With their eighth studio album, Dum Spiro Spero, Dir en grey are preparing to hit the music world like never before. Word is that there will be a massive American blitz to introduce those who were unlucky enough to never have heard of these guys before to the aural insanity that Dir en grey puts forth. Having seen these guys at the Family Values tour in 2006, I can safely say that they put on one of the most intense shows I’ve ever seen. But has that insanity held and intensity held strong through the years and made it onto Dum Spiro Spero? Find out after the jump!
The first several minutes of the album are incredibly creepy and unsettling, using dissonant piano chords and droning guitars to create a miasma of suspense and dread. What follows, and makes up the rest of the album, is a cacophony of punishing metal, terrifying vocals and amazing production.
‘Akatsuki‘ is, in many ways, a perfect example of how intense and complex the band is. The rhythm guitars chug along with dissonant consistency while the bass alternates between foundation notes and some awesome slapping-popping. The lead guitar comes up with a vast amount of different sounds, from clean effected passages to a solo sound that sounds like the fuzzy lovechild of Jimi Hendrix and Justin Chancellor to a funk-wah passage, which just might be one of the most unexpected yet awesome parts of the song. The drums are mixed and panned beautifully, creating a dizzying effect when the toms are played, jumping from the left field to the right to the left to the center and even more. Finally, Kyo’s vocals traverse his full range, from death growls to soaring, almost piercing heights.
There are many other standout tracks, such as ‘Different Sense‘, which alternates between punishing riffs and yearning, aching melodies. ‘Lotus‘, used as the second single [thanks Abhorson] for the album, is the most accessible track without question, but is still incredibly strong and powerful. But perhaps the most standout aspect of this album is Kyo’s vocal work. His versatility and range are utterly mind-boggling and I’m convinced that he is one of the most diverse singers in the metal genre if not the entire music scene.
The Final Word: Dir en grey have in Dum Spiro Spero a diverse, brutal, terrifying album that needs to be heard and spread. I wholeheartedly recommend this album.