X Japan



by YakuzaXRock USER (2 Reviews)
June 15th, 2006 | 76 replies

Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

X Japan - Dahlia

First, before I start this review, there are 3 things I would like to say in order to make this review more simple and easier to understand. First of all is very simple and even very rude, but simply put, this is the best record ever, by any artist, throughout time. It’s that simple.

Basically, that’s all you would need to hear, and not need to read the following pages and instead just go listen to it, but I’m afraid that wouldn’t be quite enough to convince you, and besides just stating that doesn’t give me much credibility, does it?

The vast majority of you wouldn’t believe me anyway because this is the kind of statement you hear everyday; someone saying “this is the best album ever!” and when you finally give that album a chance, it didn’t really come to your liking. So, to avoid such a misunderstanding and to actually prove this IS the best ever, and most of all invite you to a great record, I decided not to make the short version above, and instead explain in detail of what I hope to become a helpful review. Also, I’m not going to be objective in judging this album, in fact it’s going to be heavily subjective. I’m not even going to try not be biased, because I can’t! How can I critisize something that just is so perfect, so flawless as this one is? “Dahlia” and “X” does have a fair share of advantage because of another subject too; this is a band I listen to about 4-6 hours e v e r y day for almost 5 years. No, I’m not joking or exaggerating. They’re that good, I keep listening to it because I never find anything better and I’m perfectly happy here with it, that’s probably why. If I did listen to something else (alright occasionally I do) I would have broaden my musical experience and so on but what for? I’m happy!

For what it’s worth, I’m also going to tell you that I’m a person that judges music critically. I only give out good scores for good albums. This is my first review on rateyourmusic, despite being here for a long time, there are many albums I love and want to review, but I decided to write about the best first. For a long time, I even refrained from started writing, until I felt I was fully ready to try express my feelings for this piece, and making the words come out right. I had to know exactly how and what to say, it took time but it was the only way.This also gave me the chance to see different sides of this album, to explore it even more and see if it became worse with time.

It didn’t.

The title “best record ever by any artist” should not be used lightly. Looking back at the history of music and all the ever growing numbers of albums and artists, all different kinds of types, people’s difference of opinions and perspectives on songs, different lives and lifestyles, from the age of classical music to the pop idol scene we have today, it takes quite much balls to make a statement to say that “this record is the very one”. Fortunately, “X Japan - Dahlia” does just this, it is the best and lives up to all expectations and that’s also why I feel so perfectly comfortable giving it this honor. In my opinion, of course. This is what I think, of course you might not feel the same. Everyone has different opinion on music, some of you might actually agree with me, most of you probably won’t. But I’m quite sure that almost of all of you could enjoy the wonderful music of X Japan - Dahlia.

I’m not a musician myself. I don’t play guitar, I don’t know how to play piano, I don’t play drums. Would I know more about music if I learned to? Would I change my opinion on the greatest album ever? Possibly, but probably not. You see, outstanding guitar solos (Yngwie Malmsteen), amazing arpeggios (Jason Becker), extremely advanced piano plays and anything else that’s regarded as skill, it doesn’t interest me much. I don’t own a record collection of tens of thousands of cds, neither listened to thousands of them either, so I can’t say I’m a “music coneasseur” but I do know that of everything I’ve heard and probably ever will, what I’m writing in this review is what I truly think. Also I’m by no means any ‘pro’ regarding X japan, I’m just another simple fan (ok, slightly more enthustiatic perhaps :) as I think there’s nothing better in life than X).

What I care about is the feelings and emotions a band or record can bring me, be it the most technical advanced music ever or a simple rhythm, what I enjoy is the feelings it gives me. For those of you that worry about this part, I’m quite sure X Japan is one of the more talented and skillful musicians out there.

The second thing I’d like to say is, as you maybe already noticed, I’m not from an English speaking country, so I hope that any further grammar/spelling errors won’t annoy you too much, I’m sorry. I thought it would be better to write this in English, despite me not being fully capable of doing so, because more people could just find this beautiful hidden gem in the world of music. Fortunately, the music of X doesn’t care about culture, language or English grammar errors, it’s all universal there is no need to worry. So does the world need another review of X Japan - Dahlia? It’s a 10 year old record... hasn’t everyone already discovered this by now? Well, believe it or not but the answer is no. I didn’t find out about X until year 1999, even less listened to them. And wow, even way back then they had already broken up... such a long time ago, and still I’ve found nothing better! I wouldn’t want anyone to miss this opportunity, I’m forever grateful for finding them.

Third, this is going to be a long review, so for all of you looking for a short summary, just read the first couple of lines and listen to the cd :-) The world of X japan, and especially “Dahlia” cannot be explained easily. If you’re new to the band and have no idea of what I’m talking about and interested to explore a new universe, or already somewhat familiar with the band or even highly experienced with them, there’s still reason to read on. I’m trying to write so both new and old fans of X can enjoy. I hope I can write at least something interesting for everyone and I’m positive I can give you some new thoughts by giving my perspective on it. The album “Dahlia” itself is a lot different from the other records X released, and their career was very long and in order to understand “Dahlia”, certain comparisons between this and their earlier efforts, stories and facts about their career must be mentioned, and comparisons between X and other bands/albums is also interesting, sometimes neccessary, which causes the review to become longer. But of course, focus will always be on reviewing this album! So sit yourself back comfortably, open your mind and let your ears guide you instead of your eyes. Because if you do, you will find something you’ve never felt before; a new path to the very meaning of life itself! Yes I WILL get a lot of flaming, hate mail and various spiteful comments about this, (maybe enemies for life, who knows!) but yes I mean it, this cd is THE MEANING OF LIFE!!! The answer to the question of what humanity has asked itself ever since our first days. HAHA!

That was very funny huh? I’m glad you enjoyed it, because it wasn’t a joke! :-) I assure you, this is what I think, I’m serious. Is this guy really stupid, insane and a true fanatic? Maybe he’s even dangerous? Can people really be so devoted that their entire life depends on one single music album? Why is he worshipping 5 random guys, that he’s never met, and they’re even japanese to boot? (A struggle X and many other bands had, they tried to breakthrough in the US but culture and language factors stopped them from any success). “He must be overrating these guys a lot, I mean a group of 5 people can’t change the world”, you might be thinking. Well, these 5 weren’t just anybody. I can’t tell you who and how they are, because they only know that themselves but try listening to their music or read a little about them on the internet. I can’t blame you for thinking I’m an idiot, but for me, this modest little cd and its case is the portal to life. It just sets my soul on fire and I feel that I’m living, not just being alive, you know what I mean? Feelings such as these are naturally impossible to explain, especially by writing, it can only be felt. And this is exactly what X japan is; feelings. If you’re not an emotional person, and have more of a down to earth attiude, I still recommend you to check out this album. You might find it to be over dramatic but I’m still confident you can enjoy it.

We’re all different, with different principles and ideas. A lot of people don’t find music important, some of us find it amusing, others take it very seriously, and I’m sure I’m not the one who’s the most devoted to it. Some like ‘mainstream’ more popular stuff, others only want rare and not so commercial music. Personally, I tend to like the ‘not so famous kind of music’. Not because of the image either of them brings, but as the successful progressive rock band Tool says “We’ve got nothing against popular music or artists that focuses on image and the superficial part as long as they make good music, that’s cool with us. BUT, for every minute, hour and days someone spends on their image, they could have used that time to worked harder and the make the music better. That’s all what we care about; the music. As long as that is good, we’re happy. Odds are it becomes better if you spend more time and work with it instead of focusing on something else”. And I think that’s quite an accurate explanation, and because of that and many other factors I tend to like not so popular music. Funny, as it is, X japan is actually a commercial hit. It was (and still is) very popular among teenagers and persons that care a lot about their image. X was one of the first few bands that VISUAL But as Tool said, “as long as the music is good we’re satisfied” and this is exactly how X is. It’s good, even if it’s famous! So, now when you finally know how good I think this album is, let’s get started!
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The 11th December 1996, japanese rock band X Japan released their final and highly awaited album Dahlia. The pressure was enormous. At this time, X was a very established band, with millions of fans and the top selling artist of the nation. Worshipped by many, their fame and fortune had reached the peak; they were the unquestioned number 1 rock band. It even went so far that prime minister Koizumi Junichiro has expressed his joy for the music of this beloved band (and I believe not just to earn popular favor among the people of the country, which he could, but I think he actually does like them. He’s met several times with frontman Yoshiki). X had EVERYTHING they ever dreamed of; and yet, there was several signs of chaos in the band. Perhaps this was just normal because X was just that; chaos. Difficult to understand for the non-initiated listener, X is a lot about feelings; death, suicide, joy, happiness, sorrow, jealousy, love, hatred, longing, destruction and much more. Frontman Yoshiki Hayashi has always been the very core of the band. He was described as a troublesome ruffian in his youth, with not too good grades and a careless boy. His endless pain has been shaping the band and their music from the very beginning.
At this time when Dahlia was created, there were rumours that within the band there were schisms and inagreements. Despite this (or maybe because of it) “Dahlia” rose as the masterpiece. Many fans of the band didn’t like the direction the music that X (or rather Yoshiki, because he was the one who managed the band and firmly created and decided what the music would become) had taken.

Dahlia was unquestionably more experimental, cloudy, newer and different from anything X had done before. The old rock sound of angsty punks with weird hairdos, sex pistols-similar clothes and Kizz-make up was gone, all of the band members had cut off their hair or changed their image entirely, or toned down the previous wild, rebellious punk image. But this doesn’t mean “Dahlia” is overproduced, the production is absolutely perfect and the sound is just the way it should be to suit the music. X was in the early days of the 80s the pioneers and founders of a style called “visual kei”, which is a famous type of music in Japan. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, visual kei is using “visual elements” to create a more unique style that would add more effects to the live shows and most important; the band’s image. This visual element could be anything from pink colored hair with extensions so that the hair would reach down to the waist or longer, or punk hair or anything that would make them look more extreme or different. Make up and lipstick were more of a habit than exception. Visual kei is obviously very comparative to what “Hair Metal” and “Glam Rock” was in the western part of the world. It is very obvious that “Kizz”, the old 70s American rock band, has been a big role model of X (as a sidenote, Yoshiki himself has expressed that he likes them many times, he even wrote the cover song “Black Diamond” as a tribute). Visual kei is indeed similar to these previous installments, but with japanese style, more easternized and more proffessional. This was of course a good marketing trick as it brings a lot of attention, and people liked it (especially younger women, fan-girls!).

X Japan started this movement by exploring and testing this area, and it was quite fast accepted within the japanese population. Japan has always been rather tolerable to costume and role playing as a part of their culture history, where male actors have dressed as females in different plays (kabuki). Yet, their shocking image gave them a troublesome reputation among the society and at first they only attracted rebellious kids or metal fans. At the mid and end of 90s, many popular and famous bands in Japan used visual kei as an important part of their image. It wasn’t just for fun any longer, bands started making big bucks using this make up and looks. It was not uncommon that the members of the bands (all male) would be mistaken for females by foreigners or unknown people, which is not strange at all because the make up, clothes and hair does indeed add to this androgyne image. Many other famous bands such as Malice Mizer, Dir En Grey, Luna Sea, and hundreds, probably thousands of bands used this image to incorporate in their stardom. Some used it to their advantage, others failed to do so.

Eventually, in my experience (and this debate continues to rage on, and everyone has their own opinion) many bands took this image too far and started to focus more on their looks, used energy, money, time and enormous effort in trying to look cooler, more shocking or beautiful than any other band. This is fine with me, but when it affects the musical aspect, that it’s more important to look good than fix that drumming section or guitar scene, it’s more of a model show than music. And I like music! To me, music is always in the center and always will be. Maybe that’s exactly the secret key in why X was so sucessful; they played visual rock but in the center there was ALWAYS THE MUSIC. And these boys weren’t just only looks and no brain... Yoshiki himself had been under very hard pressure from early days to practice music, he started playing piano when he was 4 and his mother was a musician. Many fans of X (and Yoshiki, because there’s no denying that Y. Plays a huge part of X, he’s the one who wrote the absolute majority of the songs, lyrics and created the melodies, he also owned the record company and the studio) they proclaimed him as the new Mozart, the 20th century musical genius, a statement I can understand and somewhat agree to. Just as Jimi Hendrix was a master on guitar, Yoshiki is a musical genius, his music is “beyond his own time”. Funny comparison by the way, Hendrix was playing his rather rebellious music as a black man in a shaken up country, and Yoshiki (and X) playing rebellious rock music in a strict and formal society, earning their way to respect. Many members of the band have also wrote their own journals or books about this band and what it meant to them, it’s quite nice to read their personal words and opinions of how things were so check it out if you’re interested. The legend says that even before he was a teenager, Yoshiki made the first plans and formation of what would become X, the band that would change so many people’s lives, with his childhood friend Toshimitsu (Toshi) Deyama. Of course, at this stadium it was all fun and games, but it would all soon become more serious. Yoshiki’s father died when he was very young, and this has been a part of him ever since (a sidenote: the ballad “tears” is dedicated to him).

They started looking for other band members that would join them, a couple of members came and went for the tryouts, little information is known of this as it happened in the early years (1979-1983) where recording sessions were not saved as it is today. No computers, no internet, hell not even cd-players. But of what little info there is, a few musicians (or maybe more accurately punks :-) who was hanging out with the band was Hisashi “Jun” Takai (who’s now a solo artist and holds guitar lessons). He chose to leave the band on his own due to that he didn’t like celebrity and stardom (maybe it was good that he left then! Because that’s what X just became, but in a bigger scale than what they all ever imagined!) A couple of other members were Hikaru, who now owns a rock bar in Tokyo, and a few other tryouts were Eddie, Hally, Satoru, Tokuo, Izumisawa, Zenon, Ogata, all in the early 80s. It’s said that totally about 20 persons came to auditions, before settling down to the current line up.
Rumor has it that the reason why it took so long to find a first line up and release their first album was that Yoshiki just couldn’t find enough skilled musicians to play his music. Finally, in 1983, the first real line up of X was formed and their first official song “I’ll kill you” (which was speed metal) was released. The members of the band were Yoshiki Hayashi, who simply used the artist name Yoshiki. He composed the songs, played the drums and piano and any synthizors that were used. Vocalist was Toshimitsu Deyama (Toshi), bassist Taiji Sewada and two guitar players Hideto “hide” Matsumoto, and Tomoaki “Pata” Ishizuka. All of these members have had their own solo careers and projects.

hide had the most successful, which even some fans like more than X. hide quickly became the member of X who was most “visual” of all, he always had the longest hair and wore most make-up. His solo band was named “hide with spread beaver” and his tours across Japan were huge, selling millions of records and profiling himself in the world of rock. On the contrary to X, hide played a more relaxed, more easy listened, catchy, superficial and happy and almost hippie/drug influenced type of music, whereas X was complicated, filled with sadness and torment, Yoshiki always worried about life, but hides style was partying and celebrating which appealed the mainstream fans, and this was a huge success with the younger audience. I will try not to comment too much on hide’s solo career (unless neccessary) and maybe write about it later, but this is neccessary to say (sorry all hide fans!) but in my opinion he’s quite overrated, focusing too much on looks and too little on the music (therefore gaining lots of popularity among people who are not as serious about music as others). It should be known that hide also got a lot of focus due to his death in 1998. (Hmm I wonder how things would have been if it was actually Yoshiki who died and hide was alive? Scary to think of, and rather unpleasant and useless anyway so let’s not stay at that any longer).This created a "hide hysteria" and it often causes fans to forget that hide was human--and that not everything he touched turned to gold. He can’t compete with Yoshiki at all. His stuff is enjoyable, but if you’re saying hide is better than Yoshiki, you haven’t paid enough attention or listened enough. When going deeper into the music and listening to it for a long time, I get bored with him, his music is very predictable and he’s not as talented as Yoshiki.

Pata, the other guitarrist, was the most calm and least bold of all the members, he just smiled and played his guitar. He’s had a modest solo career, and is now playing in a band called “Ra:IN”.There were actually two bassists, Taiji was the first one during the first three albums. He usually dressed in westernized clothes and easily recognized thanks to his cowboy hat. He liked music that was more western than the others, and in a conflict with Yoshiki at the time of making “Jealousy” (1991), Yoshiki undeliberately broke Taiji’s arm and after that and some more conflicts he was fired. Now, Taiji is having his own band called Otokaze. He was replaced by Heath (Hiroshi Morie), who joined in late 1992, who also had a small solo career with Pata in the group Dope HEADZ.

X Japan is indeed something unique. A formation of 5 persons, each with their own talent and skills, united into a group with all their hearts beating as one. The chemistry this band puts together is incredible. They changed the music industry in Japan, and helped many to find their dreams. Today, X japan is since long gone, the sands of time have washed away a bit of their glory and many of music’s younger fans today know very little or nothing about the band or are just uninterested as it is too old, and the people in their own generation have moved on with their own lives, creating families and so on. Still, the songs of X remains and for me, this is truly eternal. It’s also important to note the factor of X in the studio and X live. If you haven’t seen any live concerts with them, do it now!
It’s interesting to look at how the band’s sound changed with the years. To see how “Dahlia” became what it was in 1996, a short summary could be useful. To be able to compare and understand why Dahlia is better than the previous albums, let’s look at the musical progress the band has made, because throughout X Japan’s life span, they did it all, speed/trash metal, ballads you name it. In Japan, especially at this time, discography is a bit different than it’s over here... the normal standard of regular albums isn’t applied, instead singles, mini/maxi album and EPS are much more common. Regular albums exist too, but not at all as wide as here. That’s why X’s most songs are first released on singles and then maybe later on an album, which also means songs on “Dahlia” had previously appeared. I can understand how people find this disappointing, I feel the same, if a new album is released I don’t want it to contain the same songs as before. But looking at Dahlia, I can only see a composition of absolutely heavenly songs, even if they’ve appeared before or not. Most of the songs are ballads, even if a few ones are rock. Before and during the “Vanishing Vision” (first album) era, X was a thrash/speed/power metal band. It was just mostly about “fun and rock as hard as you can”, but still with a slight importance and contemplation. The album was all guitar and drums, no fancy digital sounds or distortions. It had classics such as “Kurenai” and “Sadistic Desire”. Even though well written and produced, X still had much to improve. With the release of their second major album “Blue Blood”, X still kept their image of hard rockers but had started to slightly be influenced by softer sound and wrote the classic ballad “Endless Rain”. “Blue Blood” is the record that made them breakout, and it sold very well. It was the most easily listened and straight forward album they released. Just a simple album, with regular rock songs. Many fans regard this as their best album, but actually I think it’s their worst! “Blue Blood” is full of questionable tracks such as easy fight rambling, celebration and weekend. These are songs you enjoy in the beginning, but after a long time I grow very tired of them. This is not the case of “Dahlia”.

In the early years, before and during the “Vanishing Vision” (first album) era, X was a thrash/speed/power metal band. It was just mostly about “fun and rock as hard as you can”, but still with a slight importance and contemplation. When “Jealousy” came out, it was all much more apparent that X was of serious nature. “Silent Jealousy” and “Say anything” was truly a step up from the monotonous “Blue Blood” and a huge improvement in content. Whereas songs as “Weekend” meant nothing, “Silent Jealousy” had a deep meaning. X had become more mature, which really showed in the songwriting and they were so much more dramatic now. Originally, the next release, “Art of Life” was supposed to have been included in the “Jealousy” release, but due to its length and obvious size, it was released independantly in 1993. Interestingly enough, this means parts of “Art of Life” was written in 1991 or even earlier! After “Art of Life”, X japan had nothing to prove. They had already showed their excellent musical talents, their masterful control of different genres, metal, symphonic music, pop music.... and yet, they created something like this. To fully understand why “Dahlia” is their best work, I can only say keep listening, listening and listening to their music over and over and over again.

Before actually talking and analyzing the songs, let’s look at the cover for a second. The cover of the album is a picture of Yoshiki, sitting in the middle of a street, with cars rushing by but he’s just sitting there, not caring about what happens around him, uninterested in the all regular stressful society system we’re all a part of. He’s dressed in grey silver-white jeans, a black shirt and sitting on a boquet of dahlias (it could also be roses, roses have always been a bit of his gimmick, by the way, but it’s most certainly dahlias as that’s what the album is about). I just find this picture adorable, it describes freedom and strength, a bit of insanity I guess (sitting in the street), and that his whole life is riding on... whatever he is up to, probably the one he loves.

Okay, so... you’re ready? For full maximum effect, put on your best equipment, best speakers available, focus deeply and listen in headphones to hear all details. Click play, start the record and another world opens:

Track 1: Dahlia
Ok, so we are right onto it, it starts out right away with the best, no time to waste. And you will soon notice that this song takes it all so serious. This song is of huge importance to the album, maybe that’s why it’s first on the cd. It’s very important, not just because it’s one of the best songs ever, but also because It really shows the changes of X’s sound and the newer generation of the band.This is such a perfect song, it just blows my mind... so beautiful it blows me away and I don’t know what to say. However, this song took me quite a while to get into. The first couple of times I heard it, I didn’t like it at all. The distorted, almost computerized and strange voice of Toshi at the beginning through me off, the guitars sound just too strange, almost like garbage, the drums were in a weird rhythm and the song just didn’t make sense. BUT, given time, this song grew something incredibly. It started with me reading the lyrics, finding the message and understanding it, and after that the highlight mysterious break at 03:18 enticed me just enough to find out just what kind of song this really was. The mysterious drum break is very experimental and almost psychadelic, at that moment there are no guitars and no vocals, nothing like X had ever done before. When I hear this, even now, after listening thousands and thousands of times to this song, the feelings overwhelm me and I feel like and envision as if I was in a forest, I see this vision of an autumn forest, I’m walking through it and different lights, resembling strobe or disco lights, in colors of green, yellow, orange is shining down through the leaves, reflecting on the leaves that are falling down, and as soon as it started the melody of the song changes back and drags me back into the real world, just like as if I was in a dream, like waking up in your bed. I’m quite sure of that in this drum break, this is where Yoshiki’s real dreams of Violet UK started.

After the drum break is gone, the tune of the song carries on and the melody continues, just as it was before. It’s hard to describe the song of “Dahlia”, but somehow it symbolizes “life”. To me, the entire song Dahlia, from the first second to the last is about life and the road everyone is walking on, your journey of life, from the moment you’re born to the day you die, this is what “Dahlia” is about. Regardless of what life you’re living, the story of yours is inside Dahlia. The moment you first fell in love, the beautiful boy or girl you loved and she loved you, the time you spent on the beach with her, the warm, passionate kiss under the bridge, the joys and hardships of life you’ve been through, the lonely nights under the sky, the cold snowy nights of winter, your most successful moment and your worst mistakes, your dreams and nightmares, your abstract dreams of whatever they may be (in my case, I see a vision like a glass palace, made of mirrors I’m walking through it, similar to the Bruce Lee Dragon movie :P), old, ancient mountain passages in an era long forgotten and Neon cities with high skyscrapers, flowing rivers and green flower paradises, it’s all inside DAHLIA.

At 05:56, the song calms out and reaches another passage, all there is is some soft sound, with classical strings and Toshi’s very light voice. When I hear this part, I imagine Toshi standing atop of a mountain with both his hands raised and singing out at the landscape, as green valleys and flowering fields are blooming below him, almost as if it was a movie and the camera is moving around him, in circles. Right after this short period, the rhythm comes back but the pace has quickened and “gone up” one step, which makes it clear that the ending of the song is coming close, but also as a reminder that life is closing in and moving close to end. At 07.07, a very important highlight begins. First there’s a guitar in the background (while the strings plays) and then comes the distorted guitars that are playing like the final part of life, like you’re about to die and the end is nigh, and at the very end of the song, the song ends with a striking but fading end, slowly but quickly disappearing just like life itself. When I hear this, I get the image of a glass or a cup of coffee falling to the ground and in multiple replays the glass breaks, again, again and again over again, just like life itself is shattered.
Throughout this song, all sounds are so incredibly synchronized, the small “clinging” detail sound at the background, the drums are in such a motion of a possessed demon, the guitars are fast and determined and the vocals speaking so clear. There are so many emotions and moods throughout the song that it’s impossible to explain. Especially the drums are in such a great rhythm, if you listen carefully you can also note that they play so great very lightly in the background. Let’s not forget about the lyrics, which plays a big part in the song:

“Do nothing but cry day and night. I’m still alone between the past and the future, even though I convert unchanged heart of mine into a beautiful lie. Embracing tears flying across never-ending sky in the night, once again
Oh my Dahlia. Sorrows soaked in my heart turn their shapes into countless consternations. You don’t know where you are going to, once you spread the wings of loneliness in your undecided mind and go across the sea of tears.
You will spread your wings against wind of tomorrow even if the voyager ends up with shapeless dream (hoping that) you will see blue sky
Time after time, you try to find yourself drifted by wind of sorrow
You try to find yourself even in passing time with holding continuous pain
Don’t display tear which drops in a second of eternity, ever again.
Oh my Dahlia. Rain falling to scars that everyone has in his heart is.
Blown by cold wind, birds that still can’t fly away hold their dreams, in the sky of dawn. A Flower of fantasy blooms along the trace of tears, making time stop flying.”

(Note: This translation could vary compared to others, I have found this to be one of the more accurate as Japanese lyrics and music can be very complex because it’s usually structured as poetry or poems, and also there are certain emotions and feelings we in west can’t comprehend and then it gets even more difficult to translate. I do believe this one to be accurate as I had a very strong source for it). Why is this song better than the ever almighty famous “Art of Life?” (see mini album with the same name, released 1993 by X japan) Doesn’t Art of Life describe the road of life as good or maybe even better than “Dahlia”? Isn’t the spectacular length, grand design and effort of Art of Life even better than Dahlia’s? Well... without being as epic as Art of Life is, Dahlia still manages to present its purpose. Art of Life loses a bit of it’s perfection by being just a little too long. It’s really nice and I don’t dislike it’s length, if it wasn’t as repetitive as it is. Dahlia incorporates all of these elements, with an even more emotional side. (Art of Life also has a few weaknesses and that is that I find the female voice that’s telling a story quite disturbing and to be honest the piano solo yes it’s emotional but it does disrupt the musical element. However, it’s a near perfect song). I can't just bring myself to even try to understand how someone could even write something such as this. Dahlia also gets better, and better and better for each time you listen to it... it’s never bored me, and I’ve listened to it constantly for 6 years now! (at least 6 times every day). The only thing I regret is not finding it earlier :-)

This is, without a doubt, the weakest track on Dahlia, and possibly the weakest of all of X Japan’s songs. It’s written by hide, which is quite easy to figure out with the other kind of tune and mood than the other songs. Hide had his own kind of style, acting and trying to look different, cool and dark... which he succeed to be, to a certain degree. Scars is, I assume, meant to sound self destructive and show the bitter side of life, but this song just sounds uninteresting and too empty without content to be of any value. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE depressive music (almost all of X’s music is sad!) and wide known rockband Alice in Chains is my other favourite band, which plays solemnly dark, depressive music, but it should be with some kind of content! Scars isn’t, and the melody isn’t well constructed, only the guitar solo is decent, and Toshi’s voice is fine too, adding some fragrance of despair to the song. It’s slightly better live actually, but it doesn’t save it from being one of X’s worst songs. This song is a disappointment, and always hits the skip button. Let’s move to the next one.

Longing~togireta melody:
The most anonymous and quiet ballad of X. It’s rarely appriciated as much as Endless Rain or Forever Love, but it still acquires it’s fair share of good comments. I think it’s a beautiful song, though just not exactly as good as the previous ones that were mentioned, but it’s good! Toshi’s vocals makes it more interesting as the melody is rather plain and simple, sometimes slightly too repitive though. The line “I sing without you... I’ll sing without you, can’t you feel my heart, falling through the rain?!?” is beautiful. There’s a nice guitar solo at 3:40 (that reminds me much of endless rain’s!) It’s a decent ballad, well orchastrated in the usual X fashion, not just my top10 X song.

Rusty Nail:
The first 11 seconds of this song truly shows what a masterpiece this song is, why it’s the best song ever by any artist and what a true genius Yoshiki Hayashi is. This is THE VERY DEFINING sound of X japan, and the very defining sound of existence and life itself!!! So short, so beautiful and so...full of energy... it transmits the feelings of empty space and a room of absolutely nothing, just space like outside in the atmosphere, a vacuum. Whenever you hear this sound, whoever wherever whatever you are, you can be whoever you want to be. This is the sound somewhere out of space, where nobody can find you, where you are free and your spirits are living. Where nobody can hurt you. This is the life you were never born into, this is you with a different face, a different name and a different place. This is the memory of your unconsciousness of a life you lived before this one, this is the moment when you can breathe forever under water, this is when your eyes can see things in another dimension than your eyes usually see. This is every secret of you that nobody else knows and every good thing inside you. And all this is in the first 11 seconds. When I die (because someday I will), these 11 seconds will flash before me and play the moments in my life, replaying everything that has ever happened to me. This sound is the sound of dreams, and dreams are what we are made of.

These 11 seconds can only be explained as Rusty Nail.

When this song was released as a single, the cover was an arranged picture of Yoshiki (see my profile picture), with a half picture of his face, no eyes are showing and his lips have a blue color with a drop of it dripping down his chin, with a broken fingernail next to his face. And where the eyes should have been, there’s just the text rusty nail. Right after the intro, the song kicks in rather rocky, with a very nice rock riff and Toshi’s voice comes soon after. What’s also so incredibly great with this song is the lyrics. Here is an example:

“(I am) Looking at the rose drawn in the pieces of memory.
Rusty nail is sticking to unchanging memory made of fragmented feeling of mine
How many tears can let me forget you?Just tell me my life
I can’t see tomorrow for tears covering my eyes no matter how far I walk. Even though I forget the pain of weekend ended just as a prelude, even though I try to let myself flown in the stream of passing time, Rusty nail is still sticking to my heart. How many tears can let me forget you, leaving a sleeping and bloomed rose whose color is vanishing?Living life with honesty casts away night in the eyes leaving only bright dreams and brings morning. Living life with honesty finishes nights that I used to spend time crying with holding red wrists. Pain decollates my heart even now. I can’t still forget you.”

The lyrics of this song is so beautiful and tells the story of all our lives. At 1:14, the synthisor sound kicks in again, this time with the guitars. At 2.17 us the moment of soul’s journey to heaven. This is what it would feel like to go there; your soul ascending to the sky... Yoshiki’s perfect sense of whispering lyrics here “I can’t die, I can’t live, I can’t die just set me free” is what defines life. It’s what we all feel or felt as teenagers, trapped in life and death. It can’t be explained, just listen to it and you’ll see. Soon after, a break appears, the sound lifts and Toshi is singing from heaven.

At 3:43 hide kicks off with a nicely timed guitar solo with a waha pedal, that summaries the song. The tunes keep going for a while, and the song ends with a drummed out, and the mysterious sound of synthizers, guitars and at 05:24 they finish you off with a slash at the guitars. The song ends, It’s all over! *falls down*
No western band can make a song like this. There is just something about Rusty Nail that truly defines asian music... maybe it’s the tempo, the crystal clear sound which only asian artists use (for example, see Dir en Grey’s hoturabi, it has the same content). Interesting to note too is that during a live show, Rusty Nail gets even stronger and a more powerful tune is applied, very recommended to check out too. It’s great music to drive car to as well, pump it into your stereo and you’ll see why. While driving through the landscape the raindrops smash towards your window, or the sun is shining and you smile with all your face, the road lamps keep moving behind you as the car drives forward” it’s all so perfect. The best song ever, live or on studio album it has it all. Let’s say it like this” after I found this song I could die happy.

White Poem I:
Can someone say dream?!? Oh, this is such a dream. This is the dream and visions of Yoshiki, a corner in his mind and heart nobody has ever seen before. This mysterious, eluding, unorthodox, elegant song is very interesting! As “Dahlia”, White Poem I is more experimental than the earlier efforts of X. Only Yoshiki could write something like this (I’d like to see hide write something like this! Oh wait, he can’t he’s gone :/ ) and the song is screaming out Violet UK all the way, with future visions of something special. The whispers of Yoshiki and Toshi’s vocals make a great job. This is as dreamy as a song gets. If I was female, i could imagine this to be a very seducing and sexy song... Yoshiki’s lips pouting out, with a dreamy aura... It’s a mysterious song, not rock not ballad... it’s just different. The slow piano playing throughout it is also very nice, with a beautiful touch of Toshi’s voice. Great song!

Crucify my love:
The most sad X ballad? It’s a great song, good lyrics and again, perfect vocals and piano. Heartbreaking and sad, moving with a slow pace and nice string arrangements. No surprise, this song is about love and pain. I tend to like the live version better, it brings more emotion. Good song!

Another huge hit, and an instant classic. Very popular ballad Tears have a special place in a lot of fans hearts. The intro is really good, relaxed but serious, and Toshi’s vocals, beautiful as always. This is probably the song where he sings the very best, he carries the high tunes so good without a problem. At 2:10, the drums come in and the melody continues. This song is very easily listened and chances are you’ll like it immediately. The lyrics are great, the guitar solo is splendid and the vocals, the vocals is SO good! Then, why, is this song not my personal favourite? Well, you see... it’s a good song, but time has taken it’s toll on it... unlike Endless Rain and Forever Love, I have somehow got bored of Tears. Not bored that I dislike it, just that I always listen to other songs :-) The chorus “Dry your tears... with love” works.... but after 6 years of intensive listening, it just doesn’t get to me anymore. I feel it’s also slightly too long (especially the outro) and not as interesting as the other two ballads. It’s a great, great song though and this is only measured by the standards of X... any other band doesn’t even come close to this song.

An interlude, stopping at 1:25. It’s a heavy song, with a very digital sound, almost industrial and nothing like normal guitar. Again, very experimental and nothing like classic rock. This is more of an intro to the following song, Drain. So these two belong together.

Most controversial song of X, I would say. It’s usually a “hate or love it” song; whereas the older generation of fans does not like it. “Drain” is full of electronic sounds and remixes, with a distorted guitar line and strange drum beats. It cannot be explained as neo/new/Nu-metal, but neither it’s the old type of rock sound. It’s more of a flirt with electronica/industrial, but not entirely. Some find this song just silly, others pretty cool and intense. Whatever your thoughts are, there’s no doubt “Drain” is different. Actually, I don’t find this song to be bad at all. If you listen closely in headsets, you’ll hear some cool whispers in the background, which are pretty intriguing. Toshi’s vocals are pretty intense and the song transmits energy, it’s like a feeling of you’re going on a roller coaster and it’s moving fast, the wind is in your face and you’re falling down, flying with the air. Not one of the best, but not one of the worst either! I feel though that it’s dangerous making a song such as this, as electronica/industrial music is quite dependant on newer technology as the noise sounds should try to be modern (as a part of the music scene) and Drain is about 10 years old now.

Forever Love~Acoustic Version:
The best love ballad in the world, turned into an acoustic love ballad. It couldn’t go wrong, it’s good. If you haven’t heard the original yet, and you’re starting with this, I strongly suggest you to check out the original version, it’s quite important. The acoustic guitars on this one brings feelings of more comfort, warmness and almost like a goodnight tale. I used to play this song before I went to sleep, as the acoustic version was far more relaxed. I do prefer the original though, but this is great as well. Toshi’s performance is again extraordinary, reaching for the stars. And this song is indeed the song to play on your wedding day, just like I’ve heard of that a woman once did =). Nothing to complain about, just a great song!

Bonus Track Longing and Forever Love:
These two songs are just instrumental, for you to sing along or to be able to listen more carefully at the instruments. No comments to make, they’re just extra tracks, on one version. Another album version doesnt contain these.
- - -

The two definite strongest tracks on the album is “Dahlia and Rusty Nail”. Those two are such masterpieces that they changed my life forever. I’m grateful forever for finding these two songs, and they mean so much to me. After that, the rest of the album is solid, with no filler songs and all quality work. X’s career stretches over almost 20 years, in all this time they have made speed metal, thrash metal, power metal, ballads, rock, hard rock, pop, techno/electronica, they’ve done uncountable number of live shows and so much more, but nothing as good as Dahlia. Yoshiki and X truly spent their hearts in souls of making this record, making a true masterpiece, something that will remain on top forever. He was a true perfectionist and he achieved it but the price was high (you fans know what I’m talking about). For all of this, X Japan, you have my endless forever love, thank you for everything. You will always be in mine and many hearts”.

It isn’t just music. This is the greatest mankind has ever made. It’s all like a dream. Have you chased your dreams lately?

user ratings (230)

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 15th 2006


That is by far the most ridiculously long review I've ever seen.

June 15th 2006


I actually read the whole thing!

This is the most fanboyish review Ive ever read, and also the longest. You wrote more than 11,000 characters before commenting on the actual sound of their music, and it was really hard to get through all of that text. I wouldnt be surprised if you dont get a lot of comments on what you said, simply because people wont be bothered to spend so much time reading it.

Your language isnt bad at all, really, but the review isnt that coherent. It seems like you just wrote it as you went along, without paying attention to structure.

The review was no doubt overlong, but still somewhat interesting, and the sheer enthusiasm, as exaggerated as it may seem, intrigues me to check this out. I've listened to Art of Life and I wasn't blown away, and I'm quite honestly not expecting to be blown away by this either, but I'll give it a try.

And a nitpicking, unimportant detail is that you wrote

This is my first review on rateyourmusic
instead of sputnikmusic...

June 15th 2006


This is way too long, I refuse to read it.

June 15th 2006


If this were a concise, shorter review, you'd convince more people to listen to the album

Hebrew Hammer
June 15th 2006


So... basically you like this band

Storm In A Teacup
June 15th 2006


[quote=review]I would like to say in order to make this review more simple and easier to understand.[/quote]Sounds great![quote=rest of review]...11,000 words...[/quote]Wait, what? You lost me.

Honestly though. I will attempt to read this later when I have the time.This Message Edited On 06.15.06

June 15th 2006


Holy ****.
[quote=review]this is going to be a long review, so for all of you looking for a short summary, just read the first couple of lines and listen to the cd[/quote]Mmhm..

June 15th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Your fanboy-ish enthusiasm inspired me to seek this band out.

But I still didn't read all of this review. My god. Size does matter.This Message Edited On 06.15.06This Message Edited On 06.15.06

June 15th 2006


This review was more boring than an Al Gore speech.

Storm In A Teacup
June 15th 2006


I agree.

June 16th 2006


Whoaaaa!!! /mouth hanging open/

June 16th 2006


I didn't read this, but I heard that this band is a huge influence on Dir en Grey, so I'll probably check them out

Mmm Mmm Cookies
June 16th 2006


This is the relative comparison you can make:
They're a good Dir en Grey.
AKA they're mofuxxin incredible.

June 16th 2006


There's already a good Dir en Grey. Dir en Grey...

The Sludge
June 16th 2006


I'll wait to crack open a Smirinoff to read this, this is entirly too long for one casual sitting.

The Sludge
June 16th 2006


HOly Doublepost!!!!This Message Edited On 06.16.06

June 16th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0


I'll try not to be as lenghty as above, even if that was just a very small, tiny bit of text of what I would like to express. In fact Dahlia deserves better (a book written by professionals), but my poor skills cannot do any better, I apologize. Yes, also sorry if it was boring. But it is all straight from the heart.

To introduce myself (if anyone cares) you can look here:


I decided to put up this review here as well (hence the "my first review on RYM" sorry that was a mistake as I admit).

My account there is not special at all and very plain and simple, but it shows a bit of what I think. I could use a couple of thousand more record ratings and reviews, but I'm more interested in "quality" or accuracy in ratings/opinions than quantity. I could, without bragging (?) easily have put up 2000 ratings there but don't feel any need to. Instead I focus more about the ratings I actually do give out.

I put it up here in order to just...uh i dont know, spread the word about this album, mostly because if anyone out there have any chance to feel just a tiny bit of what I feel about this music I'm very happy. I'm not looking for good (bad?) comments or recognition/fame trust me I'm perfectly happy as long as I have this music

The best way to start about X japan is not to try Dahlia. What you should do is buy/download a video of X Japan - The last live or watch some of their live concerts. That's absolutely the easiest and best way (and besides you'll have a great time watching it!) You really need to do this if you want to get into this band, don't get this album first. What you need when listening/trying to get into X is TIME. TIME TIME TIME. I didn't like them at first. Took me a long time to do it, but when i did...

June 16th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Yes, there's no doubt I am a fanboy of this band. Truth is, I would die for this band or Yoshiki if he asked me to, i'm not joking. Yes, I am a fanatic, probably insane and very biased; let's face it listening to the same songs 4-5 hours a day for 5 years isn't healthy. But don't worry im not dangerous lol, and actually pretty goodlooking ;). ANYWAY!

Dahlia is more laid back than Art of Life and not as "special", dramatic or extraordinary. But thing is, given enough time this record is better. It really is. Trust me, I know . And about Dir en Grey/Malice Mizer and other copycats... lol they aren't even close to being close to X (in my opinion). Actually it was even Yoshiki who "directed" DeG from the beginning.

As a small disclaimer, YOSHIKI IS MAKING A COMEBACK this year (hopefully!). There's more information here:

his personal sites:



and another info site:


He will have a concert either in USA, Japan or somewhere in the world. This will be (at least for me) the biggest moment in my life and one really great thing on this planet (for me more important and extensive than world cup/the olympic games) so if you have any chance to go, do it. I will no matter what, despite living in Sweden go. See you there.

"Destiny, Alive, Heaven, Love, Innocents,Always,Destroy, Aftermath, Hell, Life, Infinite." (dahlia)

June 16th 2006


simply put, Dir En Grey aren't even good enough to tune X japan's music instruments - you are having a laugh if you thougt X japan = Dir En Grey.

Yoshiki scouted and signed them and went on produced a couple of their albums as well. these guys don't know how to play guitars (or i should say they are very limited in terms of tecnique)...and their song are nothing but noise...not interesting anymore

sorry for being sidetracked but Dahlia was a very experimental album and personally I love it. But I think of most the listeners who come to this site would like either 'Jealousy' or 'Blue Blood' album better as there are fewer ballads and the songs are more metal. However I would recommend the following songs to check out:

Dahlia - fast yet melodic, the kinda rock you cannot be found anywhere else but from them (esp yoshiki's jaw dropping drumming)
Rusty Nail - my third favourite X Japan song, after Tears and Silent Jealousy.
Tears - lost for words. BEST BALLAD EVER- at least for me it is

June 19th 2006


I don't own this album unfortunately (X Japan albums are damn-near impossible to find in the States and cost rather obscene amounts of money), but what I've heard I like quite a lot. Dahlia and Rusty Nail are indeed rather awesome songs just as X Japan is indeed a rather awesome band.

Yeah, the review is pretty long and extremely biased, but in a way it just goes to show the levels of devotion that X Japan can stir up in it's fans. I believe four people attempted suicide after hide died? This is a lot more than a band to many people and I can kind of see why even if my levels of devotion are not anywhere near as high.

Anyway it's great to see another X Japan review, even if it does take a chunk out of a persons life just to read it.

P.S. to the reviewer -- Calling Malice Mizer an imitation of X Japan is kind of... for lack of a better word, shortsighted. The two don't really sound anything alike and I don't think Malice Mizer ever tried to.

Sorry about that but I get the impression that I may very well be the only Malice Mizer fan around here. Gotta represent.This Message Edited On 06.18.06

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