Review Summary: While Dir En Grey ultimately didn’t change up their sound, they refined it, making it seem familiar, yet fresh.
Ever since the release of Dir En Grey’s Wither to Death
(WTD) in 2005, there has been a great divide between the fanbase of Dir En Grey. One spectrum of the fanbase begs for the classic Visual Kei Experimentation of their pre-WTD
material while the other praise them for their current offering of atmospheric avant-garde metal. Dir En grey attempts to bridge the two fanbases together for years by offering new remakes of their classic songs, which turns out to be nothing like their original counterparts most of the time, angering the classic fanbase even more. Ever since their last album, Dum Spiro Spero
(DSS), Dir En Grey promised an even greater change of style for their upcoming releases. When fans got news of a new EP containing seven remakes, this news piqued the interests of both fanbases. Some of these tracks were fan favorites of their pre-WTD
material mixed in with some of their more obscure tracks so expectations were high.
A plague with past Dir En Grey albums for me was that it was all over the place. One song could be aggressive; almost Death metal like while the next track makes an abrupt transition into an acoustic ballad. DSS
mostly fixed that but sacrificed a lot of their experimentation and variety for tracks that the average modern metalhead heard 100 times before. This has been mostly fixed on this release. What we get is a more stripped down and focused Dir En Grey. Gone for the most part are the sudden abrupt changes in tempo. Due to the fact that most of the original of this EP are from their J-rock past, you can clearly hear a more straightforward hard rock influence that has been mostly absent since Marrow of the Bone. I would even go as far to say that this release is Dir En Grey settling down and getting comfortable, because it sounds more mature than any of their other releases. They aren’t trying to push boundaries on this release.
Don’t let the label “EP” fool you, if you get every track this EP offers, it has more than an hour worth of material. With the bonus track being the remake of Macabre, modernized and extended to 16 minute track which will keep any Between the Buried and Me or Agalloch fan extremely happy . Besides Macabre, the only tracks that stick closely to the originals are The Final and Kasumi. The unplugged version of The Final is essentially a Disney song which makes it the black(white") sheep of the album. This release can be said to be targeted towards the newer fans because the remakes does have some modern Dir En Grey touches here and there. While Dir En Grey ultimately didn’t change up their sound, they refined it, making it seem familiar, yet fresh. It would not surprise me at all if one were to claim this as their favorite Dir En Grey release.