Dir En Grey
Dum Spiro Spero


4.5
superb

Review

by My Name Is Mud USER (18 Reviews)
January 19th, 2018 | 52 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Striving.

When it comes to Dir en Grey post-2007, things have become quite unpredictable. After the much maligned Marrow of the Bone the band seemed to veer towards the more experimental side of things. Uroboros was the prime example of said experimentation, blending beautiful/haunting melodies with Dir’s trademark heaviness with some newfound progressive tendencies. Upon the release of this record, it seemed like the band had reached the apex of their abilities…enter Dum Spiro Spero. With the announcement of the new record it felt as if Dir had backed themselves into a corner slightly. Anticipation couldn’t have been higher as fans deliberated over what the band could possibly do next.

Dum Spiro Spero is a cruel beast, make no mistake. There’s melody present, for sure, but for the most part this record is Dir at their most disgusting and despondent. Album opener ‘The Blossoming Beelzebub’ is a perfect example of this profound ugliness. With an almost monolithic, plodding pace the track takes its time in building a macabre atmosphere through the sedated instrumentation and murky production. Vocalist Kyo, who is no stranger to obscene vocal range, adds to this aura with his harrowing croons; occasionally breaking out into an almost banshee like howl to create a blood curdling tone. The element of aforementioned unpredictability is continued in this fashion right throughout the record. Main single, ‘Different Sense’, is a sprawling piece that never sees the band settle into a comfortable groove. Instead, the track always keeps the listener guessing as to what musical segway the band will take next through its winding guitar passages and jittering chorus.

Belligerence seems to be Dum Spiro Spero’s main theme throughout its runtime. However, the track ‘Lotus’ brings some much needed melody into the fold. After the emotional pummelling of the first half, the track almost feels like a transition into a more melody driven second half. Although this never comes to fruition, the songs chorus is quite melancholic and is the only main hook of a mostly sporadic, inaccessible record. Kyo shows his true worth also, switching out his nauseating harsh vocals for some heavenly cleans which makes the track one of the more ‘catchy’ cuts on the record.

Album centrepiece, ‘Diabolos’, is arguably Dir’s crowning achievement on the record. Mixing everything the band has ever done into one song flawlessly and leaving the listener feeling drained and exhausted at the end of its 10 minute run time. Cutting guitars and irregular vocal patterns make the track almost feel almost schizophrenic in nature, with Kyo’s ever changing vocal pitch mirroring this notion of insanity. Furthermore, most of the record features this irregular feel of song writing; making for an intriguing listen even if the immediacy is hindered by this. Multiple listens are required to absorb the full extent of what the band is trying to achieve here.

With Dum Spiro Spero, Dir have crafted a modern metal masterpiece. Not only is the album unique and fresh to the bands fluorescent discography, but a unique album within the genre of metal entirely. Whether the band is pummelling the listener with pure dissonance or settling into a haunting melody, the record never fails to engage throughout its runtime. If nothing else, Dum Spiro Spero points to an incredibly bright future to one of metals most promising acts. Only time will tell whether the group can maintain this experimentation and keep their sound feeling fresh and individual. As for now, things are looking very auspicious.



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user ratings (498)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Xenophanes EMERITUS (2)
    It's a tragedy really, watching a truly creative band buckle under the weight of their own...

    Simon K. STAFF (4)
    Overall, on first listen I was disappointed, now I can say it's an amazing album, that whi...

    DUST0NEL (4.5)
    "...unsettling and tranquil at the same time - it feels more than just a collection of son...

    Brandon Bzduch (4)
    The charismatic god-killer...

  • CWBrown (4)
    The record just gets rusty after a while, so you need to put some oil on it. That "oil" is...

    669 (5)
    Dir En Grey have done it again....

    LiquidVelvet (5)
    Dir en grey create the album of their career, somehow topping all past achievements in the...



Comments:Add a Comment 
BigPleb
January 19th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not written for a while, criticism is very welcome.



Always wanted to do a Diru review.

BigPleb
January 19th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not many Diru fans on this site I see...

CalculatingInfinity
January 19th 2018


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ayyyyyyyy Pleb! On a Dir kick with Vestige coming out eh? There's a few Dir fans on the site although minus me/Evo/Dir they're pretty sporadic.

BigPleb
January 19th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn straight I'm excited man haha.

CalculatingInfinity
January 19th 2018


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good lad. I'm hype for the final 2 Modes, after that it's just gonna be a waiting game for the end of the year for the new album. Despite this however they annoused a small tour in April, which I suspect is where they're gonna perform a new single in the works.

BigPleb
January 19th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They need to announce some dates for over here but it'll never happen :/

CalculatingInfinity
January 19th 2018


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I bet there will be plenty after the new album is out. Without fail since Uroboros they went straight overseas when a new album has been released. The reason why this has took so long is because after the 2015 tours they went to their side projects until the Budokan show in early 2016. Afterwards the Mode tours started which took all the way to late 2017. So really the Sukekiyo and the Modes are what really pushed the overseas tour dates away, plus pulling out interest in the west. If there is no tour dates in 2019 however, then I'd start to worry.

BigPleb
January 19th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'd pay serious money to see them again!



Saw them at Download back in 2012 but they only played for 20 minutes cos of technical issues :/

CalculatingInfinity
January 19th 2018


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Believe me next time they're here, I'm going. I'm seeing them on an individual tour however because they don't suit the festival atmosphere at all. I'd love to see them in Japan since for the most part that's where they shine but I can't go there for 5 years.

BigPleb
January 19th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really enjoyed the show I saw but ye, the crowd was dead.



Japan would be amazing, pay serious money for that though haha.

CalculatingInfinity
January 19th 2018


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's either a dead festival crowd or a crowd so hyper in a small space you start getting squashed seeing them, can't win haha. Yeah unfortunately that money is why I can't for ages, and it's being rather hopeful the band will stay around by then.

BigPleb
January 19th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'd pay good money to see them play this live over here.



Album is too damn good ugh.

CalculatingInfinity
January 19th 2018


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Shinya does not like playing this album lol so I think the best we'll get is them playing Hage. Watched a bit of Mode DSS last night actually, Diabolos is so epic.

BigPleb
January 19th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Diabolos is arguably their best song tbh.



How come he doesn't like playing it?

CalculatingInfinity
January 19th 2018


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Zakuro from Blitz 5 Days will always be my fav Dir moment, as for the songs themselves it'll have to be Beelzebub for me. Unbelievable atmosphere, vocals and concept. Shinya isn't really a Metal fan or a Metal style drummer (better at the more tasteful flair of their earlier stuff like on Gauze and ballads), so he essentially had to adapt to the band's direction. DSS is their hardest album to play on drums in terms of what you need to be a Metal drummer, so he doesn't like playing it. Shame because his drumming on Amon and Different Sense rules.

BigPleb
January 19th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah I guess that makes sense then.



He's always felt like a more experimental drummer than just metal anyway, love how his drums sound on Arche inparticular.

CalculatingInfinity
January 19th 2018


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Glass Skin is probably my personal favourite song in terms of his drumming, always a delight to hear.

BigPleb
January 19th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is their best tho man, agreed?

CalculatingInfinity
January 19th 2018


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You think this is their best when you have Uroboros rated higher? I can't really judge their albums properly anymore tbh. I don't really listen to this and Arche in studio nowadays when the Budokan shows sound for the most part much better for me. Unraveling with Macabre on it is gonna have to be my favourite Dir album though, I love all 8 songs on it.

BigPleb
January 19th 2018


61556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Its a better album but I enjoy this more, that make any sense?



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