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Fascinating, dazzling and redemptive story of the iconic Japanese band...

20th February 2017

andy rawll
Words: Andy Rawll

we are x

From the producer of the acclaimed 'Searching for Sugar Man', 'We are X' charts the classic career arc of an extraordinary band told via an expertly edited combination of interviews and incendiary performances.

From their conception as glam-punk, speed-Metal 'visual kei' masters to stadium devouring melodic power Metal monsters, the film is as vivid and fast-paced as the band during their rise to prominence in the late 90s.

Central to the story is enigmatic leader Yoshiki, as the movie presents how a fractured childhood inspired his relentless vision for X as well as the apparent masochistic zeal with which he pushes himself physically with his drumming style. It's also a story of brotherhood, with parallels to that other great film 'The Story Of Anvil', although Robb Reiner couldn't claim that his temporary split from the band was due to brainwashing by a religious cult, unlike Toshi, the remarkable, but troubled lead singer.

we are x

It's ironic that Yoshiki's singular vision of the X factor in the Far East had already delivered multi-million album sales, well before Simon Cowell had decided to launch his own brand of X Factory faming in the West. Yoshiki's Ying and Yang to SiCo's Zig and Zag, if you will.

In the second act, there's tragedy in the loss of two of the original band of five brothers, but the film reflects the spiritual renewal in the band's reformation in 2007 as they embark on their unfulfilled quest outside of Japan. This sets up the final act of the film, which relates the meticulous planning for their unprecedented and ultimately triumphant performance at Madison Square Garden in 2014. I loved the sound-check sequence when, after a lengthy instrumental work-out, Yoshiki made the concession that they 'only' needed to cover the last ten minutes of the drum solo.

As a rock doc, 'We Are X' is a great watch as both a history lesson about one of Japan's most successful bands, but also as an introduction to the latest incarnation of the group and the retina searing power of their arena shows. Better still, the film's revised release date now coincides with X Japan's first-ever UK arena show at the SSE Arena at Wembley on Saturday 4th March 2017. Having laid waste to the relatively modest-sized Shepherd's Bush Empire in 2011, I expect this be one of the Metal gigs of the year.

we are x

TIMING: • 'We are X' Movie UK Premiere: Tuesday 28th February
• 'We are X' Movie Nationwide Release: Thursday 2nd March
• 'X Japan' UK Live Show (Wembley Arena) – Saturday 4th March


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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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