[Other] Dir En Grey
#1
Easily one of my favourite bands and one of Japan's internationally well known acts. They've been around for almost 2 decades now and have retained the same super-talented lineup the entire time (Kyo on vocals, Kaoru and Die on guitars, Toshiya on bass, and Shinya on drums). Sonically, the band is pretty hard to pinpoint and they've switched their sound up multiple times throughout their career. In a nutshell, you could sum up their evolution as visual kei/j-rock --> nu-metal --> progressive/experimental metal/deathcore although that leaves out a lot of nuance. Anyways their last album, Arche, is one of my favourite albums of all time, and they have plenty of other amazing albums under their belt.

Here's some randomly assorted songs throughout their career (warning some NFSW imagery at times).



Occasionally, I write Western and Japanese music reviews.
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#2
Blocked by default in the US, but here's the video promo edit of the newest single.
Occasionally, I write Western and Japanese music reviews.
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#3
The only song I ever got in to by them was Ain't Afraid to Die. You can thank X Japan for making me into a huge power ballad fanatic. That song was also the least DeG-styled track they ever did. But it was a good song. I knew of DeG long before they broke into the western scene, but by then they had already changed their sound to experimental metal. Regardless, even in their VK days, I never really caught on to them at any time. Overrated band for me, and it seemed a lot of their fanbase were the kind that never really explored VK or J-Rock beyond what was trending at the time like Gazette and AnCafe.

I was always fond of pointing out how Kyo and the gang cited Kuroyume and D'erlanger as major influences on them, who I believe were much better bands, anyway.
"You do not see the world as it is, you see the world as you are."
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#4
I enjoy all of their periods. I was already into progressive/experimental metal stuff, so it was a no brainer to me. I thought their VK era was superb as well, and they always had a little touch of harder and experimental elements even on Gauze. But yeah, there is no doubt that a good portion of their western fanbase has little idea of other Japanese bands. One of the prices for being internationally popular I guess. There's probably a lot less nu-metal people into them now though.

I like Kuroyume as well (obviously), but I don't think they had nearly the same consistency (in terms of quality) as DEG. Of course, I've heard of D'erlanger, but I'm not familiar with them.
Occasionally, I write Western and Japanese music reviews.
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#5
So I finally have Utafumi after all this time.

Eh, I guess I should know better than to go for Dir en grey's singles because their B-sides usually aren't that interesting. The A-side, of course, is pretty awesome. It's not nearly as prog/tech as some of their other stuff, but it's still a pretty dynamic song and the chorus kills it. There's a version of 空谷の跫音 with Sugizo (of Luna Sea) on violin. It could have been interesting, but Sugizo mostly just makes dissonant noises and eh. I think there's an extra guitar solo/lead on it so that's kinda cool I guess. The Revelation of Mankind remix is like the rest of their remixes. Random electronic stuff + random samples of the actual song. Oh well, at least I can listen to Utafumi a million times without feeling guilty.
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#6
(09-03-2016, 12:53 PM)Dudemanguy Wrote: I enjoy all of their periods. I was already into progressive/experimental metal stuff, so it was a no brainer to me. I thought their VK era was superb as well, and they always had a little touch of harder and experimental elements even on Gauze.

Agreed. I must admit that I don't listen to 'Vulgar', 'Withering To Death' and especially 'The Marrow Of A Bone' much, but apart from those, I like every curveball they've thrown at me. 'Gauze' is probably my favorite record of theirs actually, though 'Uroboros', 'Arche' and 'Kisou' come close...
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#7
I'm with you on The Marrow of A Bone. That album isn't bad, but they've done much better. I actually like Vulgar and Withering to Death quite a bit. Not as good as their VK stuff or prog/tech stuff, but it's pretty enjoyable. One of the few bands that can pull of nu-metal and I don't even blink an eye.

I like Kisou about as much as The Marrow of A Bone, but I think Gauze and Macabre are almost as good as their prog/tech albums. Gauze is probably one of the greatest J-Rock albums ever.
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#8
'Kisou' is weird and emotional, but there's something playful about that album that I really like. I think a few of their best ballads are on that record, but there's some awesome dark rock songs on there as well. 'Vulgar' is just as playful, but somehow the songs don't click with me as well.

As for 'The Marrow Of A Bone'... Again: it's especially the softer stuff I like on there. I don't mind Dir en Grey going death metal, but it's like they've sacrificed everything in favor of brutality on that one.

'Macabre' is a record that took me a while to get into, but there are some songs on there that are so good that they hurt Wink
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#9
To Kisou's credit it does have some really good numbers like embryo and mushi. I think my beef with that album is that it feels like they kind of dumbed down the music a tad for a little more aggression/anger. The Marrow Of A Bone also gives me sort of the same feeling.

Macabre also took me a very long time to appreciate. I've had that stupid bootleg (I got the proper album later lol) since high school, but I never really appreciated it until recently. It's a very strange album, but the title track is the band's first bona fide prog song which of course appeals to me.
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#10
'Macabre' was probably the last Dir en Grey album I bought - except for 'Arche', which wasn't out yet at the time - simply because it was most difficult to get here. There's a few songs on there that I still can't work with - 'Egnirys Cimredopyh' and 'Hydra' most promintently - but again, the ballads are amazing and I totally agree with you on the title track. Hell, I even enjoy 'Audrey'!

And I see your point with 'Kisou'. It is in deed a lot simpler both in composition and arrangements than the albums that preceded it, but I think that also adds to the record's emotional debt. I do understand the parallel you draw with 'The Marrow Of A Bone' though.

For those interested... I wrote a sort of top 10 countdown to illustrate their breadth in sound on my weblog sometime ago. You can read it here if you like. Though in all honesty, I mainly did it because it was fun to do Smile
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