Noisecreep readers are familiar with X Japan, since we've been covering them since their American invasion last year. Easily the biggest rock band in Japanese history, they're also making the commitment to break through in the US market. To help further that goal, X Japan have signed with EMI Music to release new material in North America. The first release under the new agreement will be the song 'Jade,' which will be available on March 15. The band's American debut is set for a summer 2011 release.

X Japan -- who are comprised of band leader/producer/songwriter/drummer Yoshiki, vocalist Toshi, guitarist Pata, violinist/guitarist Sugizo and bassist Heath -- are in the studio putting the finishing touches on the album, which will be their first new studio platter since 1996.

Half of the songs will be culled from some of the band's gold and platinum Japanese singles; the other half are brand-new songs. An estimated 95 percent of the lyrics are being sung in English, which is a challenge for the band given the heftiness of the language.

"Some of the songs on this new album were originally written with Japanese lyrics," explained Yoshiki, who composed music for Japan's emperor. "So translating them into English has been challenging. For some reason, English needs more words, so I ended up re-writing many of the lyrics but kept the same message."

Most of the album has been recorded in Los Angeles at Yoshiki's own studio, which is the same studio where Metallica recorded its classic self-titled album. Artists ranging from Van Halen to Michael Jackson to Kiss also recorded there before Yoshiki bought it and turned it into a private facility.

Yoshiki, who lives in Los Angeles, traveled to Japan a handful of times to record with the rest of the band residing at home. They're also taking advantage of digital means at their disposal, as some of the album has been recorded live over the Internet.

Added Yoshiki, "X Japan's music is everything from fast, super-heavy rock to ballads with classical piano -- all of those elements are what makes X Japan's music. We don't play just one kind of music -- we want to take people on a journey."

Noisecreep will be along for the ride with X Japan this summer, as they plan to tour extensively this summer. Their first American show was last August at Lollapalooza. Meanwhile they filled a 55,000 seat venue in Japan a record 18 -- yes, 18 -- times.

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