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Formed in 1991, L'Arc～en～Ciel is one of the most popular rock bands from Japan. The band consists of vocalist hyde, leader and bassist tetsu, guitarist ken, and drummer yukihiro, who replaced drummer sakura in 1997. At their start in Osaka, Japan, they previously had guitarist hiro and drummer pero. All four members are established composers which adds to the variety in their songs. Their music ranges from ballads to hard rock to light pop-rock tunes.
Their first major single 'Blurry Eyes' released in 1994 was used as the theme for the anime DNA². In late 1996, L'Arc～en～Ciel gained worldwide attention for the first time after the release of their fourth album, True. This album includes the single 'the Fourth Avenue Cafe', which was used as an ending theme for the anime Rurouni Kenshin. sakura (the drummer at the time) was arrested for drug possession and all L'Arc～en～Ciel merchandise was removed from shelves; 'the Fourth Avenue Cafe' single was not released and the song was removed from the anime.
sakura left the band in 1997, and yukihiro replaced him for the REINCARNATION concerts that year and served as a support drummer on their first single after the incident, Niji. With that, yukihiro officially joined the band and in 1998 they released the album HEART.
After the release of their eighth album, REAL in 2000, L'Arc～en～Ciel went on a hiatus, only releasing compilation CDs, aside from their 2001 single 'Spirit dreams inside -another dream-', the theme for the CG animated Final Fantasy movie. They each engaged in their own projects - yukihiro with the band acid android, ken (and former L'Arc drummer sakura) with SONS OF ALL PUSSYS, HYDE with his solo project, and tetsu as TETSU69. On March 31th, 2004, L'Arc~en~Ciel released SMILE, their first new album in four years.
On July 31st, 2004, L'Arc～en～Ciel performed their first concert in the United States at 'Otakon,' a Japanese animation convention. They performed for an audience of more than 12,000 in Baltimore, Maryland.
They are best known outside Japan as the band behind the Fullmetal Alchemist song, 'READY STEADY GO', which was the anime's second opening theme, and 'Link', which was the theme song for the FMA movie, 'Conqueror of Shamballa'. These songs gained them new fans and attention to their album, SMILE, which was released in the US by US label Tofu Records, and single Link.
After more than a year since SMILE, they released AWAKE on June 22, 2005, which was accompanied by ASIALIVE, L'Arc～en～Ciel's first tour to take them to Korea and China, and the Japan-only tour AWAKE.
The year 2006 was the band's 15th anniversary. It was marked by a boxset of books called 'L'Arc～en～Ciel BOX', re-releases of their first 15 singles and the albums ark and ray, and L'Anniversary concerts held on November 25th and 26th. They also finally released the Fourth Avenue Cafe, the single canceled nearly 10 years prior, as part of their 15th anniversary celebrations.
2007 saw increased activity for the band, with the release of four singles (including another anime theme, DAYBREAK'S BELL for Mobile Suit Gundam 00), four DVDs, an album, and the start of two back-to-back tours. First was TOUR 2007-2008 THEATER OF KISS in Japan, followed by L'7 ～trans ASIA via PARIS～. The latter tour took them through Shanghai, Taiwan, Paris, Seoul, Hong Kong, and then back to Japan for shows in Tokyo and Osaka. At the end of this tour it was announced that the band would not tour again until their 20th anniversary in 2011. The band, however, says they're not on hiatus.
In 2008, two singles have been released, DRINK IT DOWN in april and the double a-side NEXUS 4 / SHINE in august, proving they still have much to show us musically, and so with their 11 albums and 35 singles L'Arc～en～Ciel continue to gather more and more fans throughout the world.
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