Vocalist Kyo from Japanese alt metal band Dir En Grey is, I argue, easily one of the most diverse, talented, and varied singers in music today. His incredible range and ability to go from demonic death growls to soaring falsettos, with everything in between, calls to mind the work and talent of Mike Patton. With a new Dir En Grey album coming later this year, fans of the group are chomping at the bits, eagerly awaiting new material.
However, the wait is not an empty one. Kyo has been hard at work with a side project by the name of Sukekiyo that has recently released their debut album Immortalis, which features 16 tracks over 72 minutes that are wildly inventive and hugely entertaining. Read on for my thoughts on this album!
Starting with “Elisabeth Addict”, the album opens with reverbed pianos that sound like they’re calling from beyond some veiled otherworld. It quickly becomes something more exciting and unexpected, which makes it very clear that the whole album is a journey with strange twists and turns, ensuring that the listener never knows what’s coming next. For instance, the next track “Destrudo” is a mysterious, eerie, beautiful instrumental track, calling to mind images of watching fog roll through a dreamlike forest.
Further on in the album, “Hidden One” is a heavy rock track with an almost anthemic chorus, one that will be sure to get a lot of people singing along during live shows. Their single “Aftermath” mixes elements of jazz with alt-rock to create something that wouldn’t sound out of place on a A Perfect Circle album while the industrial/electonic metal “Vandal” has near carnival-esque moments that sound like something you’d hear from Mr. Bungle. The closing track “In All Weathers” feels like it’s heavily influenced by Akira Yamaoka, shrouding the music in mystique.
My only complaint with the album is that there are so many tracks to digest that it feels like it’s too much at times. When I eat a meal, I’ll sometimes continue eating after I’m full because I’m eating for flavor (who hasn’t done this?). However, there comes a point where the flavor isn’t enough to trick my stomach from being way too full. It’s the same with having too much music. My brain kept doing alright for a while but at a point I simply needed a break because I was becoming overwhelmed.
The Final Word: As mysterious as it is haunting, Immortalis is an engaging debut album from Sukekiyo. Combining heaviness with melodies, swaying from ugly to beautiful, the band sounds like they reside within the heart of Silent Hill. This should be on everyone’s “Must Hear” list of 2014.