Seiyuu Digest #2 – GRANRODEO

Seiyuu Digest #2 – GRANRODEO

Led by the charismatic, multi-talented KISHOW and presented with flawless guitar work by guitar genius e-ZUKA, GRANRODEO is a band in a league of their own.

Note: This article is undergoing a deep update. There may be some information missing.

Debut

GRANRODEO was founded in 2005 by seiyuu Kisho Taniyama (KISHOW) and guitarist e-ZUKA and since their debut, they’re signed to Lantis.

Their style

GRANRODEO are often mentioned as the “Kings of Anisong” for the sheer amount of songs they have featured in anime series as well as for how popular those end up being.

They’ve established themselves as specialists in the anisong side of the music industry, being able to deliver pounding, fast-paced and intense songs that perfectly encompass the excitement and adventures fans of such anime series will experience.

GRANRODEO is, at its core, a versatile rock band that is heavily influenced by 80s rock, jazz and country music, something that shows in the melodies the e-ZUKA brings to the table with his guitar skills. But there’s more to the band.

Synthrock, hair metal, hard rock, pop-rock, punk, blues, power ballads and acoustic are other music genres in which the band has dabbled in the past and delivered perfect performances.

Any the music genre. Any type of vocal direction. GRANRODEO is a band constantly evolving and spreading the wings of their creativity, showcasing a versatility that few bands have.

Fast-paced rock is most commonly found in GRANRODEO’s repertoire though. All their experimenting happens with more frequency in songs that are not featured in anime and that’s where things get really interesting and, at times, quite impressive.

The songs featured in anime are always high-octane, intense rock songs with shredding guitar riffs, rich, full drums, thunderous basslines and powerful vocals with so much emotional charge that you can’t help but to be influenced by them.

Lineup

KISHOW
KISHOW

Responsible for electrifying GRANRODEO’s fans with spine chilling and headbanging performances, KISHOW is soul of GRANRODEO.

As their vocal and lyricist, KISHOW is in his element. He’s mentioned a handful of times in interviews that, despite having started his career as a seiyuu (voice actor), he actually feels like he was born to be a singer and lyricist rather than a voice actor (he made his debut as a voice actor in 1995).

Before founding GRANRODEO in 2005, Kisho Taniyama had already experienced a solo artist debut under Lantis, having released 2 singles – “Daybreamin’” and “Warrior” – before wrapping up his solo adventure and deciding to embrace a life of high-throttle rock music surrounded by musicians that shared the same passion as him.

As part of GRANRODEO, Kisho Taniyama goes by the moniker KISHOW, first an unknown name to many, now a name that everyone knows and respects in the music industry.

KISHOW is known for his velvety voice, sometimes a bit rougher when needed, but usually an incredibly sweet voice to the ear. His powerful vibrato is one of the skills alongside his impressive ability to pull off spine-chilling falsetto. 

He’s a singer that pretty much nails almost any genre of music and does so with a flair that put him in a completely different league when we talk about seiyuu artists. He’s a vocal chameleon.

When on stage with GRANRODEO, his eyes are so full of joy, like a child doing what he really loves. He lits up the stage and feeds off the crowd’s energy, giving way for electrifying performances.

e-zuka

Masaaki Iizuka or e-ZUKA as he’s best known to his fans is the guitarist, composer and arranger from GRANRODEO’s songs.

Iizuka is a professional musician formed at ミューズ音楽院 (Muse Music Conservatory) and, over the years, has worked with bands such as esq, F.E.N., BLOODY RUBY and BASXI.

He’s the heart of GRANRODEO, breathing life into their songs, crafting exciting songs, blending elements from different music genres in both his guitar playing and the band’s compositions.

He’s the heart to GRANRODEO‘s sound with his powerful guitar riffs and mesmerizing solos inspired by some of the world’s top guitarists like Ace Frehley, Randy Rhoads, Ritchie Blackmore, Gary Moore, Michael Schenker, John Sykes, and Yngwie Malmsteen.

Having incorporated a bit of each of these guitarists’ techniques to make his own, Iizuka shows us a captivating, coherent, emotional, sometimes aggressive guitar playing that always keeps listeners entertained and on our feet.

In 2005 Iizuka formed GRANRODEO with Kisho Taniyama (KISHOW) and at the time both decided to stylize their names: Iizuka‘s stage name with GRANRODEO is e-ZUKA.

Their career so far

GRANRODEO

Having debuted in 2005 and already with an impressive repertoire that counts with 6 albums and 21 singles, GRANRODEO have grown incredibly fast.

Since their major debut in 2005, starting off with the debut single Go For it!, the band has, since then, faced a lot of challenges, delivered A+ performances, released powerful singles and has archived the respect and recognition in Japan that they deserve. But not everything are roses and the band has also screwed up a couple of times but got up quickly after it.

For a band that started off with the simple objective of making anime songs, GRANRODEO have certainly made that point clear with more than 15 electrifying tracks featured either as opening or ending themes for several well-known anime such as: Togainu no Chi, Karneval, Kuroko no Basuke, Blassreiter and Code:Breaker. 

The band has made 3 top album releases with Supernova, Crack Star Flash and the most recent album Karma to Labyrinth, three powerful albums with some of the best singles GRANRODEO has released so far: Henai no Rondo, DARK SHAME, RIMFIRE, Can do have already turned to some of the most requested tracks by GR‘s fans and were instant hits with anime fans in general.

The genre that defines the band is obviously Hardrock but the band has experimented with almost every genre available: rock, heavy metal, pop, alternative rock, punk, funk, folk-rock are just some of the genres the band has tried before and that just shows how there are no boundaries when it comes to making great music.

In the end, there are no limits for GRANRODEO‘s versatility with both their sound or their lyrics and, as some people like to say, “the sky is the limit”.  A band that, so far, has offered so much but still has much more to give to us. Without a doubt a pearl in Japan’s rock scene.


And that’s two SEIYUU DIGESTs already done! Please look forward for the next SEIYUU DIGEST.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi! Nice write-up!

    I am rather curious by this bit, though: “But not everything are roses and the band has also screwed up a couple of times but got up quickly after it.” What are you referring to? Sure, they occasionally slip up on stage (usually amusingly or cutely), but it’s not like they’ve had any PR faux pas or done anything stupid or otherwise damaging to their careers.

    (btw, it’s Randy Rhoads — he was Ozzy’s guitarist who unfortunately was flown into a building, literally, in the early 1980s)

    • Hi Rodeogumi!
      Before anything else, thanks for taking the time to read this digest!

      When I referred to “screwed up” I wasn’t saying it as if GR has done anything stupid or damaging to their careers. On the contrary.
      Using the expression “screwed up” wasn’t intended to be pejorative. I was using “screwed up” as – a band that isn’t perfect: commits some mistakes live, has some not so successful singles, which is normal – no band is perfect – but still is as amazing as I described throughout the article.

      That was only intended to show that the band isn’t perfect – like how the band is described around the net – they’re human and they make mistakes, sometimes funny mistakes, they release some singles that may fail to chart high on Oricon but the band has never let those things influence negatively and always came with another interesting thing to make the fans happy.

      I’m a GRANRODEO fan so I wasn’t bashing on them when I said “Screwed up” – really because what’s there to bash on them? Nothing!

      Hope this serves as an explanation. Thanks for the comment and the typo correction (major error right there). Thanks

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