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Music Review: Dir en Grey – The Marrow Of A Bone

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Japan’s critically acclaimed Dir en Grey has released a new full length CD, The Marrow Of A Bone. Formed over 10 years ago, Dir en Grey is bringing their strange blend of musical styles overseas to many already welcoming fans thanks to the 2006 Family Values tour. Originally sporting the “visual kei” movement, this Japanese quintet has made some changes to their look and produced a dark fashion that attracted a fan base that is nearly fixated with them. With this new obsession created, they are preparing to headline their own tour this summer to support The Marrow Of A Bone. It is no surprise that all of their shows have sold out already without a lot of promotion, some in record time.

Here’s the kicker – most of the songs that Dir en Grey sings are in Japanese. In fact, the only lyrics I understood the first time I heard this CD were swear words. Who cares though, this CD is amazing. If I had to describe what they sounded like I would say that they remind me of a fine tuned Slipknot mixed with At The Drive In but having almost a Kings X feel to the more mellow sections on their music. Some songs are soft and passionate while others express pain and leave a mark.

Some may have heard that lead singer Kyo is a tad on the performance side when he sings and likes to subject himself to pain. Not for a moment should you even fathom that this is a modern day Marilyn Manson. These wounds are real and many a time Kyo has subjected himself to severe complications. Having blown out his vocal cords once already, Kyo continues to sing ranging from low to high pitches. Kyo is not alone of course. Accompanying him is Kaoru and Die on guitars, Toshhiya on bass, and Shinya on drums.

“Conceived Sorrow” starts out with gloomy piano with such beautiful signing in Japanese. Kyo takes this first song to impress you with his vocal abilities and prepares you for the rest of the album. Some may be fooled though because music styles rearrange on the following track ”Lie Buried With A Vengeance”. With vocal bursting screams I almost feel like I lost my own voice when the song ended. “Grief” may lead you to think that they use vocal electronics on their songs, but I assure you that none such trick was done.

My favorite track “Namamekashiki Ansoku, Tamerai No Hohoemi” reminds me of a side project that Mike Patton may have taken part in. The guitars are melodramatic and the bass line becomes embedded in your ears. Too bad I have no idea what he sings about. I am sure once translated it is beautiful though. “Clever Sleazoid” may close the album but not without beating a lasting impression on your ears.

When you see a picture of Dir en Grey you may think that they are a joke. They look like innocent punk rock guys sporting biker jackets and sunglasses. They almost look harmless. You have no idea though what they are hiding from you. What they have created I am pretty sure will take on to many fans all over and hopefully put an end to some of that happy go lucky commercial music that I know I personally am sick of being tortured with. Dir en Grey, have fun taking over the world.

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About Brian McConville

  • Nice review. I’ve been meaning to check these guys out.

  • kelly

    i agree with most of your critique. but i just wanted to say…they don’t sound at all like slipknot…
    they’re a thousand times better

  • I enjoyed reading this. I think i know what you mean with the comparison of Slipknot, however I don’t think they do. But I like Slipknot so i guess that might hinder my opinion.

    Can’t wait to see them in London!