DIR EN GREY
DUM SPIRO SPERO


2.0
poor

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
August 6th, 2011 | 81 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's a tragedy really, watching a truly creative band buckle under the weight of their own ambitions.

Years ago I grew fond of a young lady in my town. I wished to know everything about her, her favorite books, where she liked to spend most of her time, and most importantly, her favorite music. It didn’t take long for her to tell me the latter, as she had a rather large “DIR EN GREY” tattoo right on her person. Obviously, I tried desperately to search this “Dir en Grey” out. In my research I found out many a thing. Firstly, the existence of a place called “Sputnikmusic.” Secondly, that Dir en Grey are one of the most noisy and inconsistent bands on the face of the planet. But post-research, the most important thing I discovered was this:

The girl was about as hinged as, well, Dir en Grey’s newest release, DUM SPIRO SPERO.

You see, the most glaring issue with DUM SPIRO SPERO is that it’s a million things at once, with neither excelling at any given time. The album is filled with ideas, so much that they’re bursting at the seams. However, despite the fact that Dir en Grey is a truly creative band, these ideas never fully form, so what we’re left with a garbled mess. There isn’t a flow within the album, let alone within each song, as it feels like the album was initially written but got thrown into a wood chipper.

And this is a damn shame, because as always, Dir en Grey manages to do a lot right. For starters, they really are a creative group of guys. DUM SPIRO SPERO sifts through a myriad of genres, ranging from alt rock to death metal. The attempts at each are impressive, as the band is able to capture a very wide array of styles and sounds. The band as a whole stands out as very technically proficient. Instrumentally, the album is very diverse, with each member impressing at least once. Yet the most controversial and arguably most talented member of the band comes in the form of Kyo, the vocalist. Despite how easy on the ears he can be, it’s tough not to admit the guy’s range is almost inhuman. Effortlessly he glides between death vocals, clean singing, and bestial screeches. They man is intense, and really that’s all that can be said, as he gives an unbelievable amount of life to DUM SPIRO SPERO.

It’s good to see Dir en Grey chart new territory in regards to their sound. However, a lot of the new choices and changes come off as questionable. After all, it felt as if they’d truly become comfortable with themselves on UROBOROS. However, DUM SPIRO SPERO isn’t UROBOROS, which is ultimately something that will come as a disappointment to many. There’s an exploration into a “core” sound, and the dual vocal layering only makes this even more unbearable. Some more breakdowns are thrown in, giving an uncharacteristically juvenile sound to the entire package. Yet what’s most disappointing is the lack of a killer track in the vein of “Vinshuka” or “The Final.” Sure, “The Blossoming Beelzebub” is a dark, sprawling metal epic, but it meanders more than anything, never really captivating. This seems to be the case throughout the entire album, with everything leading back to the albums inability to remain even remotely consistent. Just when you think things are going to come together, it devolves into a noisy incoherent mess.

Regardless of how confounding the music really is, Dir en Grey has a big hurdle: the western appeal. Yes music is universal, and yes typically the language barrier isn’t really a barrier at all. However, Dir en Grey is from Japan, and incidentally has a very Japanese sound and aesthetic. Vocals are warbled and melodramatic, lyrics are exceptionally pretentious, and the entire “visual kei” movement is, well, the visual kei movement. That being said, this really isn’t a fault of the band per se, but it speaks volumes of how DUM SPIRO SPEROwill appeal to anyone unfamiliar with Japanese music, and Dir en Grey specifically.

DUM SPIRO SPERO is truly a tragedy. It could have been a sprawling metal epic that challenged musical conceptions as well as metal as a genre. Sadly, the album buckles under the weight of its own ambitions, disintegrating into a maddeningly disastrous product. There are some exceptional ideas found within, but it’s not enough to save an album that didn’t know how to use them.



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user ratings (309)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Simon Killip (4)
Overall, on first listen I was disappointed, now I can say it's an amazing album, that while not the...

Mark M. (5)
Dir En Grey have done it again....

Max Paradise (5)
Dir en grey create the album of their career, somehow topping all past achievements in the process....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
August 6th 2011


10594 Comments


Because my last review was well received, I needed an excuse to be negged.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
August 6th 2011


15980 Comments


ha well done sir. i enjoyed this.

and im going to pos just to spite you

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

Titan50
August 6th 2011


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

DUM SPIRO SPERO is truly a tragedy. It could have been a sprawling metal epic that challenged musical conceptions as well as metal as a genre.


But it could ot have been, because Uroboros got there first

ThePac
August 6th 2011


219 Comments


Dont agree with your score but damn you write a great review

balcaen
August 6th 2011


3183 Comments


a girl with a blatant band tattoo, super classy mate.

Acanthus
August 6th 2011


9542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've not listened through all of the album but some moments I enjoy and others just turn me off; it's easy to see where this fits the review.



Digging: Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

DoubtGin
August 6th 2011


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

not a 5 neg

ShinXetsu
August 6th 2011


605 Comments


"They man is intense, and really that’s all that can be said, as he gives an unbelievable amount of
life to DUM SPIRO SPERO."

Think you got an extra letter in that first word there.

FilthyBorgir
August 6th 2011


1334 Comments


I wanna neg so badly!

This album is a masterpiece.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 6th 2011


50362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It takes different strokes to move the world

Digging: Viper the Rapper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack

FilthyBorgir
August 6th 2011


1334 Comments


It takes different strokes to move the world


sounds like a pornstar's motto

Rev
August 6th 2011


9422 Comments


Damn Xeno, great review as always (get on staff already dammit!)

But, I still feel compelled to check this out


Have a pos

Wizard
August 6th 2011


19399 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's a tragedy really, watching a truly creative band buckle under the weight of their own ambitions.

When were they creative? Good review and I totally agree, this fucking blows.

Digging: Khonsu - Traveller

RosaParks
August 6th 2011


14908 Comments


wrong

Xenophanes
Emeritus
August 6th 2011


10594 Comments


Thanks for the kind words lads.


Idk rev, you may enjoy this but I'm not sure if you'll ever really love it. Could be wrong.

The way they employ a lot of styles is rather creative, like the weird tribal sounds and stuff. Idk, I find them creative.

Wizard
August 6th 2011


19399 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Whatever dude, review is still bang on.

FearThyEvil
August 6th 2011


12545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

When were they creative? Good review and I totally agree, this fucking blows.

They've been creative with every album even this one. I can understand their new approach taken on this album won't be the most liked.

xSamaelx
August 7th 2011


1 Comments


I agree this album kinda lack of killer track. Diabolos, which seems supposed to be the Vinushka of this album, is rather forgettable. Somehow, I always lose my focus to the song whenever I listen to it. Well, may be, I'm not supposed to compare this one with Uroboros...

It's still good, though. Probably my favorite Dir en grey album after Uroboros.

Mabbitt
August 7th 2011


1364 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I really agree with this review. A lot of the songs seem like a bunch of ideas thrown together, and since there's so many ideas in so many different songs, and some ideas will show up in multiple songs, it kind of makes it hard to tell each song apart. A few standout tracks though, like Hageshisa To, Lotus, Different Sense, or the very last song who's name I cannot remember.

One of the things I noticed early on were some of the extremely high vocals from kyo, that sound like a mix of a girl singing and King Diamond, and I was like "this song has some cool vocals" but when the same really high pitched vocals show up in half of the other songs, I didn't like them as much, or think the first song I heard them in was as cool anymore.

I do think the album deserves higher than a 2, but I agree with your criticisms of it.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 7th 2011


50362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's called falsetto dude




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