Fallen Angels

Hi, folks. This is Cayce. Remember us? It's been a long time, we know. And we're sorry. Last year, we never would have guessed how long our health troubles would drag on, or how painful and draining it would be. It's been a hard lesson in how healing can't be rushed, and how sometimes, the only remedy is rest. We'd like to thank all of you who sent well-wishes and words of support (not to mention Ko-fi!) We were very sorry to let you all down, so thanks for not holding it against us. We'll try to get back to a more regular blogging schedule, but updates might be fewer till we're fully recovered. We have to see how it goes.

But oh, how it goes! The goings-on in Buck-Tickistan are multiplying just like dollies or those sci-fi monsters in "Madman Blues"! New single!? New tribute album!!!? New Uno Aquirax artwork!!!!? UFO sightings!!!!!??? After a quiet and leisurely summer, in Buck-Tickistan, things are heating up just as the weather cools down.


Fallen Angels

On the night of the golden glowing full moon, Fish Tank announced that Buck-Tick will be releasing their 38th single, entitled Datenshi ("Fallen Angels"), on January 29th, 2020. The single will contain two new songs: "Datenshi," with lyrics by Sakurai Atsushi and music by Imai Hisashi, "Luna Park," with lyrics by Sakurai Atsushi and music by Hoshino Hidehiko (please send him a letter of congratulations on asserting himself enough to make it onto a single!) The limited edition of the single will contain a bonus live track from the Day in Question 2019, as well as a DVD/BluRay with the music video for "Datenshi." The prices are as follows:

Limited Edition A (with BluRay) - 2618 yen including tax
Limited Edition B (with DVD) - 2068 yen including tax
Regular Edition - 1100 yen including tax

There's no further info about the single as yet, so now's the time to sit tight and make wild predictions about the cover art and vibe of the songs. Fallen angels is a theme Buck-Tick have worked with extensively, which runs very deep in its metaphysical meanings and ties to the rest of the band's work. Imai has explored the character of Lucifer as a fallen angel in a number of songs, including "Tenshi wa Dare da" and Lucy's "Lucifer a Go Go" (for those of you who don't know this one, check it out, it's a goodie.) He tends to paint Lucifer in a positive light, as an independent thinker and seeker of freedom, wanting to experience the sensuality of physical life to the full. This is a big theme throughout Imai's lyrics - in "Dokudanjou Beauty" he encourages everyone to indulge in the sensual world "like God's not watching." As we have discussed previously, while Buck-Tick do not actually espouse Satanism as a religion, their work does align with certain positive Satanist values, such as embracing one's physical, animal nature, and freely indulging in the senses without shame or guilt.

Sakurai has also worked with these themes, such as in "Bi Neo Universe," but often, in his lyrics, the fallen angel image grows a shade darker in his hands, a lament for a forgotten connection with spiritual oneness, the so-called "Fall from Eden," into a world rife with violence, cruelty, and suffering. We can see this in songs like "Devil's Wings," "Rakuen," and "Cain." The question of why people hurt one another has become an increasingly important one in Sakurai's work over the years, and especially on No. 0. But on a more existential level, Sakurai has used the fallen angel image to explore the nature of physical existence. Who are we, really, and how did we get here, and where do we go when we die, he asks. Nearly all religious and spiritual traditions tell of the existence of an immortal spirit or soul which survives physical death. Death is seen as a gateway, a transition, or a return to a higher plane of consciousness, which is often described as the angelic realm. 

In the Japanese Buddhist tradition, souls reincarnate many times in order to hone love, wisdom and compassion against the pain of the three-dimensional physical world. In each life, the soul must temporarily lose its memories of its previous lifetimes and realms beyond, in order to make a fresh start and get the most out of each new life of experience. Buddhism is not a mono-theistic religion - anyone who attains a high enough level of spiritual enlightenment becomes a Buddha, and it is believed that the process of seeking this enlightenment takes many lifetimes. From this perspective, the idea of the fallen angel could be seen as an allegory for the human condition.

Another common association with the fallen angel image is the biblical Nephilim, a group of angels who descended from heaven to breed with human women, and were thus banned from returning to heaven. The story of the Nephilim appears to go back long before Christianity, and is widely beloved in the goth subculture, not least because it ties in with myths from ancient Egypt, Babylon, and Sumeria, and the purported lost civilizations of Atlantis and Lemuria, about visitors from the stars or higher planes of reality who visited Earth to share their highly advanced knowledge, spiritual wisdom, mathematics and technology with the human race. Buck-Tick have never made reference to the Nephilim, but this same ancient esoteric knowledge is also associated with Medieval alchemy (for more on alchemy and B-T, see this article) and the secrets of the Order of the Rosy Cross (for more on the Rosicrucians and B-T, see the translation notes for Rozen Kreuzer), so there's at least a vague, tangential connection.

All in all, given the fact that Buck-Tick's recent work has been exploding exponentially into previously unplumbed depths of layered symbolism, this single is sure to offer us a lot to chew on.

As for the b-side, "Luna Park," this is another image that has appeared in B-T's work before, specifically, the lyrics to "Steppers -Parade-". From our translation notes on the song:

"Luna Park is a now-defunct international amusement park chain.  A Luna Park opened in Tokyo in 1910, but burned down a year later under suspicious circumstances and was reconstructed in the Shinsekai district of Osaka, where it operated between 1912 and 1923.  The only remainder of the park that still stands today is the Tsutenkaku Tower, still a major Osaka landmark."

To us, the Luna Park idea conjures an image of an amusement park at night - something secret, mysterious, Alice in Wonderland trippy, maybe something not entirely of this reality, like Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, or a place into which only those who know the secrets of the place may enter. Sakurai loves carnival, masquerade and amusement park imagery (see "Shanikusai -Carnival-," "masQue," and "Rasenchuu," to name a few), and has spoken at length in recent interviews about the image of the circus and how he feels it fits his life as a traveling performer, putting on shows and creating fantasy worlds for his audiences. 

The moon is one of the strongest images in Sakurai's work, representing the Yin in the Yin-Yang - the dark, the mysterious, the secret, the unknown/unknowable, the unconscious, inner journeys, magic, and the Divine Feminine. For a band made up of five dudes, Buck-Tick are massively into the Divine Feminine... after all, this is the band who would win the "Most Visual Allegories for Giant Vaginas Used as Stage Sets" award, if there were such an award (noobs to Buck-Tickistan, check out "Devil'n Angel" from the Arui wa Anarchy hall tour, "El Dorado" from the Atom Miraiha hall tour, and Sakurai's performance of "Yokan" at the Ai no Wakusei Explosion tour to see what we mean). We feel certain that both aspects of the title's symbolism - both the circus and the moon - will surface in this song in some way.

Anyway, that was far too much information about a single whose cover art hasn't been released yet, and we were going to write about Parade III in this post, too, but realized it's far too much material to cover all in one night. So we'll leave you for now with this lovely Luna Park flying saucer image, dredged up from the dreamworld of the internet by one of our lovely readers. Just make sure to not be that guy (you know which one). Or you might end up a fallen angel.

Why no Luna Park music video? We demand spooky amusement parks and we won't take no for an answer.


Also: anyone interested in ordering Datenshi, Locus Solus, or the Fish Tanker's Only 2018 DVD through us, feel free to contact us anytime. If you enjoyed this post, please consider buying us a Ko-Fi. Months of illness has done a number on our finances and every little bit helps.


  1. Oh Cayce, welcome back and thank you for spoiling us with your wonderful writing. You have been missed :)

  2. She's back! Great to read your insights again, Cayce! When I saw the lineup for the Parade III album, I thought you would be pleased with it.


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