The Asian rock scene is criminally underrated. While the American and British rock artists have been flourishing from the start, Asian rock bands are often overlooked. There are many bands from Asian countries that are breaking boundaries and making impactful music. Asia is full of ingenious artists making multi-genre music that enhances the traditional rock sound to a new level. If you’re a diehard rock music fan, you need to explore all that the rock scene of Asia offers. We compiled a mix of old and new Asian rock bands that you need to know about.
Asian Rock Bands
X Japan is one of the most successful Japanese bands in history. Drummer Yoshiki and lead vocalist Toshi formed the band in 1982. X Japan is a speed/power metal band. It drew its inspiration from British and American glam and heavy metal music. They later transitioned to progressive metal music with more focus on emotional ballads. Their looks and music from their early days kick-started the cultural rock phenomenon of visual kei.
Hyukoh is a South Korean indie rock band, formed in May 2014. Originally, they enjoyed moderate success in the underground scene. But they soon shot to mainstream success after their appearance on Infinite Challenge, a South Korean television show. They are known for their visual aesthetic and melancholic music videos. Their sound comprises of a soft-rock approach with a mix of jazz, soul, and blues. With deeply resonant lyrics and soulful music, this Asian rock band is a delightful treat for fans.
No Party for Cao Dong
With music ranging between disco, grunge, garage rock, and punk, No Party For Cao Dong is an indie rock group from Taiwan. Their music reflects their inner struggles and experiences. The award-winning band has seen quite the success since their 2016 debut album – The Servile – “a record of grief, love, justice and helplessness.” With passive yet snide and satirical lyrics, the band conveys the struggles of Taiwan’s youth. Quite outspoken about various societal issues, the band’s upbeat and dreamy rock tracks often contrast with their pessimistic and bitter lyrics.
ONE OK ROCK
One Ok Rock is a Japanese rock band, formed in 2005. Their music ranges from alternative rock and emo to post-hardcore and pop rock. They use both English and Japanese in their lyrics. This Asian rock band has gained international success, especially in America and Europe. Their powerful music and aggressive live performances make them quite popular among the young generation. They’ve collaborated and worked with other bands like Of Mice & Men, Starset, Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, Avril Lavigne and 5 Seconds of Summer.
The Flob is a Vietnamese rock band. It was formed by high school students in 2018. The band was initially meant to disband, but seeing their potential for success, they decided to keep making music and eventually added a sixth member. This is a multi-genre band ranging from vintage rock to electronic and pop music. Despite being a young band, The Flob has demonstrated its versatile range and amazing instrumental skills. Their abrasive and catchy yet refreshing sound makes them a rising force in the Vietnamese music scene.
Modern Dog is a Thai rock band consisting of vocalist-rhythm guitarist Thanachai ‘Pod’ Ujjin, lead guitarist May-T Noijinda, drummer Pavin ‘Pong’ Suwannacheep. Established in 1992, this band has been one of the few Thai bands to see moderate international success. They’ve toured the United States and performed in Tokyo. This Brit-rock-influenced trio is one of the leading bands of the Thai indie-rock scene. Their music features electronic experimentation reminiscent of Radiohead.
Nell is a South Korean alternative rock band. Formed in 2001, it consists of lead vocalist, keyboardist, and guitarist Kim Jong Wan, lead guitarist Lee Jae Kyung, bass guitarist Lee Jung Hoon, and drummer Jung Jae Won. Nell is often credited for the development of indie rock music in South Korea. While their overall sound is sorrowful and psychedelic, each of their albums has its own color. Their songs feature sad and raw lyrics which are beautifully incorporated with enrapturing instrumentals and rich arrangements. Nell’s emotional and relatable music has touched the hearts of fans and hence gained them such success.
Prune Deer is a Hong Kong math rock band. When the band’s vocalist and frontman left shortly after their formation, they decided to make music that “doesn’t need words.” The band has gathered quite a fan-following and is at the forefront of Hong Kong’s independent music scene. Their music is a blend of post-rock with layered melodies, complex beats, and ambient rhythms. The overall effect is light, gorgeous music that builds to a spectacular crescendo. While most of their songs are instrumental, they’ve collaborated with vocalists from Hong Kong and Japan, which have further enhanced their sound.
IV OF SPADES
IV of Spades is a Filipino rock band. Their style is heavily inspired by 1970s fashion and music. The band has cited ABBA, Kings of Leon, Tame Impala, My Chemical Romance, Radiohead, and Jet as their inspirations. They shot to fame with their 4th single “Mundo.” With their retro aesthetics, the band’s Western indie influenced, funk rock music with a psychedelic, pop-rock sound has gained them an ardent fan-following. In 2018, their lead vocalist announced his departure from the band, but the band took it in stride. They came back with their debut album, CLAPCLAPCLAP! in January 2019. It truly showcases their genre-bending skills as it is a mix of various genres like alt-rock, electro pop, pop, ballad, indie pop, psychedelic rock, and pop rock.
Artcell is one of the most influential acts in Bangladeshi music. It is a progressive metal band that was formed in 1999 by a group of school friends. They’ve only released 2 albums in their whole 15 years career, but their music is considered as ground-breaking work in the Bengali metal music scene. What started off as an underground band is now, according to The Daily Star, one of the leading bands in the country. They have inspired an entire generation of Bangladeshi mainstream bands. And they enjoy a cult-like following among rock lovers in their country.