Dir en grey - The Unraveling


Run time: 33 minutes
Number of tracks: 7

Written By: Rachel Yarwood
Release Date: 3rd April 2013

Bottom of the death valley
The Final

With many fans already divided in opinion, between what can be classed as Dir en Grey's older (the more Visual Kei roots) material and their newer heavier metal sound, the announcement of an album mainly containing re-mastered songs will arguably set a wave of anticipation around the globe. 
Surprisingly however, "The Unraveling", is a rather good release from the band. They seem to have combined both old and new styles to accommodate their ever-growing fan base. 

"Unraveling" is the only exception as the original track and there really is no hesitation as this song opens with fast guitar melodies and a pounding bass rhythm. Also, instead of being greeted by a wall of screams and squeals, Kyo instead mixes a few of these into the background vocals only, and chooses to open with metal style harmonies. This works extremely well against the thick rhythms, drum beats (Shinya) and the heaviness of the guitars (Kaoru, Die) which arguably will mark this as a decent opening, if not as a track overall, to the album. 

Apart from "Unraveling", the other six tracks which are featured on the regular edition of this release, are re-mastered versions of tracks which Dir en Grey have released from their debut years as B-Sides on singles to tracks from previous albums like "Kisou" and "Withering to Death". 
As mentioned earlier, Dir en Grey have attempted to create these re-mastered versions with a little bit of the old and a little bit of the new. Almost all can be said to harbour familiarities with the original versions, such as similarities with vocal work and keeping to original background melodies and guitar styles, which for many fans will come as a blessing.

However, the band have also integrated their heavy metal sound into a few of these to the point that perhaps the atmosphere that you would have felt listening to the original track has almost, if not completely, vanished. Most notably of these is probably "Bottom of the death valley". From the very opening you realise that Toshiya's recognisable bass line is not the same and the climatic build up, from Kyo's first stanza to the main of the track, is just not there with this newer version.

On the other hand, there are more subtle changes and alterations to the tracks. "Karasu" has been recreated into a darker and edgier piece as we still have the same melodies as the original version but with the tone of the heavy metal as well. The same can be said for "Kasumi" and "The Final" where you can really appreciate the cleaner style and arguable improvements to the way the songs sound.

"The Unraveling" is undoubtedly a pleasing release from Dir en Grey. At points listening to this release you can think that the original atmosphere, or mood you feel with a certain track, has been killed a little by the way these new versions sound. However you can also fully appreciate the way that the band have merged an old era to the modern times, which is hard thing to do as it is also a hard thing to keep everyone happy with the end result, but they have kept particular elements whilst incorporating the new style of Dir en Grey very well indeed. 

"The Unraveling" will be released officially on the 3rd of April and will come in three editions in total; Regular and Limited A and Limited B. 
The Regular Edition will feature seven tracks in total and the Limited A Edition will feature the same seven tracks plus an additional DVD. 
The Limited B Edition will come with two CD disks. The second disk comes with three extra tracks, "Macabre", "Unraveling (unplugged)" and "The Final (unplugged)", plus an additional DVD.