In Greek mythology Cocytus [kōkūtos], the river of wailing, is one of the five rivers encircling Hades. In Dante’s Inferno Cocytus
[/kocitós/] is the ninth and lowest depth of hell. In Nagoya, Japan, Cocytus are an odd mix of five local twenty-somethings grinding out a sound teeming with the attitude of hardcore punk and a heart of heavy metal.
A rarity in a male dominated genre, Cocytus are three-fifths female, including their heavily tattooed frontwoman, Kaori. A tattoo artist by trade, her life is art and her music is a further outlet of her self-expression. Her tough and scary image masks a joking personality and a life left behind as a hip-hop dancer. Cocytus’ rhythm section fills out the female ranks with further rejection of the conventions of heavy music. The rumbling low end is handed out like a smack to your crack by diminutive, maid-outfit sporting bass player Tottie. Her ferocity is further fused in the forge via the explosive beats of hard-hitting drum superhero Miss Yukki. The male contingent of Cocytus consists of prolific main songwriter Bu-chan, a former devotee to the dark arts of visual kei and a recent convert to the right side of the force who, prior to joining the band, had never listened to metal. Not to be forgotten is the reserved and thoughtful Ucchi, who was raised on a diet of 80s thrash metal such as Metallica and Megadeth and guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen.
The band universally agrees that they are currently influenced by modern acts such as As I Lay Dying as well as Black Veil Brides. They even had their picture published on the band’s website for their splitting image 2012 Halloween tribute. The band’s greatest asset is the friendship of the members. This bond between individuals from such seemingly different Japanese subcultures goes uncompromisingly against the grain, as does their music. From the crazy titles such as ‘Metal Milk’ to the more serious ‘ReBirth’, the band won’t be stapled down to a particular viewpoint or stereotyped sound. With all English lyrics spewed out amidst punk-rock attitude and grindcore disgust, further held together by all girl harmonies and thumping heavy grooves, Cocytus truly sets themselves apart.
After being together for two years the band look towards playing major festivals such as Summer Sonic and Loud Park in the future but in the meantime you can catch them in Nagoya playing local venues or on their YouTube channel. They’ll be playing shows in August and September around Nagoya so keep checking their blog and their official website for details. -stoltobot