Formed in Tokyo in 1981, ANTHEM
emerged with hot and intense performances and made their major debut in 1985 with the album "ANTHEM". After touring extensively, ANTHEM expanded their popularity with their second album, "TIGHTROPE" (1986), and finally entered the U.S. market with their third album, "BOUND TO BREAK" (1987). Shortly after that, a member change occurred, and vocalist Eizo Sakamoto left the band. He was replaced by Yukio Morikawa (vo), who had outstanding singing ability, and the band released two excellent albums in rapid succession, the 4th "GYPSY WAYS" (1988) and the 5th "HUNTING TIME" (1989). In 1990, their 6th album "NO SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE" was completed. Soon after, a change of guitarist took place. The band held auditions for a long time and came across a then 21-year-old newcomer, Akio Shimizu (g). Impressed by Shimizu's talent, leader Shibata decided to complete the album with Shimizu and disband the band. 1992, after the completion of the 7th album "DOMESTIC BOOTY" and its accompanying tour, the band announced its dissolution.
The band leader Shibata revived the name "ANTHEM" with the idea of "Graham Bonnet singing ANTHEM songs on the album". This project, in which Shibata, Shimizu, and others recorded new backing tracks and Graham sang, was released in 2000 as the album "Heavy Metal Anthem" and toured Japan. This sparked a longing among fans for an "ANTHEM reunion", and Shibata began to seriously explore the possibility of an ANTHEM reunion.
Shibata decided not to "reunite" the old band members out of nostalgia, but rather to create new music and push forward as a "band living in the present" if they were to restart. For this purpose, Shibata first approached Akio Shimizu (g), whose talent was highly regarded. He then called in Eizo Sakamoto (vo) and Daishi Honma (ds), who had expressed a desire to join the group.
Starting with "SEVEN HILLS" in 2001, the band released "OVERLOAD" (2002), "ETERNAL WARRIOR" (2004), "IMMORTAL" (2006), "BLACK EMPIRE" (2008), "HERALDIC DEVICE" (2010), and 6 studio albums in total. The band has released a total of 6 studio albums, proving itself to be an "active band" in terms of both productions and tours.
After 11 years of remaining active with the same members and standing at the top of the Japanese metal scene, the band moved to a new record company in order to further strengthen their activities. The album "BURNING OATH" was released in 2012. The drums are played by guest musician Isamu Tamaru on all but one track. In 2013, the band held a session with vocalist Yukio Morikawa, who had been a vocalist in the second period after their debut, at an event. Shibata was again impressed by his singing ability and passion for music.
At the end of 2013, Shibata and Sakamoto (vo) had a discussion about the future of the band and decided to change the vocalist. They decided to welcome Morikawa back to the band. At the same time, the band welcomed Tamaru, who had supported the band for a long time, as an official member, thus completing the new lineup of Naoto Shibata, Akio Shimizu, Yukio Morikawa, and Isamu Tamaru, which is said to be the strongest in ANTHEM's history. The band completed their 15th album "ABSOLUTE WORLD", a heavy metal album representing the year 2014, with songs that could have been labeled as representative of the year and a sound quality that was uncanny.
The following year, 2015, marked the 30th anniversary of the band's formation and the 30th ANNIVERSARY TOUR was a great success, followed by the release of the 16th album "ENGRAVED" in 2017. In February 2018, they released a documentary video work "ATTITUDE 2017 -Live and documents-" covering their activities in 2017, the most intense year in recent years. In July, the 30th anniversary of the release of their fourth album "GYPSY WAYS" and the metal festival "HEADSTRONG FES.18" presided over by Anthem were held. Kiichi Takahashi, an original member of the band, has revived SABBRABELLS and others, giving intense performances in Kawasaki, Nagoya, and Osaka.
Two video works, "METAL MAN RISING," a live performance commemorating the 60th anniversary of leader Naoto Shibata's birth in June of this year, and HEADSTRONG FES.18 -ANTHEM/SABBRABELLS- held in the summer, were also released on December 12, 2012. ANTHEM was released on December 12 this year.
ANTHEM also signed a contract with Nuclear Blast, a German label specializing in metal music, as the first Japanese band to do so. The best album "NUCLEUS" with all English lyrics was released worldwide on March 29, 2019! The album will be released on "Nuclear Blast" in Europe, "Golden Robot Records" in North America/Australia/New Zealand, and "Ward Records" in Japan/Asia, and will participate in the "Keep It True Festival" in Germany in April. In April, they will participate in the "Keep It True Festival" in Germany.
In 2020, ANTHEM will celebrate the 35th anniversary of their debut, and in addition to a large-scale anniversary tour in Japan, they plan to participate in several rock festivals outside of Japan, expanding their area of activity.
Please keep an eye out for ANTHEM, who will continue to be at the forefront of the scene with even more vigorous activities in their 35th year of debut!
Band image from their Official Home Page