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  X-Japan - Art of Life   Katsu BACK TO VIDEO ALBUM


1993-12-31 Live at the Tokyo Dome FROM: Art of Life is a mini album by the Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, released on August 25, 1993 by Atlantic Records. The album consists solely of the 29-minute long orchestrated title track, which was written and composed by Yoshiki entirely in English and recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It topped the Oricon chart and has sold over 600,000 copies. The album is the band's first after changing their name from simply "X" and the first to feature bassist Heath.

Contents [hide]
1 Overview
2 Reception
3 Legacy
4 Personnel
5 References
With the release of two successful studio albums, Blue Blood in 1989 and Jealousy in 1991, X Japan was hugely popular for a metal/rock band in Japan and were selling out the country's largest indoor concert venue, the Tokyo Dome, yearly. But in 1992 bassist Taiji left the group and was replaced by Heath.[1]

Also in 1992, Yoshiki bought a recording studio complex in North Hollywood, California, United States. Known as One on One Recording Studios, it would later be renamed Extasy Recording Studios and become the place where recordings for nearly all his projects takes place.[2] For the release of Art of Life, X Japan left Sony and signed a deal with Atlantic Records, and like the previous album it wasn't completely recorded in Japan or Los Angeles, but in several different places, most notably One on One Recording Studios in the US and Abbey Road Studios in London (orchestra only).[3] The heavily orchestrated piece (recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)[4] comprises several passages of varying speeds and instrumentation, including numerous verses, with no set chorus, several harmonized guitar solos, and eight minutes performed solely on piano. In 2011, Yoshiki recalled that he wrote the song in roughly two weeks and that recording took approximately two years.[5][6] As for the lyrical theme, he said he drew from his own life, particularly from how he felt suicidal when his father died.[6]

The song was unveiled for the first time at a concert at the Nippon Budokan on July 30, 1992.[7] Art of Life was released on August 25, 1993. In the initial counting week of September 1993 it reached number one on the Oricon chart, with sales of 337,490 copies.[8][9] By the end of the year it had sold 513,000 copies and was the 28th best-selling album of the year. However, X Japan only performed two concerts that year, as each member began solo careers.[1] These concerts were held at the Tokyo Dome on December 30 and 31 and titled X Japan Returns, marking the beginning of a New Year's Eve tradition that would last until the group's disbandment. By 2013, Art of Life has sold over 600,000 copies.[10]

In 1998 a live album composed solely of "Art of Life", combined from these two concerts, and titled Art of Life Live was released by Polydor Records, it reached number twenty on the charts.[8] Both concerts were released in their entirety on DVDs in 2008 as X Japan Returns 1993.12.30 and X Japan Returns 1993.12.31, the latter was originally released in 2003 on VHS and DVD as Art of Life 1993.12.31 Tokyo Dome.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[11]
Nick Butler of Sputnikmusic gave Art of Life a perfect 5 out of 5 score and referred to it as "Japan's "Stairway to Heaven" - a multi-layered song with a near-mythical reputation, that crytallizes everything that made the band so great." Feeling that a comparison to Dream Theater's similarly themed A Change of Seasons was inevitable, he stated that "Art of Life" is "more emotional, diverse, intense, impressive, and epic" and that X's members are more technically skilled at their instruments. He finished by praising the track as "undoubtedly, the best song I have ever heard."[11]

Originally, "Art of Life" was only played live a handful of times. The first taking place on July 30, 1992 at the Nippon Budokan and two more at the previously mentioned December 30 and 31, 1993 concerts at the Tokyo Dome.[7] However since reuniting in 2007, X Japan has been performing the song, or parts of it, regularly. First at the band's reunion concert on March 28, 2008 at the Tokyo Dome. For the song a hologram of the deceased hide (created using footage from one of the 1993 performances) played alongside the band, though the song was cut short when Yoshiki collapsed midway through, just before the piano solo.[12][13] The rest of the song was played at the same venue two days later. It was once again played at the Tokyo Dome on May 3, 2009, starting from the second movement, and at the AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong on January 16 (first movement) and 17 (second movement), 2009. The second movement has been played as the last song at every one of their concerts since 2010.

X Japan
Vocals: Toshi
Guitar: Pata
Guitar: hide
Bass: Heath
Drums, piano, synthesizer: Yoshiki
Additional musicians
Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor, strings arrangement, orchestration: Dick Marx
Producer: Yoshiki
Co-producer: Naoshi Tsuda, X[14]
Recording and Mixing engineer: Richard Breen
Strings arrangement, orchestration: Shelly Berg
MIDI programming: Kazuhiko Inada
^ Jump up to: a b "The Jrock Legend: X JAPAN". JRock Revolution. 2007-08-26. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
Jump up ^ Billboard 27 Nov 1999, p. 52
Jump up ^ Jealousy liner notes, 1991.
Jump up ^ Mentioned in Yoshiki's biography YOSHIKI / 佳樹, written by Komatsu Narumi
Jump up ^ "Q&A with X JAPAN at Japan Expo". Retrieved 2013-03-02.
^ Jump up to: a b "Interview with YOSHIKI in Brazil". Retrieved 2013-03-02.
^ Jump up to: a b "Biography, 1992".
^ Jump up to: a b "X JAPANのアルバム売り上げランキング". (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
Jump up ^ "Oricon Weekly Album Chart for the first week of September 1993". (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
Jump up ^ "[Interview]YOSHIKI: “You Have to Force Your Way Through.” (Part One)". Retrieved 2013-09-28.
^ Jump up to: a b Butler, Nick (2005-02-05). "X Japan - Art of Life" (Review). Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
Jump up ^ "Yoshiki Gives His Crowd a Scare". Retrieved 2011-08-21.
Jump up ^ "X Japan: They're huge (really), and they're (finally) coming to the U.S.". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
Jump up ^ "X Japan - Art Of Life". Retrieved 2012-04-27.
[hide] v t e
X Japan
Toshi Yoshiki Pata Heath Sugizo
Terry Tomo Atsushi Eddie Hally Zen Jun Hikaru Kerry Satoru Isao Taiji hide
Vanishing Vision Blue Blood Jealousy Art of Life Dahlia
Live albums
On the Verge of Destruction 1992.1.7 Tokyo Dome Live Live Live Live Tokyo Dome 1993-1996 Live Live Live Extra Live in Hokkaido 1995.12.4 Bootleg Art of Life Live The Last Live
X Singles B.O.X ~Best of X~ Ballad Collection X Japan Singles ~Atlantic Years~ Special Box Single Box Star Box Perfect Best Best ~Fan's Selection~ Complete II The World ~X Japan Hatsu no Zensekai Best~
"I'll Kill You" "Orgasm" "Kurenai" "Endless Rain" "Week End" "Silent Jealousy" "Standing Sex" "Say Anything" "Tears" "Rusty Nail" "Longing ~Togireta Melody~" "Longing ~Setsubou no Yoru~" "Dahlia" "Forever Love" "Crucify My Love" "Scars" "Forever Love (Last Mix)" "The Last Song" "I.V." "Scarlet Love Song" "Jade"
Home video
Xclamation (1987) Xclamation (1988) Thanx Blue Blood Tour Bakuhatsu Sunzen Gig Shigeki! Visual Shock Vol. 2 Celebration Visual Shock Vol. 2.5 Shigeki 2 ~Yume no Nakadakeni Ikite~ Visual Shock Vol. 3 Say Anything ~X Ballad Collection~ Visual Shock Vol. 3.5 On the Verge of Destruction 1992.1.7 Tokyo Dome Live Visual Shock Vol. 4 X Clips Dahlia the Video Visual Shock #5 Part I Dahlia the Video Visual Shock #5 Part II Dahlia Tour Final 1996 X Japan Clips II The Last Live Video Art of Life 1993.12.31 Tokyo Dome Aoi Yoru Shiroi Yoru Aoi Yoru Shiroi Yoru Complete Edition X Japan Returns 1993.12.30 X Japan Returns 1993.12.31 X Japan Returns Complete Edition X Japan Showcase in L.A. Premium Prototype The Last Live Complete Edition
Related articles
Discography Extasy Records S.K.I.N.
Categories: X Japan albumsX Japan songsAlbums certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of JapanSongs written by Yoshiki (musician)English-language Japanese songs1993 songsSymphonic metal songsProgressive metal songs
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