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L Arc En Ciel

A French-named yet Japanese rock act, L'Arc-en-Ciel came together in 1991, formed by bassist Tetsuya Ogawa. The original lineup went astray with two members departing in 1992, but Ogawa (aka Tetsu) was able to rope in new members and continue the band. The band released their full-length debut in April 1993. Entitled Dune, the album reached number one on the independent charts and helped get them a major-label deal with Sony in 1994. In addition to stepping up to the majors, 1994 also saw the band release its second album, Tierra. With momentum in their favor, L'Arc-en-Ciel released their next two albums in as many years, 1995's Heavenly and 1996's True. A 1997 drug bust involving drummer Sakura created a sales backlash against the band, and L'Arc-en-Ciel took a break from the spotlight. With new drummer Yukihiro in tow, the band made a successful comeback with a sellout show in Tokyo later in 1997. The band, back to full strength, returned to the forefront with 1998 album release Heart. A new high-water mark was hit when, in 1999, two L'Arc-en-Ciel albums hit the streets on the same day: Ark and Ray, which occupied the top two spots on the album chart upon their release. 2000's Real would be the band's cue to take a much needed break, with members going off and exploring solo projects and remix work. The band returned in 2003, and by 2004 found themselves at their first North American gig, at a Baltimore anime convention. The American show was eventually released on DVD, and the band went on to sign a U.S. deal with HMV in 2007. While 2005 saw the release of the album Awake and its subsequent tour, L'Arc-en-Ciel went back on hiatus for two years, with members again focusing on solo aspirations. L'Arc-en-Ciel regrouped in 2007, released the album Kiss, and began a tour that was to last from December of that year to February 2008. ~ Chris True

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