Review Summary: The smell of cheese is rife with this one!
"MACABRE" is Dir En Grey's second full-length album and it doesn't do a great deal for me...
As any fan will know, this bands sound has changed quite drastically over the years. The early sound of Diru was very J-rock; very in keep with what Japanese music fans know well: dressing up in flamboyant clothing and sounding - to me anyway - a little corny.
Even though Diru used to dress up in the colourful clothing that is associated with the scene, 1999's "GAUZE" doesn't sound like your typical J-rock affair and was a very enjoyable album for me. Very experimental and, for the most part, stayed away from what most bands sound like in that category.
"MACABRE", however, felt like a step back for me. As always, the themes and subjects they go for are dark and disturbing, but are let down by how the the songs are executed. The album has a lot of electronic sounds and noises, and comes across NU-metal, without the heavy sound behind it.
Songs suffer from the dreaded cheese that you find in many J-rock bands. I found Kyo's voice to be quite irritating in a few songs. "Myaku" is a perfect example of Kyo's voice making me want to grab a sharp object and stick it in my ears: repetitive verse and then totally finished off with the ultimate in cheesey melodies for the chorus. "Egnirys Cimredopyh (+) An Injection" is another one where vocals come across dull and don't really give any reason to put your full attention to the song and there is even a bit of rapping breakdown thing in it! "[KR]cube" is a great song musically, but once again falls short from Kyo's dull singing in the verse into a cheesey chorus - yet again.
While this comes across as a beating, the album does actually get better as it goes on and there is some good tracks to be found. "Wake" is a great straight up rock song and is really catchy; "Berry" is a good fast song, but is soon ruined by a sound clip of a family arguing - you know the sort you find when you watch an Asian film of any sort and put on the English dubbing for a joke, just to hear the god awful voices? It's one of them... Apart from that bit though, the song itself is enjoyable and "Macabre -Sanagi no Yume no Ageha no Hane" is a great slow song.
The thing is, it's frustrating because a lot of the songs on the album musically are pretty good. But I can't get my head around the electronic bits. I don't find they give the songs any advantage or edge, if anything they hinder the songs. Were they looking at the start of NU-metal taking over the West and thought it'd be a good idea to try and get in on the crack? I don't know. But I didn't feel it worked out too well. Kyo is a definite reason why I didn't like a lot of this album: his voice was irritating for the most part, and created unnessesary cheese on songs that could have been avoided.
I'm not going to say it's a bad album though, I just don't think the album is up to the standard all the other albums are. If you're a fan of J-rock, chances are you'll enjoy it. For me, I found it to be an odd collection of songs that don't tie together very well and it felt like there were too many ideas floating around, trying to cram in as much as possible.
"Macabre -Sanagi no Yume no Ageha--"