DIR EN GREY
The Unraveling


4.5
superb

Review

by KMHouldey USER (5 Reviews)
April 12th, 2013 | 125 replies | 14,882 views


Release Date: 04/03/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A pleasing compromise between the old and the new

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

For fans of Dir En Grey, the revealing of the tracklist to The Unraveling either signalled a wave of euphoria or a flood of anxiety due to the high percentage of remakes. The band is admittedly hit or miss with these so almost an entire EP of them seemed to spell disaster, surely.

On the contrary, The Unraveling is a perfect mixture of the harmony and catchiness of their previous work and the raw aggression found on their latter albums Uroboros and Dum Spiro Spero. The classic singles ‘Kasumi’ and ‘The Final’, although largely unchanged, now have a bit more depth and power behind them due to the heavier riffs and vocal work. The same can be said for ‘Macabre’ (which is now safely the band’s longest song to date due to the added sequence towards the end). Easily the band’s magnum opus, it has been successfully revamped for their newer audience. Despite being over 16 mins, the song never fails to ensnare the listener with its complexity.

This blend of catchiness and power is also encapsulated within the title track which is surprisingly good in lieu of its grandiose counterparts. Despite showcasing the band’s newfound heaviness, ‘Unraveling’ never gets to that point of sludginess found on Dum Spiro Spero.

However, that’s not to say that the band is going soft. The remake of oldies ‘Karma’ and ‘Unknown. Despair. Lost’, for example, have infectiously brutal riffs and some intense vocals, easily improving on the originals. ‘Karasu’, meanwhile, retains the ebb and flow of tranquility/heaviness from before but in a much eerier manner, making it perfectly suited to their recent style. ‘Bottom Of The Death Valley’ is perhaps the only track which is barely recognisable. Whilst departing from the memorable bass line of the original, the track also features a slower tempo and a more melancholic tone, creating a song which seems completely new and fresh. As a result it’s easily one of the stand out tracks and brings to mind the song ‘Hydra 666’ which similarly deviates from its predecessor through a complete sonic overhaul. Yet despite the adoption of their heavier style, none of the tracks on this EP suffer from the same awkward experience exuded by most of their previous album. Instead, they are more accessible and much easier to listen to.

That’s not to say the EP is perfect. The new sequence added towards the end of Macabre, whilst a nice addition, doesn’t seem to sit entirely well with the rest of the song. Furthermore, the unplugged versions of ‘Unraveling’ and ‘The Final’ seem a little lacking. Acoustic versions of each would have been more ideal in comparison to the discordant (and quite frankly dreadful) piano of the former and the blandness of the latter.

Despite this, the EP is without a doubt brilliant and perfectly blends Dir En Grey’s visual kei past and their recent heavier phase. Admittedly it’s a grower and it takes a few listens to fully appreciate the changes in each of the new songs, but once they’re apparent they become a sheer pleasure to listen to. Instead of picking out all the things the band chose not to include with these tracks, you actually begin to pick up on the new things they have included. As a result, each song seems new and open for exploration.

The Unraveling is an effort from a band who are clearly trying to appeal to their entire fan base and in doing this they have crafted a set of songs which stand apart from their original counterparts. In doing this they have also honed their sound into something aurally challenging, yet accessible (unlike their previous album). Recommended for fans of all eras of Dir En Grey, this EP shows the band at their best and only generates more excitement for what is to come.

Highlights-
‘Macabre’, ‘Kasumi’, ‘Karma’, ‘The Final’, ‘Bottom Of The Death Valley’


user ratings (88)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Adam Amanse (4)
Unraveling in order to move forward....

JizzInMyPants (4)
While Dir En Grey ultimately didn’t change up their sound, they refined it, making it seem familia...


Comments:Add a Comment 
KMHouldey
April 12th 2013



28 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can't stop listening to this; it's practically a new album due to the length of Macabre.

Feel free to leave comments!

Mookid
April 12th 2013



1294 Comments


moar like dir en GAY

DrGonzo1937
April 12th 2013



3380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

^

very original. NOT

KMHouldey
April 12th 2013



28 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for putting all that time and effort into making an ass of yourself.

SadAndHolyGlow
April 12th 2013



1448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The summary of this review put it perfectly. Excellent review. Posd.

Digging: Hot Cross - Cryonics

DrGonzo1937
April 12th 2013



3380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Pretty good review. Have to disagree with the Macabre thought, but overall cool review.

pos.

KMHouldey
April 12th 2013



28 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys!

@DrGonzo1937- Which part about Macabre? The new bit?

DrGonzo1937
April 12th 2013



3380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, I personally thought the whole thing was a god damn masterpiece. haha I still love the original, but, man, can you feel the maturity coming from these guy's in this.

KMHouldey
April 12th 2013



28 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree, they really know what they're doing. I was pretty apprehensive about this release but now it's easily one of my favourites from them. Macabre was and still is one of their greatest achievements and the remake is just as mindblowing.

Eclecticist
April 12th 2013



3863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The remake of MACABRE alone is a 4.5/5. I literally lost my breath at least three times over the 16 minute span of listening to it!

sixdegrees
April 12th 2013



15785 Comments


literally

Digging: Tam Tam - Polarize

Eclecticist
April 12th 2013



3863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

emphasis added.

KMHouldey
April 12th 2013



28 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn these lungs!

FadedSun
April 12th 2013



1150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like that Dir En Grey re-records old songs to liven them up a bit. I wish certain bands would do this. Tool's Undertow is
one album that comes to mind that I think could use a new recording to breathe some life into it.

This remake of 'Bottom of the Death Valley' was sorely needed! Love it! Hell, I might just put this version in place of the
original on my copy of Kisou.

Acanthus
April 13th 2013



9511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool that this is out, have to get it.

Digging: Ayria - Hearts for Bullets

DrGonzo1937
April 13th 2013



3380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This remake of 'Bottom of the Death Valley' was sorely needed! Love it!

Not many were keen on BOTDV, but I loved it also. I actually prefer the bassline to the new one than the original.

FadedSun
April 13th 2013



1150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The original of BOTDV actually grew on me a lot the more I listened to it, but I still felt like it lacked as a song. I'm glad they remade it.

JizzInMyPants
April 13th 2013



2361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ya macabre reminds me alot of early agalloch, just a bunch of guitar melodies/solos with a spot of djenty riffage

KMHouldey
April 13th 2013



28 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I feel the same but with Karma and Unknown. Despair. Lost; rarely listened to the originals but these remakes are so infectious! They still have so many great songs to choose from for future remakes as well!

DrGonzo1937
April 14th 2013



3380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I'd be very interested to hear Cage getting remade. I wonder how Toshiya's bass parts would go? It'd probably change the entire song. lol



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