Review Summary: Though 'The Marrow of a Bone' is a little rough around the edges, make no mistake, this is the most important release to have come from the band.
When you look at DIR EN GREY’s career, the collection of different styles used for every album is quite staggering. the band always veer away from conventional approaches or the generic trends of the day. They are a band that tends to play left field and can be difficult to pin down for sound. The band has nine albums under their belt, all unique in some way. However, there is one album in particular that does bend a little and conform to a particular scene.
In 2005 and 2006 DIR EN GREY were breaking out of their native land and doing a string of dates across Europe and the US, during this time they were put on the bill for ‘Korn’s Family Values Tour’ where they played with some of metal's biggest bands. After the success of both the European and US dates the band went back to Japan and recorded their sixth studio album titled ‘The Marrow Of A Bone’ in 2007.
‘The Marrow of a Bone’ era is a crucial part in the bands timeline, because this is where the band fully stripped themselves of the ‘Visual Kei’ look and went for a more westernised image and sonically, this album took the band into a much more ‘Heavy Metal’ place than before. Though this is just me speculating, the Family Values Tour had a lasting effect on the band, and when it came to recording the new LP they were more aware of wanting to sound like a band like Korn than doing what they normally do. When you look at the bigger picture though, this is the starting point for the band moving into the Death and Progressive Metal genres that created ‘Uroboros’ and ‘Dum Spiro Spero’.
‘Lie Buried With A Vengeance’, ‘Agitated Screams of Maggots’ and ‘The Fatal Believer’ showcase the heaviest sound the band had used at this point in their career: bellowing screams from Kyo, crunching guitars that groove with the metallic sounds of the drums. Unfortunately, as important as these songs are for the bands progress in later works, it all sound a little generic; it’s all very straight forward riffing that’s been done a billion times before and Kyo’s vocals don’t really hold much to make the songs interesting either.
Luckily, the album isn’t a one trick pony and there are some fantastic songs on here, dare I say some of DIR EN GREY’s finest; you’ll find key elements from songs on here that get properly fleshed out for their next – arguably best -- album Uroboros. Songs like ‘The Pledge’, ‘Ryoujoku no Ame’ and ‘Namamekashiki Ansoku, Tamerai ni Hohoemi’ show the more beautiful and progressive side of the band that not only show the creative power of the band musically, but Kyo manages to pull off some phenomenal vocal performances throughout these songs that really showcase his diverse range. And although the album kicks off with a rocky start with some generic heavy songs, there are some blisteringly heavy tracks to be found that show a less generic side: ‘Repetition of Hatred’ and ‘Cleaver Sleazoid’ manage to avoid what the likes of ‘Lie Buried With A Vengeance’ fall short on, the songs are a little more varied in composition and Kyo’s vocals are a lot more interesting to hear.
Overall, by no means is this a bad album. It is quite clear the band was taken in to what some metal bands over in America were doing at the time and they found their inspiration through that. A couple of the tracks on here fall short of being cookie cutter, but the more experimental and ballad type songs more than pick up the slack. And you’ll find some stuff on here that show DIR EN GREY at their best. ‘The Marrow of a Bone’ is a special LP in the bands discography, it’s the bands most straight forward and generic effort to date, but it’s also the album that builds a bridge for some of their greatest releases in later years.
Worth Checking Out.