The alternative idols from South Korea X!DENT make their debut with three haunting songs where metal sound and idol culture meet.
In discussing what to review with Vlakorados, I was given a very pleasant surprise: information on the group X!DENT, a trio of girls hailing from South Korea, had recently dropped a debut single. The excitement grew further when I read on their bandcamp that they’re Seoul’s first metal idol unit (holy cow!), set on integrating their sound in the country’s famous idol culture. Composed of members HUYU, Xii, and S3ARU — who we got to know through an in-depth interview — they dropped X!DENT on June 9th.
The single contains three tracks. The first, aptly titled “Intro”, is an instrumental that sets the gothic atmosphere the rest of the set contains. By mixing sound effects like dial tone, ticking — and even a gunshot at the end — over the organ-like music, you’re fully consumed by the track’s dark nature. The following track, “X!dent”, briefly continues the feeling of the previous song before diving straight into heavy metal. Using both Korean and English lyrics, the vocals are rich and deep, with a near haunting style of delivery. At the 1:15 mark we’re introduced to a classic style of growled vocals which are always such a treat to hear from idol groups. They’re never overused, either– instead, they’re given a set verse that allows it to shine.
For me, the stand out track is the last one, “Candle”. It immediately opens with a nu-metal flair and I absolutely love how prevalent the sound of the bass guitar is. The vocal delivery here is especially ghostly in that there’s a soft edge to them. The chorus — which is super catchy — adds a funeral dirge-like atmosphere to an already dark picture. The verse the screamer gets is especially grim and completely in English — I feel it’s worth noting that the skills these girls have in multiple languages both in music (including Japanese, as they cover various Japanese groups at their live shows) and when communicating with fans is very impressive.
With this debut, X!DENT are a promising trio to keep your eye on. I’m familiar with the difficulty metal musicians have when it comes to trying to gain footing in South Korea. However, I feel as though I can say these girls have a bright future ahead of them in being not only the premiere metal idol unit, but also in leading the way for more musical possibilities for Korean idols. Let’s show them the support to grow even bigger!
Let’s get to know X!DEN†, a gothic-themed trio trying to bring some darkness into the South Korean idol scene! Their first album is also coming soon!
Remember when last year I started wondering if there could be an alternative idol scene in South Korea and ended up finding nothing really interesting? Well, it looks like my prayers have been answered just a few months later. On the first day of this year, dark idol trio X!DEN† (X!DEN†) unveiled their members and now they are getting ready to release their first album. We had a chat with these girls who are bringing some darkness into the polished South Korean idol scene.
Please introduce yourselves.
S3ARU: My name is S3ARU, a producer of X!DEN†. My official color is red.
HUYU: I’m HUYU (후유), my official color is white.
Xii: My name is Xii (시이, she-e), and I’m a purple cursed doll in X!DEN†.
Please tell us how X!DEN† was formed.
S3ARU: I wanted to make some unique idol group. Since there was no such idol concept that I like in Korea, I decided to make it on my own.
What is the meaning of your group’s name?
S3ARU: I was a former member of XidenX, so I modified it a bit. Like an idol who makes lots of trouble, like an accident in your heart kind of [laughs].
What is the concept behind X!DEN†?
S3ARU: Right now, we are trying some gothic/metal concept. But it can be changed anytime.
How did you decide to join X!DEN†?
HUYU: I noticed there is an underground idol scene in Korea as well, so I got interested in it. And that moment,
S3ARU contacted me so I decided to join X!DEN†.
Xii: Truth to be told, I didn’t have a plan to join an idol group. But S3ARU once told me “why don’t you join our group? It will be fun” and I thought “Okay, why not” [laughs]. It indeed seemed fun and it IS FUN.
How would you describe the music of X!DEN†?
X!DEN†: We tried to integrate metal and idolish music, which is quite unusual in Korea. We do love metal music so we were so excited when we first listened to our song.
S3ARU: Main themes would be ‘gothic novel’ I would say. I wrote them in the middle of the night, they just popped up to my mind. It was the first time I wrote lyrics. Since I love classic gothic novels, I tried to put it in the lyrics. But it was not easy to match with the melody.
How would you describe the live shows of X!DEN†?
S3ARU: No matter how talented you are, if you are having fun and the audience also enjoys it, then that’s it. I would like to impress them with the breathtaking atmosphere but don’t know how our fans will take it [laughs].
HUYU & Xii: The shows that both us and the audiences can enjoy. Sounds typical but this is the truth.
Did you have the chance to play live? If so, how was the response of the audience to your performance?
S3ARU: To be honest, I was so nervous so I don’t quite remember 😂 but in our next show, I would like to deliver my true emotion to the audience.
HUYU & Xii: On our first show, they seemed quite shocked because of our look. Most of the idols in Korea are more like cute and girly, but we were quite the opposite. We growl in our show, and the make-up as well is different I would say. But when we started our show, the audience really liked it. I feel so grateful for that until now. And felt more confident in our group.
The South Korean idols most people know are the mainstream ones, with their extremely polished looks and music. On the other hand, X!DEN†‘s approach is darker, and doesn’t seem to fit the South Korean mainstream style, but it’s the living proof that a different kind of idols can exist in your country. How is the underground idol scene in South Korea?
X!DEN†: We are trying to make the scene. “This kind of idol DOES exist in South Korea!” Kind of. Our scene is quite small but there are some fans that are really into this underground culture. There are several live shows every month and most of them are sold out all the time. So I would say it is going pretty well.
How are you dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, as an underground idol group?
X!DEN†: There are some regulations of course, so we do the online live stream. And even at the live show, everyone strictly sticks to the rules so it is really safe. Yes, we are doing alright.
If you had the chance to organize a live show around the world, in which countries would you love to hold it?
HUYU & Xii: I would say Japan of course, because the culture itself is rooted there. I would like to experience the atmosphere.
Xii: Otherwise it would be the US. It is a big country so more diversity.
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