Hi, I'm now living in Japan and I must say Malice Mizer was certainly a component of the culture that attracted me here. They look awesome I think, the way an alien rock band should look. They were one of the most influential bands in terms of creating the Visual Kei imagery, the gothic lolita style of dressing and the warped androgyny. But!
Their music is "blah".
Oh what a shame, it would've been so nice if they could shred, but I'm sure they were all so busy applying their mascara that they didn't have time to practice their pentatonics. They are very much like the dozens of J-Rock bands that followed them, in that they are as likely to do a rock number as a synthy pop Brittney piece and then a cringeworthy ballad. Ugh!
I wouldn't classify them musically as Goth, although the look is there. As much as I adore Steve Vai's music, I love the fact that he looks like a hyper rock star too. It's the whole package and it works beautifully. Of course, I love Satch's more laidback coolness, but Malice is lacking in a vital department: the music.
Dude, I can honestly say a big fat "NO!", in terms of recommendations. I had been listening to MTV Japan for the first month or so that I was here and the one good thing about them is that they play all styles of music, not just chart pop crap. But really - everything is just bland. Japanese hip hop was particularly grim.
I will say that Gackt, ex lead singer of Malice Mizer, is certainly fascinating, if only because he is more alien than Steve Vai. I have actually enjoyed a few of his pieces, but having five men dressed up as Hello Kitty characters, and dancing on stage with him at one of his concerts hurt my head. The next song he did was a sensitive ballad, and the next was dark gothic metal. Eclectic is one thing, borderling schizophrenic is another! My good friend Sarah put up an interesting movie of him here: