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#108: DIR EN GREY - VESTIGE OF SCRATCHES

Vestige of Poll Questions  

27 members have voted

  1. 1. Which tracks are you really digging from this release?

    • I'll
    • Akuro no Oka
    • Yurameki
    • Cage
    • Yokan
    • Myaku
    • Wake / Riyuu
    • Taiyou no Ao
      0
    • ain't afraid to die
    • FILTH
    • Mushi
    • Fukai 2018
    • JESSICA
    • Umbrella
    • audience KILLER LOOP
    • CHILD PREY
    • DRAIN AWAY
    • dead tree
    • saku
    • C
    • Kodou
    • DOZING GREEN
    • AGITATED SCREAMS OF MAGGOTS
      0
    • Namekashiki Ansoku, Tamerai ni Hohoemi
    • CLEVER SLEAZOID
    • Ware, Yami to te...
    • VINUSHKA
    • THE IIID EMPIRE 2018
    • Kiri to Mayu 2012
    • Zan 2009
    • Tsumi to Kisei 2011
    • Rasetsukoku 2011
    • Kasumi 2013
    • OBSCURE 2011
    • THE FINAL 2013
    • DIFFERENT SENSE
    • Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami
    • LOTUS
    • Rinkaku
    • Revelation of Mankind
    • Sustain the Untruth
    • Un deux
    • Utafumi
    • Beautiful Dirt 2018


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:_8/10_: | Old scars never fade, old habits die hard

 

Throw those DECADE-compilations out and replace them with this.

 

Let me be clear about one thing: those compilations were trash. The covers were ugly as sin and the track selection, despite sharing many similarities to Vestige of Scratches, gave the impression that the band spent a week figuring out the details because they forgot about their anniversary. They literally scraped the bottom of the barrel to come up with enough content - the fact that "audrey", a butchered version of "Deity", "Repetition of Hatred", and "Jealous -Reverse-" are on it is telling enough - and most of them felt like copy-paste jobs trying to hide the lack of effort. Most of all, it didn't highlight DIR EN GREY at their best and did the band disservice as a 'best-of'. It seems like the band agrees with me, because Vestige of Scratches is everything those DECADE albums wish they could be.

 

Before the hype train leaves the station, this compilation is far from perfect. Like much of DIR EN GREY's career, Vestige of Scratches is defined by its peculiar choices. Some are baffling, while others are smart. They come together in a frustrating combination that is uniquely DIR EN GREY. Let's start with the tracks that were chosen; we have at our disposal the single version of "脈" (Myaku); "罪と規制" (Tsumi to Kisei), the censored version of the remake of "蜜と唾" (Tsumi to Batsu); the version of "腐海" (Fukai) they've been playing live for some time (interesting); a new version of "THE IIID EMPIRE"; the reinterpretations of "羅刹国" (Rasetsukoku) [ew], "OBSCURE" [no], "かすみ" (Kasumi) [sure], "THE FINAL" [ok], "残" (Zan) [eh], and "霧と繭" (Kiri to Mayu) [ugh...]; the single version of "CLEVER SLEAZOID" [good!]; the choice to end the album on a reworked version of "Beautiful Dirt" out of all 200+ songs in their discography [wtf why]; the exclusion of "GARDEN" [what a tragedy]; and then minor adjustments to most other post-VULGAR tracks featured which work for the most part. We can already see this isn't the standard cash-grab version of a best album and that a proper sitting would be very rewarding, so I can only suggest you do that and start from "-I'll-".

 

Controversial opinion coming in hot here, but the production job is fantastic across all three discs. Some may disagree, but I find that I need time to adjust to a new production job before I can assess if I like the changes. There have been many albums I panned for 'inferior production values' that I eventually came to prefer. Sloppy production has always been one of DIR EN GREY's weaknesses, especially for the visual-era stuff which hasn't held up over time, so some of the older tracks have a second lease on life. GAUZE has never sounded so clean, there's a 12-string in "脈" that I've never heard, and some of the tracks from DUM SPIRO SPERO are actually listenable now that the bass isn't obnoxious. I'd pay good money to have all their albums past and future worked like this.


The way the album is structured is frustrating to describe. What at first seems like a chronological trek through their eras turns into anything but by the third disc. The first disc is an ode to their entire visual history, featuring songs from pre-GAUZE to 鬼葬 (Kisou), plus a bonus in "腐海 2018". New "腐海" sounds good, and I like it's inclusion as a way to preserve it. I'd spin it a few times, but it won't replace the original version for me. Every other song on this disc was just remastered. I'm surprised at the inclusion of "太陽の蒼" (Taiyou no Ao), since I thought Kyo hated that song, but like a few other inclusions it's here because its a single. The second disc dips back into 鬼葬 with "JESSICA", nods at six Ugly with "umbrella," and then focuses mostly on VULGAR through UROBOROS. Nothing from the disastrous UROBOROS [Remastered & Expanded] makes an appearance, which is a blessing. Personally speaking, I would have dropped "CHILD PREY" for "AMBER," "朔-saku-" for "Machiavellism," and thrown in the reinterpretation of "undecided". Disc 2 ends with a new version of "THE IIID EMPIRE" which is pretty lit and one of their more successful retakes.


Disc 3 is where most of the meat lies and unfortunately most of it is displeasing to my ears. It's packed with most of their earlier reinterpretations, many hit or miss, most of which I'd have left on the table if it were solely my choice. This is where my lack of frustration with the exclusion of "undecided" comes from, as I would have rotated out "羅刹国" (Rasetsukoku), "OBSCURE", or "霧と繭" (Kiri to Mayu) for it, the PV version of "OBSCURE", and the version of "Bottom of the death valley" from THE UNRAVELING. I would have also killed for a reinterpretation of "秒「」深" (Byou 「」 Shin) from six Ugly, or a proper version of "Hydra -666-" with more gutturals and less screaming. After comes the salvageable parts of DUM SPIRO SPERO, including a version of "激しさと、この胸の中で絡み付いた灼熱の闇" (Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami) superior to the album version, but not quite what the original single sounded like, a condensed serving of ARCHE, "詩踏み" (Utafumi), and then ends on a very random note with "Beautiful Dirt". Not quite sure why they set it up this way.


Maybe the unfinished feeling to Vestige of Scratches is intentional, but either way DIR EN GREY have collated a collection album worth the shelf space for any serious fan. It may not be perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than I expected it to be. At the very least, I can argue that it's a better alternative than importing GAUZE if you don't already own it. If DIR EN GREY attack 2018 the way MUCC took 2017, we may have an interesting year ahead of us.

 

Support the artist

 

CDJapan

 

 

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3 hours ago, Seelentau said:

Just as a side-note: Tsumi to Kisei was chosen because of the explicit lyrics of Tsumi to Batsu's new version.

For the same reason you won't find any original Karma/Sangeki no Yoru on any official release aside of Kaede. :)

I know what's up with the lyrics for Sangeki no Yoru, but what's this about Karma?

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32 minutes ago, Zeus said:

I know what's up with the lyrics for Sangeki no Yoru, but what's this about Karma?

I believe the lyrical content is the reason why Karma has no chance of being included in future releases; the term kikeiji or deformed child is sung. The lyric featuring that word goes like this: (愛し疲れた奇形児と子宮を取り出して眺めてた/I was looking to remove the sweet, weary, deformed child and uterus.)

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14 minutes ago, Zeus said:

What about that word is so repulsive?

I can't quite remember which article mentions it, but it has been described as being so taboo that it is neither printed nor spoken unless there is censorship. Another thing to mention about a Dir en grey song is that the long beep in "Mazohyst of Decadence" is in place of kikeiji with the word "Cage" printed in the Gauze lyrics booklet.

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11 minutes ago, The Moon said:

Wait, what's wrong with Sangeki no Yoru? 

That whole song is about how Kyo saw a girl he liked so much he punched her to death, raped her dead body, put her in the fridge, and then killed himself out of guilt.

 

14 minutes ago, Hohchicano96 said:

I can't quite remember which article mentions it, but it has been described as being so taboo that it is neither printed nor spoken unless there is censorship. Another thing to mention about a Dir en grey song is that the long beep in "Mazohyst of Decadence" is in place of kikeiji with the word "Cage" printed in the Gauze lyrics booklet.

Does this have something to do with the war and babies born of radiation poisoning or is it something else?

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14 minutes ago, Zeus said:

Does this have something to do with the war and babies born of radiation poisoning or is it something else?

 

I actually have no clue why that word is considered forbidden. It would be helpful to hear from a linguist who could provide any answers.

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6 hours ago, ghost said:

Just release a remastered boxset already. 

YES 👏 FUCKING 👏 PLEASE!! Even if they were just released individually, I'd pay for a re-release of VULGAR and Withering. Those VESTIGE remasters were great!

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9 hours ago, The Moon said:

Wait, what's wrong with Sangeki no Yoru? 

 

http://direngrey.wikia.com/wiki/惨劇の夜

 

10 hours ago, Zeus said:

I know what's up with the lyrics for Sangeki no Yoru, but what's this about Karma?

 

http://direngrey.wikia.com/wiki/業

 

Abortion is a no-no in Japan. :)

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On 2018-01-14 at 3:58 AM, Zeus said:

That whole song is about how Kyo saw a girl he liked so much he punched her to death, raped her dead body, put her in the fridge, and then killed himself out of guilt.

 

Does this have something to do with the war and babies born of radiation poisoning or is it something else?

I'm not sure but I guess the reason for this is that Japan has a strange view on malformation/handicap etc.

Stuff like this is usually censored in national television, same with the word Kichigai (crazy), they're never said out loud and always written with censor. 

 

I'm not exactly sure why it's like this, I'm assuming it's based in the culture/taboo. Maybe @cvlticcan explain this better?

 

As an example, the movie "horrors of malformed men" was banned in japan for a very long time, despite actually being a japanese horror film (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0142257/). 

 

From imdb:

Why was this film banned?

 

People who see this film are mystified as to why it was banned which there were more violent and grotesque films available at the time. The answer is simple: taboo. In Japan it is The Highest Taboo to speak of or make reference to someone's deformity. The worst of the worse in Japanese swear words all refer to physical handicaps and you will never hear them on TV or in reputable films, nor will you see a handicapped person in a derogatory role. As you can see from the title, this film raised eyebrows. It had nothing to do with the sex or violence within.

 

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thanks for the summon! the word kikei itself is considered a slur by some people because it's thought to be connected with discrimination against atomic bomb victims, the disabled, even now those affected by Fukushima, etc., so @Zeuswas on the right track. especially in light of Fukushima i could see publisher pushback against the word being stronger than ever. i remember horror manga artist Junji Ito writing that his editor told him to be careful if drawing anything related to deformity or mental illness because of discrimination reasons. but yeah, continuing on, while you might see a disabled person on television once in a blue moon, the deformity taboo is so intense that people with deformities themselves are basically taboo or persona non-grata, something you'll see with other groups that cause discomfort or might be considered burdensome in Japan  -- like burakumin , how you only find most homeless if you know where to look for them, etc. perfect material for something trying to be transgressive.

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So were the most dedicated Dir translators capable to decipher the meaning of new Karma and Kiri to Mayu if their original versions had more straightforward, explicit lyrics? 

 

THE IIID EMPIRE and Beautiful Dirt were quite useless to rerecord, since they only expose more flaws in a way how Diru delivers their older songs nowadays. God forbid Kyo would consider adding flat falsettos when they are not needed!

 

Fukai on the other hand was kind of necessary due to fans requesting the studio take of CoV version for years, but the original is still there and it flows better if anything.

 

How impressive of them to include superior single versions of their A-sides instead though. 

I wish I could see the actual voting results conducted by Firewall div. to see which B-sides were favored the most.

 

 

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Any idea why “mizu no nigori” (impure water) was censored in the Tsumi to Batsu remake? I understand the other stuff being edited out, but unless there are some hidden connotations there that I don’t get due to cultural differences, it seems like an odd line to remove. It’s the first lyric of the song, so it makes for a kind of awkward entrance when Kyo’s vocals kick in after the edit. 

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Because "no one likes happy Dir En Grey, we need despair RAWRRRR".

 

Unironically liking Yokan, Audrey and Jessica were considered to be one of the deadly sins back in Fukkatsu's heydays, mind you.

Edited by Alroy

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