RIZE / PINK SPIDER / November 22, 2006

If hide’s stint as the lead guitarist of the most popular Japanese rock band, X Japan (now defunct), didn’t earn him a name in his home country of Japan, than his death most certainly did. It’s an old cliche that one can earn more money as a rock star if dead, and while that has certainly proven true for many before, the question is, does this apply to hide? And what does any of this have to do with RIZE? RIZE was brought to my attention during one of my more bored moments of deciding to browse hide’s official site, now less than a shred of what it used to be. The site had plenty of banners advertising yet another re-release (the best albums, the box collections, they’re all getting a bit redundant at this point; and consequently, money grubbing on the part of the record company), this time of his single PINK SPIDER. “PINK SPIDER” is a song riddled in controversy, mostly because of its supine connotations of involvement in hide’s suicide. Without going into too much detail (you can always Wiki it), one of the largest ongoing debates among fans surrounding the iconic Japanese punk rocker is the meaning behind his ill-fated suicide: was it intentional or merely an accident? To this day, the question remains unanswered, the realm where it will most likely stay buried forever.

So what does “PINK SPIDER” have to do with any of that? When fans are split amongst themselves on the debate, the side in favor of arguing the utmost intention behind hide’s act point out both the lyrics and video for “PINK SPIDER,” both which discuss and depict themes of suicide. Claiming this was a “suicide letter” of sorts, the song has become one of the most popular in hide’s discography, particularly due to its official release and subsequent pre-recorded television performances aired just days after his funeral. As such, “PINK SPIDER” is arguably his most cherished and legendary pieces of work alongside “ever free,” another post-suicide release.

So you can imagine the shoes RIZE has to fill, which does nothing but confuse me as to why they thought they could release a cover of the classic. Aside from the official tribute CD to hide, arranged by former band mate Yoshiki and comprised of bands close to hide in his career (OBLIVION DUST, Luna Sea, to name two), nobody has really come close in attempt to covering his songs officially (I am not counting remixes or those piano and guitar solo compilations). As expected, RIZE lives up to none of the standards set up for them. Their cover of “PINK SPIDER” is nothing but a mediocre guitar jam, serving no purpose than to once again allow the record company to re-release hide’s official single in conjunction and bring some dirty promotion to the band themselves, whose own songs on the single are as equally in need of fixing. Admittedly their songs are something like hide’s own solo work; rock with a tinge of ska thrown in and some punk rock influence. Maybe even the lead singer shares some similar nasal quality that reflected hide’s own distinct vocals, but ultimately, this is a terrible let down and further endorses the truth behind a pretty sad sentiment; maybe he is acheiving more popularity and money after his death, or at least some businessmen certainly are.

Official Site