Japan's Earliest Metal Bands
It can also include rock, but metal would be a plus!

Bowwow is the one that instantly comes to mind. They formed in 1975, released their self-titled debut album in 1976, and then were fortunate enough to open for Aerosmith and Kiss in 1978 during their Japanese tours. A band that predated even Loudness. Even Lars Ulrich admitted that he and the rest of the guys in Metallica would play their tunes on local radio stations before the release of Kill 'Em All. How cool is that?
Scheherazade is an early one. I guess they're more prog/hard rock though. They splintered off into Novela, Starless, etc.

Flower Travellin' Band is another one (early 70s). Damn, I haven't even checked them out yet. I totally fail at life lol
Flower Travellin Band, Nokemono, Bow Wow, Heavy Metal Army had albums with some metal on it, especially Nokemono though. A couple songs from Novela's La Songerie were metal as well as a couple songs from George Murasaki and Mariner's Mariner One album. Loudness' debut came out in 1981. Marino as well as Ivory Gate and Tokyo X-Ray had demos out between 1979-1981 too. The pre-Anthem band Black Hole existed in this period too, not sure how metal they were yet, and in 1976, Action's Yoshiro Takahashi had a band called Sansuikan that put out a demo with songs that later became Action! songs. After Loudness the scene exploded completely.

Edit: Oh, and Lazy turned very metallic too, right before they made Loudness.
I definitely remember Flower Travellin' Band, but I have yet to check them out!
Painkiller get "Satori" by Flower Travellin' Band, great proto metal band heavy Blue Cheer influence.
Flower Travellin' Band is probably the earliest, but as others have mentioned, they weren't exactly a full on metal band. More of a mix of Sabbath-y heavy blues, hard prog, and psych. Murasaki is another early one which would more or less fall into the hard rock category, but not really any more than some of Bow Wow's earliest work.
For the sake of the thread I might as well elaborate on a few that I listed off earlier. Here's an early metal song from progressive rock group Novela, one of the heaviest songs they would ever make, shortly preceding their guitarist, bassist and drummer leaving to form Action!. I think it's really cool because it's nearly as heavy as an early Loudness song, and preceded their debut by a year, in addition to being a great song. Night With no Name off the same album is also quite good. From 1980.

And then off of the tiny island of Okinawa, Heavy Metal Army whose only album also came out in 1981, they might have been the first Japanese metal act with the whole Nazi image going on too, though they were very far from visual kei. Despite the stupid Nazi gimmick the album had some great songs, and feature some of my favorite Japanese musicians, Murasaki's drummer and their current vocalist, as well as Shinki Sugama from rock band Condition Green, Yuki Nakajima who played in Carmen Maki's band for a while, and Kyoji Yamamoto as a guest guitarist. Shinki was always super underrated as a guitarist, insanely talented guy.
Just uploaded this one, George Murasaki and Mariner's Demon King from the album Mariner One, released in 1979.
I forgot Sansuikan too, the pre-Action/Novela band. They had a demo with future Action songs in the mid 70s. Literally just found some of their music, it's a super early version of their well known 100,000 Volt, very heavy for its time:
I can say it wasn't Loudness, or Seikima II. Lazy predates Loudness (Takasaki was one of their members then), and Seikima II is early 80s. Who is considered historically as the first true Japanese metal band?
(Izumi Sakai)
~Death is Not the End of Love~

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