Review Summary: Several strong cuts on the sophomore album from GazettE outshine the projects shortcomings as a full album.The Gazette’s
indie Punk-like debut “Disorder”
was a surprise hit, and the song “COCKROACH”
that followed right after on the “Gama”
EP was a bit of a breakthrough for the band, and the first song from the band to fully embrace nu-metal. With more eyes now on the Promising young and new Visual Kei band, expectations were set high for the sophomore album, “NIL”
unlike most GazettE
albums, is not followed by at least some loose concept. The album is basically a jam session that is not constricted to one sound or even one genre. This has resulted in “NIL”
being misrepresented as an album that is all over the place with its genre-hopping when that is not entirely the case. While going from the funky “Silly God Disco”
to the very next track what can best be described as a Slipknot noise rock fusion on “DISCHARGE”
(talk about one hell of a genre whiplash!). “NIL”
can generally be summed up as funk-rock.
The funk sound on “NIL"
is a lot of fun, to the point where one can completely forget how dark a song like “生暖かい雨とざらついた情熱 [namaatatakai ame to zaratsuita jounetsu - lukewarm rain and rough passion]”
is(about a girl who stabs another girl for flirting with her boyfriend). While “Silly God Disco''
does its job as a “forget everything, just dance” song, the strongest song here predominantly in this style is “Shadow VI II I”
. “Shadow VI II I”
would blend it really well with the American falsely labeled ‘emo’ music of the time with Ruki’s rather vocal performance especially in the final chorus. Instrumentally, “Shadow VI II I”
has a quick enough tempo to carry a moderate urgency that fits well with the song. One thing this song shows as one of the biggest improvements that The GazettE has made on their sophomore album is Ruki’s vocals.
there was a deal of vocal imitation that felt off at times that left for a rather mixed bag. Now On “NIL”
the singing is one of its high points from front to back. It's here where Ruki has come unto his own with the smooth low undertone in his voice that would be synonymous with The GazettE
really became more prominent. One strength that remains constant with their debut vocally is Ruki’s emotional performance on ballads.
are both major upgrades from the ballads of the last album (which the ballads off of “Disorder”
are one of the nightlights of that album). “D.L.N”
has a soothing instrumental as it lets Ruki carry all the emotion of the song. The children chanting “Song of the sheep in dark long night” is just a tip of the iceberg of the emotional weight of this melancholic song of bleak contentment (as the song is about a girl who goes blind from an illness). “Cassis”
is more in line with 80's love song ballads with it being a bit over the top, which adds to its charm. It is as sincere as it is vulnerable.
Ironically enough, one of the main issues with the albums is the lingering leftover sound from “Disorder”
on songs like “バレッタ [baretta - barrette]”
. “バレッタ [baretta - barrette]”
is a retread on the tragic love songs on that album, and while I does have a nice guitar solo to close out the song it does not change how the song basically songs like a remaster of a Disorder B-side. “DISCHARGE’
is a lesser version of “THE $OCAL RIOT MACHINES”
, with it being a lyrically improvised rant nu-metal inspired song (however this one being more like a wall of noise). With the existence of the latter, going to this song is pointless. On that note though, production and mixing on is a major improvement over its predecessor, even with some aspects not aging very well, like the bridge on “Nausea & Shutter
The other main problem with “NIL”
is in the way the album is arranged. This may have been a result of The GazettE
changing the original track order to make the album less depressing but as a result, there is not much of a flow and there are several jarring shifts throughout the album. The most notable one being the whiplash of going from “Silly God Disco”
and then to “DISCHARGE”
the very next track, as mentioned earlier. This can result in“NIL”
feeling less like an album and more of a playlist of the band’s songs, and could be the main reason this album has mostly been associated as this all over the place genre-hopping album.
Thankfully the songs for the most part are really good on their own. Most of the songs carry a great deal of emotional weight and take advantage of the more polished mixing and mastering like on the melancholic “Bathroom”
. It starts off with a faucet dripping with some wet industrial sounds to complement the drums before the melancholy of the whole instrumental fully kicks in. The synth in the background behind the riffs for the song while simple it does a great job with the song's atmosphere, as does the feminine-like backing vocals during the chorus. Ruki really drives home this bleak rock song (well it is going to be bleak seeing as how it is about a man who walks in to find his girlfriend or mother, take a pick as to which it is, dead in the bathtub.) with his performance, especially with his belting in the bridge. Another track with a great deal of emotional weight that features a great vocal performance would be the album closer, the outright stomach-turning “体温 [Taion]”
is a very haunting closer from the opening scratches. Vocally there is a weary and desperate tone from Ruki, especially during the chorus which songs more like outright crying, and in the verses, there is the right amount of quivering in his performance. The growls on here stick out from the other heavy songs on “NIL”
) because there is a genuine feeling of anger and distress behind them. This is one of the highest regarded songs in The GazettE
catalog and for good reason, it's a fantastic blend of the aggressive and melodic side of the band. The drum snare hits on the 3-4 beats add to the dread of the sun's atmosphere, and the guitars from the melodies to the riffs are fantastic. The song's outro drags out into a slow fade of ominous scratches is a fantastic way to close an album.
is an album that features many strong individual tracks that are well regarded as some of the bands best, and despite its lack of cohesion and identity hurt it when looking at it as a full album, is enough for it to be looked back fondly.
“Shadow IV II I”