Since their inception in 1997, Dir en grey has been turning heads around the world with their unique blend of metal and melody. Their eighth studio album “DUM SPIRO SPERO,” meaning “While I breathe, I hope” in Latin, is a prime example of the band’s impressive range and talent.
The first notes of the opening song “Kyoukotsu no nari” are a beautiful piano melody that quickly descends into an eerie cacophony that would make Silent Hill proud. Kyo’s bone-chilling shriek rings out amidst the chaotic symphony of distorted bass and unnerving melodies. This is only the beginning of your journey.
As “THE BLOSSOMING BEELZEBUB” fades in it becomes clear you are being mentally prepared for an emotional rollercoaster led by haunting guitar riffs, psychotic vocals and entrancing drum beats. Just as the tone is set for a mind-numbing horror trip, you’re snapped back to reality by a flailing drum and bass duo that flings you head-first into “DIFFERENT SENSE.”
From here on the tempo is fast and hard, with the occasional melodic moment as if allowing you to catch your breath. Kyo’s vocal talent is displayed beautifully in each and every song, showcasing everything from the deepest growls to the most angelic cries. Shinya’s drumming is a precise and powerful thunderstorm that sinks to the core of your body while Toshiya’s raw basslines pound mercilessly in your head. The dueling guitars of Kaoru and Die add so much depth to each song its almost impossible to hear every intricate riff and truly appreciate the technical artistry with just one listen. “AMON” and “Akatsuki” are prime examples of this masterful layering technique.
Many attentive fans will immediately notice the remastered version of “Hageshisa to, kono mune no naka de karamitsuita shakunetsu no yami.” Most notably, the guitars have been re-recorded in a lower pitch, which introduces an altered emotion to the song. If you were a huge fan of the original single version of “Hageshisa to…” this new recording may take some getting used to, but it is a perfect example of how the band is constantly evolving and adding new dimensions to their music.
The last two songs, “Vanitas” and “Ruten no tou,” slowly bring you back down to a calm state, shoot you straight back up to mach one and end up leaving you with an insatiable craving for more. “DUM SPIRO SPERO” is a shining beacon of hope in a world shaken to the core by natural disasters and civil unrest, an oasis of raw emotion and tremendous talent to anyone looking for something new and exciting in the music industry. Dir en grey is poised to take the world on a dark and twisting ride into the depths of the human psyche, and we’ll love every minute of it.
Review by: Kigan