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  1. 15 points

    #116: The Insulated World by Dir en grey

    | Dir en grey's tenth album is something special indeed. Few artists can bring the scene together and elicit responses from everyone the way that Dir en grey can. They can make you pause your habitual listening routines to check out their newest single or album, even if you don't like them. This is because Dir en grey is one of the few bands where we can sense the progression and self-improvement from release to release. I don't think that Dir en grey aspires to impress anyone but themselves from three years ago, and now more than ever I see and feel a band that has graduated from copying trends to setting them. As a concept, and after listening to the album several times, I believe The Insulated World refers directly to them, their view on the world, and the inspiration for where the music they wish to create comes from. The Insulated World feels like a journey into oneself, and the album feels separated into two parts. The first half of the album feels like a turbulent descent into madness, while the second half feels like the madness has yielded to tranquility as the listener floats towards personal understanding. I prefer the second half to the first half. This is a far cry from literally every other album of theirs, where tracks were arranged haphazardly and the experience suffers for it. I can hear various influences from each of their previous eras and albums - some more than others - but one of the most redeeming points about The Insulated World is that it doesn't sound like anything in particular. In the past, I've felt that Dir en grey bit off more than they could chew, and failed to deliver on their own expectations. I felt this most when listening to DUM SPIRO SPERO, where the band used progressive elements for the sake of being progressive. The Insulated World has the progressive elements applied more sensibly, similar to ARCHE. Songs morph and change direction on a whim, but there are hooks and motifs that the band returns to that gives each song coherency. Vocalist Kyo reminds us once again that he's the king of vocal manipulation - just in case you had doubts - but he's embraced his mid range more. Focusing on the extremes of his vocal techniques leaves an immediate and lasting impression at the expense of it sounding very binary. I prefer the vocal extremes for specific emotional climaxes and using other vocal techniques for specific feelings at the appropriate times. "Values of Madness" is the best example of what I am describing, where we get screeching, rapping, singing, and more in a compact four minutes. The re-recording of "The Deeper Vileness" is another great example, and also highlights how well some of the ideas they explored in The Marrow of a Bone translate into their new style ten years later. Complaints about the terrible production job for the singles "Utafumi" and "Ningen wo kaburu" were founded and make more sense in hindsight, with the new versions sounding less congested. Die and Kaoru no longer compete with Toshiya for total control of the low end frequency, Shinya's drum kit sounds less robotic, Kyo doesn't feel tacked on top of the mix, and there's plenty of room left for the guitar distortion techniques and electronic samples to breathe. For the most part, I like the tone chosen for the guitar and the way everything comes together in each song, and I would rank this among both their best and least obnoxiously mixed albums to date. I wish they could get their singles to this quality. The Insulated World is not a perfect release. "Devote My Life" is not listenable due to the piercing, unrelenting tone of the guitar. Sticking it in the second slot does a lot to turn away people who only have once chance to give Dir en grey. They should have gone with a guitar tone closer to "Downfall". "Ranunculus", while a great song and a good note to end the album on, has an atmosphere which doesn't fit with the album. I get the impression this track was conceived either very early or very late in the production cycle, because it stands well on its own. I also am unable to find the hook in the album opus, "絶縁体" (Zetsusentai), which I find difficult to wrap my head around. They've done this style of track more effectively with "Vinushka" and even "Diabolos", and it doesn't hold a candle to the pure atmosphere of "MACABRE". Speaking of Macabre, I also find the new version of "理由" (Riyuu) slightly inferior to the original version. The cover of the song does justice to the original by not straying too much from the melody, but they reined in the emotion of the song and the guitar solo with only a cleaner sound to compensate, and the original version of the song sold itself on its emotion. They didn't ruin it, but they didn't improve it much. The new version of "鬼眼" (Kigan) falls into the same camp, but the much better production values edges it out ahead in the end. For the record, I much rather these safe reinterpretations than ones that butcher the song beyond recognition. These interpretations are subject to change as I spend more time with The Insulated World, and perhaps catch them live one day to experience these songs in person. Even a month later, I still think I wrote this review prematurely, as there are songs still growing on me and others that I am unsure if I like or not. I am pleased overall with how this album turned out, and I can see myself listening to this album in a few years without the songs wearing thin. Dir en grey did well, and this is an album I can recommend to both long time fans and the curious, but if ARCHE did nothing for you then this won't either. Support the artist! iTunes | CDJapan
  2. 9 points
  3. 8 points
    An accurate representation of what lurks in the depths of an average visual kei fans music library You have them. I have them. Everyone probably does. The guilty pleasures you turn your Last.fm scrobbler off for. The songs that sound like they were recorded in a sewer. The music files you keep because of memories, or because it was hard to get, or because you just need to have a complete library of all your artists, even if you won't listen to the first few songs. The goal of this trade-off is to send your partner a list of the worst things you can find in your music library. The interpretation of "worst" is up to you. Rules: ※ send a list of songs to your partner; minimum is ten songs, maximum is seventy minutes long ※ at least half the mix must consist of japanese artists but any other language is fine for the other half ※ a song can only be used once and only one song per artist ※ you must critique each song and give it a rating of one to five, or one to ten, whichever you prefer ※ critiques should be longer than one sentence; explain why you liked/disliked/don't care for about the song ※ participants who fail to submit a review by the deadline will not be allowed to participate in the next trade-off ※ users who give notice ahead of time that they will be late may be exempt. just don't be a ghost and you should be fine partners will be revealed on tuesday, 2018/10/23 mixes should be sent to partners by monday, 2018/10/29 the deadline for reviews is friday, 2018/11/09 participants Pairings: @reminiscing2004 x @PIZAZ @Komorebi x @ahnchc @Zeus x @rekzer @platy x @ghost
  4. 7 points

    Halloween Visual Kei/Jrockers Cosplaying

  5. 7 points
    this is the only good thread on this godforsaken website
  6. 7 points
  7. 7 points
    New video for Dadaism #4 coming out 11/14/2018!!! Anyone know who the drummer is? This is fucking incredible, starting off right!!! Edit: his name is 諒平(Ryohei) Twitter is https://twitter.com/DDRM_ryohei I believe he’s Ex member of Link and Clack inc, correct me if I’m wrong!
  8. 6 points
    Their first live will be on 2018.10.31 at 新宿club science. Members : Singer : 砂糖 (Satô/Sugar) (ex.罰×ゲヰム(Batsu Game) --> LAZAROUS) Guitarist : Mel (ex-PigmyGhoul-->DirmuNot-->Rugia(g)Gram-->MELISSA-->胡蝶乃夢(kochou no yume)-->Vice-->ヴァニキル(Vanikill)-->VaniKilL-->ナタリー(natalie)) Bassist : 弍斬琉 (I don't know how to translate the name but his Twitter says Jekyll. (ex.Enchante, チームお赤飯(Team o sekihan)) Website : https://www.kirawaremono.com Twitter : https://twitter.com/kiraware_info
  9. 6 points
    Mia needs to respect himself.
  10. 6 points
  11. 6 points
    Dada speaks English well enough to lure in unassuming western girls to his web of mediocrity
  12. 6 points
  13. 6 points
    There's a certain sense of irony in that NB went vk to get paid and they didn't get paid...
  14. 6 points
    Those flyers must be tearing up his GI track as hard as their music is tearing up the visual-kei scene!
  15. 5 points
    I'm getting engaged on Saturday and I literally cannot contain my excitement! I've planned out everything the way my partner has said she'd like a proposal to be so I hope she loves every moment of it! I'll let you all know how it goes!
  16. 5 points
    This new single 『kisses』 will be sold during their tour from 2018.11.06 to 2018.11.15. (2000 yen) Tracklist : 01. kisses http://sukekiyo-official.jp/news/717/
  17. 5 points
    I cant wait for the 2 man with BatAAr.
  18. 5 points
    I can't shake the idea off that this is a giant prank.
  19. 5 points
    Ban me from this forum and from listening to any VK period. I didn’t like Mejibray, but the results of them disbanding and splintering off into cringe-kei nonsense makes me wish they just stayed together and continued phoning it in. Fuck this shit.
  20. 5 points
    夜-yoru- (ex-amber gris Vo.Temari) new mini-album, "Elephantman's inside" will be released in spring 2019.
  21. 5 points

    Your last music-related buy!

    Haul from osaka shopping (minus random Puresound VHS's)
  22. 5 points


  23. 5 points

    Your last music-related buy!

    Another "small" haul. Mostly happy to get Lily Project and the Specimen Omnibus with Mandragora on it. Other then that some collection pieces, and all of them contain their obi's ofc. Most of them are soon for sale at: http://www.melokei.com/p/store.html
  24. 5 points
    I can't believe he mustered an entire album that basically screams「buy my shit jpop howling ~ my fulltime band doesn't pay the bills 」out of nowhere, yet the (allegedly) finished and done xjapan album is yet to get a release date
  25. 5 points