I finally got my hands on the new Dir En Grey album. I bought it at Best Buy. Isn't that wacky? This is definitely the one thing I've been waiting for. In 10+ years of being a fan of the genre, I've never been able to walk out of a mainstream brick& mortar store with an album like this. (Tower records =/= mainstream enough for me. I'd have to drive an hour and a half to get to one, and most of the time, they don't have anything I don't have in stock, or anything new from half the bands I'm interested in) Even wackier! US version of the album! Not a re-labled import mass released by the company pusing US exposure. (I'm looking at you, L'arc! You bosted mainstream brick& mortar US releases, and no places local to me carried you! And the copies I heard about people getting their hands on were imports!) Not that that's bad or anything. It just feels so weird to be holding a copy of a J-rock CD that excplicitly says "Not for sale in Japan"
I'm reserving final judgement on the album until I've had a chance to listen to it completely a few times. My initial impressions and opinions:
*Vinushka is an amazingly strong track that rythmically reminds me a lot of Tool. If they continue to progress in this direction, I'll be very happy.
*This album as a whole seems a lot more cohesive to me than the previous two.
*In some cases, the Dir En Grey "sound" hurts the album, if that makes any sense. While the album as a whole feels a lot more complete, balanced, and cohesive than some of the previous albums, the parts where they go back to a more melodic DeG are all very generic. I don't understand why Dozing Green is the single track off this album when they start so strongly with Vinushka. I spent too much time on some of these tracks thinking that any minute now they'd break into Jesus Christ& R&R or any number of tracks where Kyo starts off deep and there's a high pitched chorus. The band as a whole has displayed over the years that they are capable of a wide range of things, but I feel that too many of this album's tracks feel like "filler" generic DeG tracks. Every time they start to do somthing a little different, new, and cool on this album, it feels like they have to go back and fill it with more of that good 'ol DeG sound. That being said, it's very nice to hear more singing than screaming on this album.. And while my previous opinions are very strong and what some would call harsh, my overall impression of this album is a very positive one.
*This feels like another transitional album. I'm interested in seeing what direction the band goes in next. I hope they continue on with more interesting rythms and riffs as heard on a few of these tracks. If the album name "Uroburos" is representative of how they feel about the album as a whole, I expect the next album to be either more melodic, or somthing completely different from what we've heard from these guys before. I can't say I'd be heartbroken if the spitting-weird-colored-crap-and-screechi
*Dozing Green works better in Japanese. While executed very well, the rythms of the syllables on the English version don't synch as well with the rest of the music as the Japanese lyrics.
*I am so glad I have a physical CD single of Ain't Afraid to Die. (I think this everytime a new album has come out since that single, though...)
That being said, I need to listen to the album as a whole a few more times before I formulate more rounded opinions. I don't mean to come off sounding like I hate the band or the album, as that's far from the truth. I'm just very excited to hear them change and evolve.. which may or may not be a good thing as they're trying to gain a foothold in the U.S.