X Japan is a Japanese heavy metal band founded in 1982 by Yoshiki and Toshi. Originally named X, the group achieved their breakthrough success in 1989 with the release of their second album Blue Blood. They started out as a power/speed metal band and later gravitated towards a progressive sound, at all times retaining an emphasis on ballads. Their sound is extremely raw, sometimes countered by the incorporation of classical style piano passages and vocal melodies. They have well-developed[peacock term] percussion parts and often use harmonized guitar riffs and solos.
Besides being one of the first Japanese acts to achieve mainstream success while on an independent label, the group is widely credited as one of the pioneers of the visual kei movement. They were known in their early years for their excessively large hairstyles resembling fountains, but toned these down in later years. A 2007 press release stated that the band has sold "more than 20 million combined albums and singles", while a 2010 press release stated that they have sold "more than 30-million albums, singles, and videos", a figure which subsequently appeared in many North American news stories of the time.
After sixteen years, four albums, and selling out the 55,000 seat Tokyo Dome 18 times, X Japan disbanded in 1997. The band did not perform or record any material for another 10 years. However, in 2007, the band reunited and performed live for the first time since their break-up. After performing concerts throughout Asia from 2007 to 2009, the band performed their first North American tour from September 25 to October 10, 2010. They also plan to release their first studio album in more than 14 years in 2011.