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02.18.16 Dir En Grey Ranking12.12.15 Buck-Tick Ranking
03.11.15 3 Years12.23.14 Anathema Ranking
11.02.14 My Dying Bride Ranking09.18.14 Paradise Lost Ranking
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Dir En Grey Ranking

Ranked list of the Japanese metal band. Unlike previous lists, this one doesn't include lyrics, because it is known that the vocalist likes to use double meanings and wordplays, so the accuracy of current translation databases cannot be guaranteed.
9Dir En Grey

After a stellar debut, the band, brimming with ideas, tried to expand their sound and reach new heights, but instead ended up just with a great record, lacking the proper experience and production to fully unleash its potential. Toshiya’s pleasing bass presence along with the varied instrument usage can’t really make up for the overall not ideal mixing, while Kyo’s vocals seem to sometimes be weaker than before. The album can be quite tedious as a few tracks don’t justify their duration, one ironic exception being the nearly 11 minutes long title track, an excellent showcase of Dir En Grey’s progressive tendencies that would reach a new zenith with its 2013 remake.

The Devilish One: Hotarubi
8Dir En Grey
The Marrow of a Bone

Most likely a result of the participation in the 2006 Family Values American tour, The Marrow of a Bone is the band’s most westernized output. Nonetheless, the influences haven’t buried their identity or knack for softer compositions; there are some beautiful passages and emotional vocal performances to be found, such as the synth/piano motif and chorus of the opener or the acoustic/electric guitar intertwining and ending outburst of “Namamekashiki…”. As for the predominant groove metal/metalcore-infused tracks, nothing stands in the way of Kyo’s unrelenting anger and English gibberish. If only one could have guessed where this new found love for heavily downtuned guitars led one year later…

The Devilish Two: Namamekashiki Ansoku, Tamerai ni Hohoemi – Repetition of Hatred
7Dir En Grey

Like Macabre, Kisou is a lengthy affair that experiments with different sounds, yet manages to be slightly more focused compared to its predecessor. Alluring the listener with a ritualistic intro in the form of “Kigan”, there’s certainly an air of mystique roaming around the album, only broken by some curious, if ill-fitting electronic interludes. Typical catchy tunes are still available, while wacky cuts like “Zomboid” and “Filth” are counterbalanced by the sombre ballads, with “Mushi” as one of the band’s most heart-wrenching moments and an early example of Kyo’s remarkable expressiveness.

The Devilish Three: Mushi – Karasu – Undecided
6Dir En Grey
Withering to Death

East meets west in this equilibrium of J-rock and alternative metal. Home to the highly popular single and concert staple “The Final”, the record shows that accessibility reigns supreme as the sound is more streamlined, full of memorable choruses indifferent towards the language barrier. Despite its entertaining and varied nature, an underlying morose feeling adorns a lot of the tracks no matter their tempos. Many older fans discovered the band through this album, being the one Dir En Grey promoted when they visited Europe and America for the first time.

The Devilish Four: The Final – Machiavellism – Kodou – Jesus Christ R’n R
5Dir En Grey

Industrial/nu-metal affinities already displayed in the preceding Six Ugly EP hold onto the grinding riffs and pummelling tone. It’s not all just a brooding, distorted wall of sound, though, as Kaoru and Die know they have to bring forth some neat solos and melodies from time to time. Even if not as refined as later, Kyo’s performance once again steals the show, slithering from demented vocal phrasings to soaring cleans, as heard in “Child Prey”, “Shokubeni” and “Asunaki Koufuku, Koenaki Asu”. Given the energy present here, it’s no wonder how well most tracks translate to a live setting.

The Devilish Five: Red…[em] – Amber – Obscure – Sajou no Uta – Kasumi
4Dir En Grey

Twisted lyrics meld with Visual Kei pop-rock and experimentation in Dir En Grey’s eclectic debut; instant hooks abound as much as creepy laughs and screeches. Interestingly, the highlights are the longest and most disparate songs, one depicting a haunting gothic-tinged anti-abortion song built around incessant guitars and samples, and the other a melancholic elegy of a forlorn love, embellished with violin notes and melodic guitars. Considering the singer’s affection for Kuroyume, it’s no surprise there’s a Kiyoharu influence on the vocals, while having Yoshiki of X Japan fame produce the five singles must have left a mark on the other tracks, because the whole album sounds better than many that came after it.

The Devilish Six: Mazohyst of Decadence – Akuro no Oka – Zan – Cage – Tsumi to Batsu – Yokan
3Dir En Grey

Arche looks at the past, present and future, as the band’s existent styles flourish with a flair for atmospheric soundscapes. “Un Deux” is a flawless opener since it gives a sense of both familiarity and curiosity. A beautiful amalgam of opposites takes shape, from the jumbled vocals in “Cause of Fickleness” and rabid blast beats of “The Inferno” to the elegance of the operatic vocals in “Uroko” and arrangements of “Behind a Vacant Image”. It’s also refreshing how the record chooses to end with some of the heaviest tracks despite the calmer overall approach. The songwriting, while more straightforward this time, effectively shows the group’s tightness and the increased emphasis on singing firmly demonstrates Kyo’s improvement in recent years.

The Devilish Seven: Phenomenon – Tousei – Rinkaku – Kaishun – Sustain the Untruth – Kukoku no Kyouon – Revelation of Mankind
2Dir En Grey
Uroboros (Remastered & Expanded)

Instating Dir En Grey as a force to be reckoned with, the album signifies a splendid progression and the advent of Kyo’s true versatility that makes one wonder why it took him so many years to discover the extent of his harsh vocals and higher singing register. The numerous techniques and effects of the guitar duo complete the blend of ardent darkness, insanity, spirituality and solemnity, while the rhythm section maintains the diversity, with bassist Toshiya and drummer Shinya proving to be groovy, subdued, funky or downright ferocious. In contrast to its precursor, the record is more attracted to the other side of the globe through the scattered oriental vibe and use of additional instruments such as sitars, biwa and mandolin. The remaster offers clarity and richness while losing the more prominent, albeit tinny, drum sound of the original.

The Devilish Eight: Vinushka – Reiketsu Nariseba – Ware, Yami Tote… – Toguro – Stuck Man – Red Soil – Doukoku to Sarinu – Inconvenient Ideal
1Dir En Grey
Dum Spiro Spero

An unsettling painting of the band reaching new extremes, drawn on the avant-garde metal canvas laid by Uroboros with stronger progressive death metal contrasts and shades of deathcore and doom metal. The solitary, poignant piano notes followed by grotesque noises manifest the desire for the darkest atmosphere right from the intro. The musical maelstrom “Different Sense” invokes Dir En Grey’s impeccable harmony, while stories of evil, but also sacredness, are embedded into the two demonic epics and ominous incantations of “Akatsuki”. Lastly, Tue Madsen’s outstanding production accentuates Kyo’s wide-ranging and consistently impressive performance, the perpetual guitars-bass duel and layered songwriting, thus becoming the quintessential element that elevates Dum Spiro Spero to a truly accomplished work of art.

The Devilish Nine: Different Sense – Diabolos – Juuyoku – Ruten no Tou – The Blossoming Beelzebub – Akatsuki – Amon – Vanitas – Shitataru Mourou
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