Archive for the ‘Dir en grey’ Category

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Best of 2009: B-sides and other stuff

2010年 1月 3日

Here’s the 3rd part to my 5-part “Best of 2009” installment! This time I’m focusing on B-sides and album-only tracks.  There are a couple more bonus categories I didn’t know where else to put (best collaboration and such). Again, nothing is in any particular order.

  • Gunjou no Tani (acoustic ver.)- alan (Gunjou no Tani)
  • SYOUKUBENI (shot in one take)– Dir en grey (Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami)
  • mute– Mihimaru GT (Torokechau Dandy)
  • Pied Piper– Plastic Tree (Sanatorium)
  • I– salyu (extension)
  • KISSES– stephanie. (Pride ~a part of me~)

  • Shiroki Yuu Utsu- the GazettE (DIM)
  • suki– Rie fu (Urban Romantic)
  • Akizakura (cosmos)– Ikimono Gakari (Hajimari no Uta)
  • Driving– Koda Kumi (Trick)
  • Drella– alice nine. (Vandalize)
  • COPY THAT– Namie Amuro (Past<Future)

There were a number of new artists this year… but as the title suggests I’ve only considered the artists who had the strongest debuts (I chose 5). I don’t consider artists like alan to be “new artists” since her work was well known way before her debut album. Artists like Mao Denda (who apparently released stuff about 9 years ago) are eligible because they made themselves known in 2009.  It’s a bit confusing, but it makes sense in my mind ._.

  • JASMINE
  • MiChi
  • Kana Nishino
  • Kizuki Minami
  • Lil’ B

Those where my three “main” categories. Here are the other ones (basically I was just too lazy to make graphics for categories with only one or two winners).

Best Collaboration: Ima Demo Aitai Yo– Yuna Ito feat. Spontania

Best Revival: UnsraW
Best appearance on anime: Again– YUI
Best Instrumental/Interlude: —anten.– Plastic Tree, Tenyou ~Interlude~– alan, INTRODUCTION FOR TRICK– Koda Kumi
Best Remix: romantic (strings ver.)– Rie fu, Days 8-bits of tears YMCK remix– Ayumi Hamasaki

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Best of 2009: singles

2009年 12月 31日

Well I haven’t been reviewing on account of I’ve been on vacation =]. Anyway, now that I’m back and Kowezhi has decided to go party without me (<_<) I’ll spend my New Year’s Eve writing “best of”s. I’ll do singles holistically. I may add a category for b-sides or album-only tracks. None of them are in any particular order… just whatever comes to my mind. Also, no commentary since that would take way too long. Feel free to comment if you agree/disagree. It’s quite possible that I forgot some of the best. Mouse over the album pics to see the name of the artist/single.

Singles

Alright I really wanted this to be a “top 10” sort of deal… but 11 never hurt anyone =] If I *had* to pick a “number 1” I’d have to go with alan’s Kuon no Kawa. I mean come on.. that thing is EPIC (even if it rehashes the same two songs over and over). Also, even though I gave some singles better reviews than others I gave my top 10 based on musicianship, not necessarily the rating I gave. For example, although I enjoyed Miho Fukuhara’s Nande Nakitaku Nacchaun Darou tremendously, Hanabi Sky was clearly a more musical feat.

Honorable Mentions
Kana Nishino- Dear…/MAYBE
Onitsuka Chihiro- X/Last Melody
Lil’B- Tsunaida Te
Mika Nakshima- Overload
Salyu- Corteo ~Gyouretsu~
BoA- Eien


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[Single] Dir en grey – Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karashitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami

2009年 12月 4日

ALW: I love this cover a lot… red and black is sexy, and fits the mood of the song. Plus, this is the only time I can recall in recent memory that they’ve been on the cover. I love when jrock bands feature themselves once in a while!

KWZ: Yes yes, sexy is good! However, I think that the cover also is great because they have tended to go for a darker and heavier sound lately. Traditionally they aren’t on covers, like Aoliwa said, I have never seen them on one. I really like their new styles too!

ALW: Alright this is a long freaking title, so we’re just going to refer to it as Hageshisa. This song is just hardcore and sexy. I could definitely see this on their previous album UROBOROS. New style era for Diru maybe? This has one of my favorite choruses I’ve ever heard from Diru. Basically the song title is the chorus. Kyo does this thing with is voice where slides his voice up a number of pitches (glissando if you want to be specific). We have some great counterpoint in the chorus as well. The verses are typical for Diru’s harder songs… i.e. forget about trying to understand anything Kyo says xD. He has the most versatile voice in jrock and it shows. The guitar riffs of this song are fantastic as well. In the bridge we get some ethnic chanting from Kyo… this song is the sex.

KWZ: As expected, Dir en grey does great work! This is their newest release since UROBOROS, and I have been looking forward to it for a long time! Anyway, Hageshisa is very heavy and like Aoliwa, I love the glissando in the chorus. After a short intro by drums, guitars follow and Kyo comes in with the chorus. This being a post-UROBOROS release, Kyo growls his lyics and includes some of his other techniques which we haven’t heard up until now. 2/3rds into the song the band stops and Kyo shows some pure emotion by angrily shouting. He is truly a master of evoking emotion.

ALW: I wasn’t really a fan of the original version of Zan (it’s a waaaay old Diru song). I like how they’re rehashing a lot of their old work though… showing that they don’t forget their roots. This is a nice heavy metal song and Shinya’s doing some crazy stuff on his drums. So fast! Given that this song is so hardcore it works well following Hageshi.

KWZ: Zan, is a redo of their old version. I think that it sounds a lot more put together. After doing some analysis, I have come up with quite a few differences (I like doing comparison work, it’s interesting.) First off, you’ll notice that instead of that weird intro with Kyo breathing and laughing insanely into the mic, the drums going on and creepy, dissonant guitar, they change that all into a simple growl with tremolo guitar and some crashes which quickly come together into the main melody which you also hear in the original. Also, they picked a higher key! Isn’t that cool to know? A big difference is their sound. The guitars are different tone than the original and they tend to sustain better. Also, you are able to hear the harmonies very clearly. In the original version, the band actually falls out of sync after the first verse. I think that either Kaoru was late because of playing syncopation, or Shinya was too fast… He plays fast the whole time, but speed isn’t everything. As I said before, they have been shooting for a darker and heavier sound lately, and they have achieved that. There is a lot more bass drums and Kyo opts for growling instead of that weird uncontrolled-sounding style of singing he did in the old days.

ALW: Now this is something different from Diru– a one shot take of one of my favorite songs, SYOKUBENI. Of course it’s not as refined as the original, but it’s the rawness that makes it special. Here you can really see how much Kyo’s voice as grown, because he’s got control over his pitch and vocals. He hits every note like he means. One major change is the lack of accordion during the bridge; Kyo just goes solo. The only thing I would change is some of the settings on the guitars because they sound a little too grunge for the song IMO.

KWZ: Since I went overboard for Zan I’ll keep this short. This one-shot-take of SYOKUBENI was awesome. It’s like you’re at a live… but not really xD. I think that the guitars are a bit too gritty. Kyo’s vocals are spot on. Just like a recording! He has gotten much much better at controlling his voice.

Overall: Diru awesomeness allover. Diru always delivers!

Rating: 9.5/10

Tracklist:
1.) Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karami Tsuitai Shakunetsu no Yami (激しさと、この胸の中で絡み付いた灼熱の闇)
2.) Zan (残)
3.) SYOKUBENI Shot in One Take (蝕紅 Shot In One Take)

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DIR EN GREY LIVE REPORT

2009年 11月 19日

So this is our first live report, and Kowezhi and Aoliwa are doing it together! From start to finish we’ll jam pack as many details as we can remember.

Aoliwa: On Monday, November 16, 2009, Kowezhi and I set off for Chicago. This was our second Dir en grey show and we had a lot of high expectations. It would be a three hour drive to the Metro, the venue of the show.

KWZ: Yup, I drove the whole three hours. We ended up arriving there with another three hours of waiting ahead of us. We pulled into a public parking lot (the very one next to that hotdog place) across from the Metro, and walked across the street to see that some crazy people had camped outside and there was already a decently long line. It wasn’t too cold at first, but with wind chill it was freezing! I eventually walked over to a nearby McDonald’s and bought some warm things to consume.

ALW: Ok! So we met up with our friend Kelly, and it was finally time to enter the Metro. It took a little bit to get through security, but eventually we made it in. Willis and I found our way to the concert hall and meandered our way through the mosh pit. Through various pushing and shoving (not by us though… by people in the waaay back), we ended up being in the second or third row of people in the mosh pit. Yay for us!

KWZ: Yeah!! It was great that we were that close. Anyway, the opening act was this weird band called “Digital Mindy”. I will give them this, they were better than last year’s opener, “The Human Abstract”. They had a sort of dark school uniform theme going on and they were all kind of on the fat side, but at least they did something…. Last year, all you could hear of the opening act was the bass drums. Absolutely NOTHING else. This time you could hear everything pretty decently balanced except for the bass guitar, which was inaudible. Oh right…. This being an all ages concert makes this funny: they had strippers come out and do some dancing for a couple of their songs. Aoliwa laughed about how when they came out, all the guys in the room would turn to watch them lol. They were really nothing special to look at… On with the music: I had no idea what the vocalist was saying in almost any of the songs, except i did manage to pick out some of their lyrics. I won’t bother mentioning what they were because they were just repetitive and bad. Overall, the opening act was… meh. All their songs sounded pretty much the same. Don’t bother checking them out. Please. We were at the Metro for DIR EN GREY!

ALW: Ok so now it’s time for Diru!!! As soon as they came on the entire mosh pit lurched forward (this was how we got so close to the front!) As to be expected they entered the stage with Sa Bir in the background. The first official song they played was Vinushka. Not the short version either… the full 9+ minutes of epicness. I couldn’t believe the intensity of the song… Vinushka was flawless.

Next up? Red Soil. We all know this is the third track from Uroboros. Kowezhi and I were right in between Kyo and Die, so we got to see a lot of Die’s technique here. He played with such great accuracy.

Now we have REPETITION OF HATRED, the first track from their previous album, Marrow of the Bone. This song is a personal favorite of mine. This track is one of their heavier tracks and it’s great for lives. I couldn’t help but scream “dead passion!” along with everyone else.

KWZ: Ahh yes, continuing on with the epicness…. Stuck Man was next on the set list. I have to say, I love the bass lines in this song. Being much more complicated, they also show Toshiya’s skill. And as Aoliwa mentioned we were close to Die. It was really cool to see his technique up close! He makes it all look so easy…

A favorite of both the crowd and Dir en grey, Agitated Screams of Maggots definitely had every one riled up. It got pretty crazy once this song started. I love hearing this song live because you can see that Diru really gets into it.

Obscure, another of their well known songs was played after. Nice heavy song. It’s amazing to watch Kyo putting so much effort into screaming and just pushing himself to the limit. Damn good performance! I really wish I could see them more..

ALW: What I loved about this concert was the variety in both the members’ behavior and the setlist. We had songs from Uroboros all the way back to Vulgar. The members also did some unique things as well. Kaoru and Die shifted between 5 different guitars each; it just shows how specific they are about their sound.

Along with water and towels, the stage crew also provided the band with beer. Toshiya opened his about two songs in xD.  The crowd got excited and he waved back in acknowledgment.

Alright, back to the show! The next few songs are all from Uroboros. Bugaboo has an interesting title… but it is one kickass song. You could tell Kyo was really in control of his vocals here.

Now we have Toguro, one of my favorite songs from Uroboros. I love the guitar harmonies especially. Before the song, Die and Kaoru switched guitars again. On the album this song opens with some of Kyo’s soft vocals layered over one another in a very spiritual way. Throughout the show Kyo had been doing these Buddhist-like chants (recall the live version of Agitated Screams of Maggots on the Dozing Green single). That’s how Kyo lead into this song; it created an almost ethereal atmosphere.

Yay now we have Glass Skin, the last single before Uroboros was released. Glass Skin is definitely on the softer side, as it opens up with a simple piano melody. This song moved the audience, and things slowed down for a bit.

Glass Skin was the perfect lead in to the best ballad on Uroboros, Inconvenient Ideal. I was sooooo excited when they performed this song. Almost instantly everyone had their eyes on Kyo.. he began with very soothing vocals before he completely opened up with his raw and passionate vocals. Listening to this song was simply amazing. I almost cried here ._.

KWZ: Dozing Green was next on the set list. This has been one of my favorite songs since I first heard it. Kyo’s vocals were perfect. And I watched Die’s guitar technique again. It was actually really nice to be on his side because you get to hear all of the harmonies their songs. Whenever I listen to this song I am always anxious for near the ending where Kyo does a series of piercing screams. Best part of the song! However… Rather than hearing Kyo, I heard a bunch of fan girls -_-

Another song from an earlier era, Merciless Cult came right after. I love this song and I guess part of that is because Diru pretty much has their own cult haha…. Anyway, it was perfect! They are so consistent and keep together so well, it’s amazing. This is a really catchy song too… I couldn’t help but sing the chorus with the crowd. If I remember correctly… it sounded a lot like the album recording tone wise. They must have used the same guitars/effects…

Their last song before the encores, Reiketsu Nariseba, was awesome. I really think that Kyo is a pro at chanting. During the middle of the song there is a section that he does so before bringing back the rest of the band. Pure sexiness. And it was a perfect choice because it left everyone asking for more Dir en grey! (Of course they would anyway… but really, it was great)

ALW: Yay encore time! We only got 3 encores, but I think that was due to the fact that we got some really long songs in the setlist (props to Kaoru). The crowd was ecstatic when they started playing The Final, one of their best known songs. This song made me cry… again. It’s a very emotional song for both Kyo and the fans.

Also… I thought I’d like to point this out. At one point during the show while most people were looking at Kyo I’m pretty sure Die and I made eye contact. Just saying xD

KWZ: Their second encore was Kodou. This song is overall a bit softer than the other songs. It was great to hear Kyo singing for a bit. Also, it was a sort of break for the audience too. No need to jump around and scream lots. Towards the end though, when Kyo started the screams, the crowd followed suit. Gah, I swear that the fan girls hurt my ears more than their sound system!

“Last song!!  LAST SONG!” shouted Kyo. Dir en grey ended this concert with Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koro. This fast-paced song was a great way to bring the show to a close. After our break with Kodou, we got to use up more energy with this. Frickin’ awesome! All of the band was going wild with this one.

On a side note: At some point during the concert, Toshiya came over to our side and did his crowd provoking. We got to see him up pretty close too!

ALW: So here we have it, the glorious end to an amazing show. Afterward Kowezhi and I waited in line forever to get merchandise. We finally made it and got a shirt and DVD. Shinya and Die signed our DVD. They eventually came downstairs into the store to sign stuff and Kowezhi and I turned around and right there was Die *___* We said “arigatou” and bowed… they smile=]

Yaaay for Dir en grey!!

Setlist:

Sa Bir

Vinushka

Red Soil

Repetition of Hatred

Stuck Man

Agitated Screams of Maggots

Obscure

Syoukubeni

Bugaboo

Toguro

Glass Skin

Inconvenient Ideal

Dozing Green

Merciless Cult

Reiketsu Nariseba

 

Encore:

The Final

Kodou

Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koro

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Shinya’s blog post

2009年 11月 18日

hahaha so Shinya (drummer) made this great blog post before the concert in Chicago (the one KWZ and I attended)

my comments: I can’t believe he ate food from that sketchy place across from the Metro *_*

Oh… and P.S. shinya… my dad used to do those exercises and he had cancer… suck it up =p

source: DEG’s myspace.

November 16, 2009 – Monday

 

DEG / Blog 7 (Shinya)
Category: Blogging

We are in Chicago today and I ate hot dog for lunch.

 

I am always bored before Soundcheck.
So, I decided to do some ab exercise today too.
It is difficult and hard to do it without touching my knees to the floor.

It is colder than New York outside. And the fans in line look cold too.
I hope all the fans, band members and crew don’t catch a cold!!!
There is no way I will catch a cold because I exercise everyday!
Sayonara…hot dog…
Shinya
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Aftermath of Diru

2009年 11月 18日

So Kowezhi and I just got back from the Dir en grey concert today… simply amazing.

We’re working on a joint live review of the concert so get excited xD

We’d like to make it as comprehensive as possible, therefore it will take a couple days to complete. It will be worth it though!

P.S. I’d like to take this opportunity to fully endorse Diru’s most recent album, Uroboros. In my opinion it’s their best album to date, and many of the songs from the setlist were taken from it. Give it a listen =]

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2 days!!

2009年 11月 14日

Dir en grey in two fucking days!!!! I can’t wait to see them live.

gahhh I want a set list T_T