Dir En Grey
Withering to Death


4.5
superb

Review

by Honeymoon_Croon USER (5 Reviews)
May 21st, 2006 | 45 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Dir en grey is a popular Japanese rock band formed in 1997. The group has maintained the steady lineup of ¬ (Kyo) (vocals), « (Kaoru) (guitar), Die (guitar), Toshiya (bass) and Shinya (drums). Their current music has become quite eclectic and is difficult to categorize, but is generally a form of Hard rock. However, they are known to mix metal, goth, and pop.

In 2006 Dir en grey played their first American concert at SXSW06 in Austin, Texas. They then played their second concert at the Avalon Club in New York, then Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California was their last concert of this tour. They played with Opiate For The Masses and Yoshiki was present at the time. They reportedly played a new, unidentified song whose title is currently unknown. All of their US dates sold out in less than a day, and people from all over the world were in attendance.

Now they have released their U.S. debut, Withering To Death. Not many people knew what to expect when Diru (a common nickname for Dir en Grey) would release an album in America. Would they change their sound to catch American audiences? Would all their songs be translated into english? Well, I’m happy to say that neither of these happened. The only difference between the American and Japanese releases was the booklet translation.

Now, forward onto the review. The album opens up with Merciless Cult, which starts off with some trippy techno sounds and then goes into some fairly catchy and heavy music. Kyo starts off with some whispering, then goes into some very deep death-metal-like growling, then singing. Here is where you will decide whether or not you like Kyo’s vocals. After the screaming of “LOVLESS!!!" (one of the only times where you can understand the lyrics), Die shows some melodic guitar skills, unlike Karou’s powerchord-slamming. (And they work very well together), however, the song is a tad bit short, especially for an opener.

Next, is the song C, Die plays some melodic riffs at the beginning, then going into some heavy music, however not as heavy as Merciless Cult. The song sounds a bit more mainstream than their other work, especially during the chorus, but that just shows us the diversity in the record. Shinya also brings in some very noticable (in a good way) drumming. The next track is –saku-, which opens with Kyo screaming and in the first 5 seconds, tells you that it’s going to be one of the heavier songs on the album. Kyo’s voice is beautiful as usual, and I would decribe it, but honestly I’ve never heard anybody that sounds like Kyo. Shinya once again produces some great catchy drumming, but in the guitar section, it’s a bit more punky and simplistic, but works very well with the rest of the song.

Jesus Christ R’nR is undeniably the catchiest song on the album. Starting out with some arabic-like guitar and a simple yet catchy drum beat, then getting into a very trippy sound guitar riff. The song is pretty much catchy all the way through, and this has some of Kyo’s best vocals, where he brings out some very high-pitched vocals. This song is probably the highlight for Kyo’s vocals, showing his vocal range from high-pitch singing to deep growling. The solo is also great, where Die makes us wonder at first whether it is him using an effect pedal or if it’s Kyo going “Woah-woah" with synthesizers backing his voice. (I’m pretty sure it’s the guitar, though).

Then comes the weak part of the album. GARBAGE, Machiavellism, Beautiful Dirt, and Spilled Milk are all boring, repetitive, and sound like boring nu-metal. All of these songs are boring and actually sound very uninspired. I seriously thought about TALITM-era Korn when I heard these songs, except when the bass is heard, it actually sounds good. The only good part in any of these four songs is the trippy techno intro to Beautiful Dirt.

However, they did put the two best songs in between the four worst. Right between Machiavellism and Beautiful Dirt are dead tree and THE FINAL. Dead tree is a very emotional track, and you don’t even need to understand the lyrics to know that. It starts of with very ballad-like guitars, and Kyo’s singing is very emotional and depressing and makes him sound very vulnerable. Right after a guitar riff that sounds like a distorted version of a riff from Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire", Kyo goes into a screaming fit of rage, adding to the emotion of the song. Think Korn’s Daddy, except Japanese, better vocals/playing, and no crying. (Although he does sound like he’s about to breakdown). Much like Jesus Christ R’n R, Kyo brings out as much vocal range as possible, except he doesn’t do as much high-pitch stuff this time. Note: Apparently dead tree is about when he was supposed to marry who had left him for his best friend the day before their wedding, just an interesting fact.

Another great song is THE FINAL, which is a single, if I’m not mistaken. THE FINAL starts out very techno-ish, then goes into a mix of melodic guitar and heavy guitar and drums. This track is also Toshiya’s highlight, where the bass is strikingly noticeable during the verses, which it hasn’t been too much in previous tracks. The drumming is best on here during the chorus. The guitar isn’t really anything too special on this track, but everything else makes up for that.

The closing track is KODOU, which starts off with an orchestra-like sound, and then Shinya’s drumming comes in and brings out the real Diru. This song also sounds like a ballad during the verses, but has a heavy chorus. After the chorus, Die does the best guitar solo on the album, which is hard to explain, since Die has a very unique guitar playing style. By now you should have gotten the idea that Kyo can sing. This is another great highlight on the album.

So now Diru has crossed-over into American soil, and are even joining Korn, Deftones, and Flyleaf on the Family Values Tour (which I will be attending mainly for Dir en Grey and Deftones). This album definitely shows that Diru has a lot of diversity and are good at what they do. So now for the pros and cons


Positive:
-Diversity
-Kyo has a great voice
-The members work together greatly and don’t try to show off over one another, everyone has highlights on this album.
-Something different for America
-dead tree and THE FINAL


Negative:
-Sometimes Karou’s powerchords drown out Die and make it hard to hear his talent.
-Middle of the album is pretty weak
-Some people may not like Kyo’s vocals or need them to grow on them
-dead tree would have made a better closer than KODOU.

THE FINAL verdict: (ya see what I did their?)
Inside of Diru: 4.5/5
In America: 5/5


user ratings (289)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Seperate the paragraphs plzplzplz.
Good review, better album. Dir En Grey is some good shit.

Honeymoon_Croon
May 21st 2006


297 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Damnit, I did seperate it and it screwed it up! >.<

A-ha! I fixed it!This Message Edited On 05.21.06

Diabulus in musica
May 21st 2006


485 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Is this better than vulgar??

Honeymoon_Croon
May 21st 2006


297 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^^^^^
In my honest opinion it is, if you liked Vulgar, it's definitely worth at least checking out

Diabulus in musica
May 21st 2006


485 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Holy crap really??i am really obssesed with Vulgar, im now downloading 3 songs hahahaha

Morvit
May 22nd 2006


71 Comments


wow jap reviews...ive only heard of gauze and it was pretty good

Diabulus in musica
May 24th 2006


485 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well ive finished listening to this one, and its pretty awesome, yes its better than Vulgar, but still, Obscure totally owns

Honeymoon_Croon
May 24th 2006


297 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I haven't heard all of Obscure yet. *shame*

Diabulus in musica
May 27th 2006


485 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nooooo??well u should, its the best song of dir en grey

Manji Karame
June 8th 2006


9 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Nice review overall, but there are a couple of minor mistakes.
1st:"Would they change their sound to catch American audiences?" Newsflash for ya...THE ALREADY DID!!!! since 2002.
2nd:"Kyo’s voice is beautiful as usual, and I would decribe it, but honestly I’ve never heard anybody that sounds like Kyo" Ever heard of Kiyoharu (ex. Kuroyume and SADS now solo artist)? No? Then I really think you should, because Kyo is ripping him off since 1997.
3rd: "Apparently dead tree is about when he was supposed to marry who had left him for his best friend the day before their wedding, just an interesting fact. " ahm...no. dead tree is about the a-bomb in Hiroshima.
4th:"After the chorus, Die does the best guitar solo on the album" hmmm....nope, that's Kaoru.
And I can't see where the hell is the diversity on this album, all we have here is a pattern of heavy riffs/melodic bridge and chorus/mindless and boring screaming, which they have been doing since 2003.
This album blows, give me Gauze or Macabre ANY DAY, 1.5/5 because THE FINAL is a stellar song.

This Message Edited On 06.08.06

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 14th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

After giving this some more time to sink in, yeah, my fav Dir en Grey album. Fin.

Honeymoon_Croon
June 16th 2006


297 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

1st:"Would they change their sound to catch American audiences?" Newsflash for ya...THE ALREADY DID!!!! since 2002.

I don't think they changed their sound. Yeah, they have caught America a little, but I don't see any selling out.

2nd:"Kyo’s voice is beautiful as usual, and I would decribe it, but honestly I’ve never heard anybody that sounds like Kyo" Ever heard of Kiyoharu (ex. Kuroyume and SADS now solo artist)? No? Then I really think you should, because Kyo is ripping him off since 1997.


No, actually I haven't, but I think Kyo still has a great voice. Even if it is ripped off, it dosen't change my opinion that he can do a lot with his voice.

3rd: "Apparently dead tree is about when he was supposed to marry who had left him for his best friend the day before their wedding, just an interesting fact. " ahm...no. dead tree is about the a-bomb in Hiroshima.

Hm. I read somewhere it was about the wife thing. Oh well.

4th:"After the chorus, Die does the best guitar solo on the album" hmmm....nope, that's Kaoru.

Whoops, my bad

And I can't see where the hell is the diversity on this album, all we have here is a pattern of heavy riffs/melodic bridge and chorus/mindless and boring screaming, which they have been doing since 2003.


This is where I really don't see your point. This album has a lot of diversity in it. If I had to describe the music, I might have to say "bipolar". It changes so much and their are the quiet songs and the uber-heavy ones. I think this is really diverse.

After giving this some more time to sink in, yeah, my fav Dir en Grey album. Fin.


Qouted for agreementThis Message Edited On 06.16.06

The Sludge
June 16th 2006


2169 Comments


Wait, where the hell was I, and how come I havent heard from this band before? This sounds interesting, if I wasnt on dial up at the moment, I would try some.

RequiemOfDreams
June 22nd 2006


1 Comments


This review is quite good except for a few points.You seem to favour Die too much which results in bias-ness towards kaoru.Honestly kaoru is the better guitarist in Diru.He writes most of the songs and plays most of the solos.In fact u credited solos to Die when kaoru was the one playin it.I have to agree with Manji,They gave up their harder and more complicated guitar/bass playin for easier,down-tuned american-influenced playin

syco1
November 19th 2006


1 Comments


Dir En Gray is the best in the world

rumblefish
December 9th 2006


1 Comments


this is a pretty good review that covers a lot of bases and provides "diru virgins" with some info on what they should expect from this band.

however, i must agree with requiem up above -- it is a bit unfair that you seem to be crediting die with solos that moreso belong to kaoru. that was one of the facts that i could point out right away that didn't seem right to me (and someone already corrected you about the A-bomb/anti-war meanings of dead tree). otherwise, you seemed to know what you were talking about, and your descriptions of the songs were well-thought out. the biggest thing that bothers me, though, is that you totally neglected to address tracks 4, 5, and 13.

did you not even listen to them? they're just as integral to the album as THE FINAL and dead tree (i picked those two because they're two of the better sounding and more popular songs of this album). track 4 (kodoku ni shisu) is the (wonderful) breather that comes after saku; track 5 (itoshisa wa fuhai) is something to calm and lull you before jesus christ R'n R; and track 13 (higeki wa me futa) is a slower, softer song to help wind the album down with kodou. how could you have missed these?

if you're going to do an album review, it would probably do some good to include opinions (good or bad) on ALL of the tracks -- and it's not like this band releases anything with more than fifteen or sixteen tracks. i agree that this album is definitely diverse (it's no VULGAR, by any means), but it's all the songs that make it that way, not just a few.This Message Edited On 12.09.06

jameskukucka
December 16th 2006


308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Vulgar > Withering to death, however this cd does rock like no other, Merciless Cult, Machaivellism, and The Final are all amazing.... however i disagree spilled milk totally pwns and dead tree is one of the greatets songs ive heard in a whileThis Message Edited On 12.16.06This Message Edited On 12.16.06

RuNNing/on/HiGh
January 7th 2007


56 Comments


You forgot to mention one other con...the fact that its in Japanese !

LilyCharlotte
January 10th 2007


1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

choosing not to quote the massively incorrect statement about the relationship between Kyo and Kiyoharu I`m just going to pretend it doesn`t exist and share the real reason for the similarity for anyone interested in knowing stuff and not just ranting for the sake of ranting.
Kyo roadied for kuroyume back in the day and Kiyoharu taught Kyo a lot. Kiyoharu was an influence on not only Kyo`s singing but also his preformance, not unlike Kyo and the Gara from Merry.

kitsunebaka
January 19th 2007


1 Comments


"You forgot to mention one other con...the fact that its in Japanese !" - Some guy

Well, y'see... that's why the CD has a translated lyric book. Though I'd actually reccomend going to a site like Centegrade-J or Songmeanings.com - They have way better translations and also the phonetic lyrics so you can learn to sing along.

As for DeG trying to sound more American, most japanese music is and always has been influenced by western culture, so of course you're going to get that. Mana of Moi dix Mois listened to Slayer when he wrote mosta his stuff. Though I certinaly don't think DeG are "Manson Rejects" as Kieth Bergman said in his very negative review on BLABBERMOUTH.NET

As for the "wha wha's" I actually thought those WERE Kyo immitating guitar sounds just to be different. I didn't know it was actually a guitar, lol. Oh and to everyone that thinks HOT TOPIC selling DeG stuff is a BAD thing, screw off. You oughta be happy that ANY store in the USA sells their stuff, and at $14 too... that's way cheaper than Amazon or CD Japan!

My only gripe with the album is some of the slower songs, while they are really nice and melodic, they put me to sleep. Though I will say the video for Dead Tree (which can be found on Youtube) is interesting, with all the war-time footage and the bit at the end where the lil girl trades her dolly for a rifle and is treating it like her dolly, definately an anti-war sentimate. ^_^

As for touring, DeG really need to hit SEATTLE, WA! Several japanese bands have done shows here; The Pillows and Ellegarden at the Croc Cafe, and Moi dix Mois also planned a show for us as part of their ~Beyond the Gate~ US tour, so what's the deal with DeG forgetting we exist? We're the birthplace of Grunge! C'mon... Nirvana??? Doesn't Kyo like us?This Message Edited On 01.19.07



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