Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or are not overly familiar with the world of ‘Alt-Idol’, then you have probably heard of BiS.
Brand New Idol Society (commonly referred to as BiS) formed in 2010, they were once considered one of the most notorious idol groups in Japan, who’s adventures include running nude through Aokigahara, Japan’s famed ‘Suicide Forest’ in 2011, covering themselves in fake semen for a magazine photo shoot in 2014 and the controversial ‘DiET or DiE’ documentary, where founding member (and often considered founder of Alt-idol) Pour Lui was told to lose weight or be suspended from the group in 2017, a stunt that would catch the attention of the Huffington Post and would result in a public apology by BiS manager and WACK creator Watanabe Junnosuke.
BiS disbanded in 2014, were reformed in 2016 with a new lineup and will now disband again on 11 May, which was decided at the WACK Exhibition, during the 2019 installation of the often-traumatic WACK Audition Camp.
Though the current BiS lineup is a very different group than the last, with a less-extreme image and less desire to cause trouble, they remain the flagship group of WACK and are held as alt-idol icons – this is clear with their most recent and possibly last release under the current lineup, Are you ready? – which is being referred to as BiS’ ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and even their swansong.
Are you ready? is BiS’ 9th major single, combining the previous BiS1st & BiS2nd sub-groups to provide an 11.47 minute, chaotic mix of genres, starting with a nice, calming ballad style intro, leading into an industrial punk sound , a short 80’s-styled synth-pop segment, evolving into an almost-psychedelic lo-fi rattle, before exploding into an aggressive death metal and then ending on a powerful, My Chemical Romance’s Welcome To The Black Parade style power ballad climax, where the members unify their vocals – it is truly impressive to behold and given the group’s unsteady career, it feels somewhat fitting.
The music video is just as wild as the song, with the members murdering their manager Watanabe Junnosuke in an industrial factory, as either a rebellion against their working conditions or a drug-fueled frenzy, to an 80’s-style VHS home video, to straddling a phallic-style life-size rubber doll, to a bizarre mannequin-style dance routine on a Tokyo rooftop, to a funeral-style interlude before the girls reach the climax of the song, riding a tank into what appears to be an open salt mine – as I say, it is truly impressive to behold.
It will be sad to see BiS disband once again, given the current lineup has felt the strongest yet, but never one to let his flagship group complete, Watanabe Junnosuke has announced that he plans to hold auditions this month to reform BiS with its third line-up.
Are you ready? is now available for purchase, for example at CD Japan.