that thrives on originality and creativity, discarding sheepish imitation without at least some sense of ingenuity. There's no escaping the influences of genre forefathers, but merely striving to be a clone is not as trendy as it is elsewhere around the globe.

In the days pre-dating the Internet, it was almost unheard of for a metal group to break out of Japan, with a couple exceptions, of course. As the digital age took over, international boundaries began to break down regarding music consumption, opening up a literal new world of heavy metal for fans to explore!

Join us in the gallery above as we celebrate the 10 Best Japanese Metal Bands!

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