Review Summary: Very good record, although it could use a little bit of tightening around the edges.
Friedrich Nietzsche once said that the falsness of a judgement is not an
objection to it; that the falsest of judgements are indispensible. I'm
paraphrasing, but that's not the point. I'm gonna throw in the face the visual
kei label that people often ascribe to these guys. It's simply progressive
metal. Visual Kei has to do with stage performances and the such. I own
records by Miyavi, the GazettE, Dir en Grey, Gackt, D'espairs Ray, alice nine,
and so on. These bands do not share many musical qualities, other than they are Japanese musicians that have a knack for putting on a theatrical stage show. It's not about the music, as far as I can tell. Therefore, I am doing away with that label for my current purpose, which is, of course, to go empty my bowels all over my keyboard.
The main appeal of metal for me is the talented musicians, using baroque music conventions in new ways, and hearing how the music takes hold. Barring a few exceptions, (Messhugah, Dir en Grey, Dillinger Escape Plan), the actual music is NOT that complicated or original. It is very technical and tight, and
putting everything together in my head is what I enjoy. Dir en Grey is very
experimental in their approach to metal, at least on their first few records,
later in their career they would become boring Slipknot rip-offs, and that
doesn't really appeal to me in the slightest. This album is a perfect example
of the kind of variety AND cohesiveness that Dir en Grey bring to the metal
The album starts off with the almost-instrumental "Deity", which sets the
stage for the entire album. It lets the listener know exactly what they're in
for. In the four minutes that this track lasts, there is the slow atmospheric
noise that permeates their ballads, the hard riffing that is found all over
the rockers, like "Myaku", "Liyuu", the TERRIBLE "Hydra" and "Rasetukoku".
Then, around the 3:00 mark it has a break with the kind of appregios that lead
the ballads on the album. It wraps up with Kyo singing some russian, exceptionally well too.
Myaku depicts this band's sound flawlessly. With the drums in 4/4 and the
guitar in 3/4, they clash, obviously. But that's what they want. Especially on
Gauze, you see that alot of their songs were being written around clashing
melodies, which is what makes them unique.Not one of the 4 melodies in this
song fit with the other, and that's what makes the song so cohesive. I know
this doesn't make much sense on paper, or screen. Ha! *** you internet! But
you will understand when you listen to the song.
The album starts to get stale around the 5th track, which is what frequently
happens to these guys. "Hydra" through "-KR-Cube" make you feel like you
wasted 20 minutes of your life. "Hydra" sounds like a B-side from a Marilyn
Manson cover band, with the pop-industrial intro, and progression to
simple riffing and screaming. Terrible. "Hotarubi" isn't bad per-se, it's just
really slow. The strings are really nicely placed, and the vocal melody is
nice, it just doesn't seem to fit the middle of the record too much. It
would probably be more well suited for the bottom of the record with "Zakuro"
and "Taiyou no Ao", which are the two best ballads I think these guys have
ever done. "-KR-cube" starts to breath life back into the album. It's funk
metal. It sounds like Faith No More, it's ok, I don't think it should have
been picked as a single though.
One of the problems that I had with Gauze is that "Mazohyst of Decadance" and "Akuro no Oka" were a bit long. but they weren't right next to each other,
which made them tolerable, hell, even Mazohyst was really enjoyable. But hey,
I've already reviewed that album. The point is, that they made the same
mistake on this album. Both "Macabre" and "Zakuro" are longer than 8 minutes. They are both good songs, but they are held back from greatness by their length. This is more prevalent on the title track, as it goes into pointless
repetitive riffing for long periods. (about a minute each). I am actually a fan of Zakuro, it has a proggy sound to it. It almost sounds like Pink Floyd with the slow bass, and the tom rolls followed by 1-3 beats on the crash. It sounds really nice. If they want to continue making these "epics" they should really follow this formula. Perhaps spice up the instrumental breaks, like I know they can.