Dir en grey


Written by Rachel Yarwood
"Rinkaku" is the first single release from Dir en Grey since "Tsumi to Batsu" in 2011 and after the happenings of 2012, with a cancelled tour and health issues, the news of this new single brought about a high level of excitement worldwide amongst fans of the quintet. 
Although the opening of the title track, which bears the same name as the single release itself, may evoke a shiver along your spine with the intricate melodies of the guitars (Die, Kaoru) and Kyo's dramatic vocals, you would be forgiven if you thought that you had heard this style before. "Rinkaku" combines a similar style of their more recent progressive metal and heavy rock, with a blend of haunting and refined classical elements of piano and also acoustic guitar that reflects some of their previous material. 
Nevertheless this new track from Dir en Grey is definitely one well worth the listen to. 
Opening with a seemingly sorrowful classical piano piece, the atmosphere soon develops as the main of the song moves in quickly with powerful rhythms from the guitars and bass (Toshiya), the highly technical (yet not as ruthless) drumming from Shinya and Kyo's alluring vocals. 
Kyo keeps the highly emotive aspect of the song expertly with a close to mesmerising pitch as he compliments both the metal and the classical styles beautifully. The chorus peaks and Kyo's vocals reach an even higher pitch than before, but always remaining clear and powerful, against the ferocity of the string instruments and the punctuating beats of the drums. 
The build up towards the instrumental hears a few more snippets of Toshiya's bass between the drums before we have a combination of both acoustic guitar (Die) and electric guitar (Kaoru). This is not something completely original either however the mix of acoustic and electric works really well atmospherically and the metal influence of the electric solo is undeniably good. 
As the bridge begins, there is another desired build up of tension as the piano is reintroduced in another effectively haunting and mournful interlude between the heavily powerful compositions. It works well and the final chorus fits in perfectly, with a certain abrupt urgency, before the final seconds of Kyo's melodies bringing "Rinkaku" to a beautiful but equally vexing close. 
"Rinkaku" will be released on the 19th of December and will come in three editions in total. 
The Regular Edition will feature three tracks, "Rinkaku", "Kiri to Mayu" (remastered) and "Rinkaku - eternal slumber mix". 
The Limited Edition will feature the same three tracks but will also come with an additional DVD of scenes from the recording of the single.
The third Limited Edition (Limited Press) will feature all three tracks and the additional DVD will feature twelve songs from their 2011 "AGE QUOD AGIS" tour. 


Different Senses
Written by Kitty Linton & Kacey Woodham
The highly anticipated new single has arrived, instantly throwing you into the deep end of DIR EN GREY with an instant intense instrumental, closely chased with Kyo’s instantly recognisable growl and that blood-curdling scream. Just from the opening seconds alone it’s clear that “Different Sense” is a track that’ll have you unable to sit still and compelled to tap along. While additionally opening differently to last release “Lotus”, as was previously stated by the band, it appears the band continue tradition and meet expectations by striving to give us; something new and invigorating with every release.
The sounds of the guitars contain unusual elements that almost bare a resemblance to more traditional Asian instruments and every strum seems as precise and skilled in their complicated execution as the first.  It is easy to differentiate Kaoru’s playing from Die’s, both having unique styles but that doesn’t mean to say they don’t work in perfect harmony and tease the senses.  Especially with the baritone, rapid tempo of bass as an undercurrent throughout the track, supporting the forceful thrashing of Shinya on drums, which is almost too complex to keep up with.  Not forgetting Kyo’s distinctive voice pouring through the speakers in deep rolling roars, screams and snarls which continue into a long string of his majestic vocals as he leads the verse. The subtle back-up gives the verse an extra edge as the vocals continue with a power where no fault can be found, yet still managing not to overpower the music, their intensity just as powerful.
As a contrast with the aggressive opening, the pace is brought down a notch as Kyo sings for the first time in the song with rich vibratos and his wide range of pitch is utilised well as the overlapping of divergent screaming vocals from the previous verse, which gives the song an extra kick. The pace then eases up just a touch and at the end of the chorus, fading into a shredding guitar solo from Kaoru, something that hasn’t been heard unaccompanied in a DIR EN GREY song for a while, and takes centre stage of a listener’s attention momentarily but with splendour.  With the solo closing, the rest of the instruments pick up again like the clash of a storm and the thundering music continues as does the rumbling vocals with even nastier distinguished snarls, with a brief pause of Kyo’s more verbal words.
A soft hum before the second chorus leads the song into a peak of a more caressing quality and even the rapid drumming doesn’t break the atmosphere of the moment as guitars and bass follow suit of the vocal work and set a slower tempo, just enough to give the song almost a different sense much like its title.  The closing sounds are the same slightly oriental acoustic strings from earlier and it’s a nice touch to conclude with, slowing down after such a turbulent ride of a tract and it ends with what feels more like a story than a just song.
With thrashing and thunderous wails, deep sombre singing and intense plucking guitars, the track holds everything that defines DIR EN GREY and more, always pushing harder than before and this time it proves to be a brilliant success, more so than Lotus perhaps as it has so much more diversity. 
Furthermore the new single also has the surprise of ‘TSUMI TO KISEI’, not a complete revamp of a preceding track but the hint of ‘Mitsu no Tsubasa’ in the music is clear when you’re listening for it and retains a similar atmospheric quality. Combined with the live version of ‘RED SOIL’ making for three very impressive.

Hageshisa To, Kono Mune No Naka De Karamitsuita Shakunetsu No Yami
Written by Elizabeth Flanagan
When first sitting down to write a review on Hageshisa To, Kono Mune No Naka De Karamitsuita Shakunetsu No Yami, the new release by Dir en grey, I found myself staring at my laptop screen completely perplexed. Sitting with my Oxygen mask on after attempting to read the full name in one breath, (Don’t try it at home kids!) and sending a text declaring that I hated the band for giving me the hardest job to do since Kirin started, I then managed to bring myself round to some kind of Editorial sanity…
The idea of the Uroboros snake (the idea that man can do full circle), and the presumption that many fans had of the band going full circle back to their roots- needs to be completely forgotten. The band are clearly making sure the idea of Uroboros still being relevant is dead in the ground, and being very quickly buried. The lyrical charm of the music resonating that more suited to the cry of a tortured victim, it is hard to believe that this band use instruments at all- more like the recordings of 5 men trapped in one of Jigsaw’s devices as they scream to survive.
With the raw effect of the sound given in Hageshisa, and the constant violence inflicted on drummer Shinya’s equipment, nobody could doubt that his driving force within the song  is not the relentless pounding of flesh. The dresses are gone my dear fans, Shinya is staking his claim on the detrimental scenes of society.
Pugnaciously acting against the drumming, guitarists Kaoru and Die’s sounds often appear as though they are collaborating in order to overcome the distressing drone of bullets. Although there are key highlights within the release where the terrible twosome appear to have won the battle, they are clearly no where near winning the war. Yet again, look out for more high pitched screams ringing from their weapons.
In a country that often dislikes slap-bass, Toshiya manages to make it work so well that it is impossible to imagine the song without it. Beating his bass as though he was literally attempting to strike the life from it, Toshiya astoundingly manages to keep control throughout the whole song, throwing each note to match the intense speed of the others.
Vocalist Kyo keeps his growls at a record pace, marching his speed up to match the ferocity of the conflict behind him. Turning round occasionally and being sharpened towards the idea that in fact he is the General leading his troops, stopping them half way across the field to scream out his order before the clash of their predictable crescendo occurs. Spiralling around the warriors comes the chants of their loved ones at home, all through the familiar resonance of Kyo’s voice that haunts, chills and yet somehow always manages to calm.
And the PV? No bloody wonder the thing was concealed from us until the release in Europe. Every search done led to a Copyright warning from the management, after three months of searching the underground depths of the internet I started to believe that it was becoming some form of illegal activity that if the government seized my hard drive I’d get life for viewing it. Or even worse, have to pay a subscription fee to a seedy adult site. Hearing the lyrics, I find myself relieved I didn’t end up on a sexually explicit site after entering the words “Show me your lewd self.” After viewing it, I felt as horrified as if I HAD subscribed to one of those sites, although not sexually explicit, still, pretty gruesome all the same. Dark, pungent ,cell-like abandoned rooms conceal the 5 rotting, half dead corpses. Vocalist Kyo’s screams do no justice in attempting to draw your attention from the fact you are staring directly at 
a gaping wound at not only his shoulder, but his face. Counting the wounds, a missing eye, missing arm, a chunk from a calf, forearm and upper arm and a withering spine, the guys trying to suggest they are wounded? They are missing something? Or is it that no matter how hard we try to understand, we will always be missing the point.