Review 1263 : Dir en Grey – Phalaris – English

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The new Dir en Grey album has been unveiled.

Founded in 1997 in Japan, the band composed of Kyô (vocals, Sukekiyo, Petit Brabacon), Toshiya (bass), Die (guitar, DECAYS), Kaoru (guitar) and Shinya (drums, SERAPH) is releasing Phalaris, their eleventh album, for their twenty-fifth birthday.

The album starts with the long and mysterious Schadenfreude, a title taken from an as unhealthy as representative of the darkness and the madness of the group German expression, which perfectly embodies this progression in violence. Dissonance, soaring melodies and clean vocals give way to more aggressive, heavier parts and visceral, overpowering screams, but also sometimes to slower and more contrasted passages before Oboro, a melancholic track already known for a year, comes to life in softness. The soothing and intriguing rhythmic lets the vocalist offer us a glimpse of his clear singing abilities, while The Perfume of Sins immediately throws us into oppression, fueled by whispers and a very dark instrumental which taps into raw fury. The track is as ambient as energetic, and 13, the next composition, will keep some of that darkness to create a contrast with some very catchy elements. The sound is as haunting as deep, and the contrast with the soft and cheerful introduction of Utsutsu, Bouga no Kurau will be all the more powerful, especially when an intriguing dissonance rises. The band goes back to the rage on Ochita Koto no Aru Sora and its groovy rhythmic accompanied by wild screams and striking clear vocals, then we find again the strange and catchy madness on Mouai ni Shosu, a track with incisive patterns which goes back to the band’s roots. The choirs and the vocal diversity offer us a dive in a very marked style of the old Visual Kei, while Hibiki returns in this dark and intense sweetness that only the band knows how to handle, as far as I know. Leads bring a soaring touch to this very structured and quite complex track, then Eddie returns to a raw aggressiveness and a mad blast from the first seconds. The track is short but its explosive energy gives it all its flavor before Otogi comes to offer us a heavy quietness which will eventually reveal hypnotic Prog roots. The track will not fail to be adorned with some heavier parts, then Kamuy, the last composition, will come to close the album with its airy and very melodic sounds. But the track is also very long, and it allows the band to gradually guide us to this intense but soothing saturation, then the nothingness comes to take its place.

Dir en Grey has always been a band with a unique identity, whether it is sonically or visually, and the musicians know exactly where they are going. No matter if it’s rage or quietness, saturation or softness, screams or clean vocals, Phalaris is an as intense album as the previous ones, and it will leave its trace.


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