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#118: DAMY - 自己中心的リミッター

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:_6/10_: | It's hard to talk about an album that does nothing new but manages to be interesting anyway

 

I've heard whispers about the potential of DAMY from many corners of Monochrome Heaven, but I have an unofficial rule about listening to visual kei bands in their infancy. I don't like getting attached to promising bands only to watch them fizzle out, and bands that do that are a dime a dozen in visual kei, so I'm about six months to a year behind on what's new by design. I always had intentions to check them out, but nothing motivated me like their disbandment announcement. It's now or never, and 自己中心的リミッター (Jigokuchuu Shinteki Limiter) should capture DAMY at their most mature, and I figured it would be a logical place to start.

If you are anything like me, you know DAMY best by their aesthetic. It's dark and gruesome, with erratically applied makeup and synchronized outfits that drive the theme home. They sound exactly like they look; close your eyes and imagine generic metalcore riffs with a pinch of inspiration, and you're pretty close. DAMY has all the trappings of the turn of the century metalcore visual kei sound that I've come to both love and hate. The vocalist is a bit weak and nasal with a high pitched singing voice, but he has a quality and charisma to his delivery so I can overlook that most of the time. His harsh vocals can be quite savage sometimes too. The riffs are usually where I give visual kei bands a lot of grief, and to be honest I was expecting 自己中心的リミッター to be a monotonous affair, but DAMY spice it up and keep it interesting the whole time. Musical themes range from pure aggression to madness play, and even a few more lucid moments where the pop chorus hooks worm their way in, but I was disappointed to find that they didn't go outside of the box too much.

What I'm saying is that 自己中心的リミッター sounds equally generic and distinctly visual kei, a love letter to a time in visual kei long past. While you have definitely heard flavors of this style before, you haven't heard it combined in this way, and that's the strongest case I have for giving this album a shot. For example, the guitars in lead single "ままごと" (Mamagoto) are transported right out of the 90s, and is something I'd expect to hear on a La:Sadie's demo tape. On the other hand, album opener "心髄" (shinzui) rips 2:57~3:03 straight from MUCC's "蘭鋳" (Ranchuu) 2:20~2:23, and it only took me one listen to catch that bit of worship and know exactly what DAMY was all about. That is what makes DAMY the best 6/10 band one could hope for.

A part of me thinks that 自己中心的リミッター may mark the beginning of the end for a strain of visual kei that's stuck around for over a decade. It may not have the lasting impact on the scene the way Dir en grey's GAUZE did, which is widely regarded as the apex of the 90's sound, but for once I have no idea what band will step up to fill the void. I've always seen DAMY as playing second fiddle to DEZERT, who before they changed up their sound, were ultimately were playing homage to bands like MUCC, Dio-distraught overlord-, and UnsraW in their own right! Even まみれた (Mamireta) have moved on after exploring this sound for a few releases. キズ (Kizu) might step up, but the crown is open for the taking, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of bands wanting to take it.

Could that be because the scene has been saturated with this style for too long? Is it a feeling that "everything that can be done has been done", and that there's nothing new in this style anyone can offer? Or is it something else? I'm interested in knowing your thoughts and what you think the implications of DAMY's disbandment has on the rest of the scene.
 


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I would argue that DAMY are more alt-metal than metalcore, but I agree that this was underwhelming. I found their early output to have a lot more oomph, the songs featured here are half baked and not nearly as satisfying as their older stuff (which was inconsistent, still). Great review, I don't think DAMY disbanding means much of anything, but it definitely lays the final nail in the short lived early-mid 2000's revival. Funny enough, DEZERT who almost single handedly led the revival jumped ship faster than anyone else and went straight pop--wonder if thats what we can expect from related bands. I'll miss the sound alot, the period where DEZERT, Grieva, KTK and AvelCain were active and playing with each other must have been awesome.

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Instead of capturing DAMY at their most mature, I feel that Jigokuchuu Shinteki Limiter captured them at their most conflicted. They attributed their separation to musical differences and I feel like this release captures that struggle well.  As mentioned above, most of Jigokuchuu feels half baked. Like they didn't try as much as they should have which could very well have been due to musical differences in terms of where the band wanted their sound to go so instead they settled on whatever was presentable, but not fantastic (which I understand can be difficult when there's conflicting opinions on what fantastic should sound like). 

 

My best guess is that some of the members wanted to keep the early-dezert sound through their career while others wanted to go the exact same way as dezert  and take a more pop rock-sounding direction. DAMY's sound had showed that conflict for some time now.  That's just my theory though and it could  very well not have been what was happening at all. Either way, it sucks that their last release will freeze time for them as a representation of this musical conflict and couldn't be as memorable as some of their earlier work.  I still like Jigokuchuu as a piece of music, but not for the reasons I liked DAMY. 

 

Also if I remember correctly wasn't their drummer Miharu and actual roadie for Dezert?

 

 

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49 minutes ago, Doesn'tEvenGoHere said:

Also if I remember correctly wasn't their drummer Miharu and actual roadie for Dezert?

I do recall reading that he was a roadie for dezert, and I definitely do hear Sora's creative patterns rubbing off on Miharu's style. Also someone here said SaZ (now Sacchan...lol cringe) produced their early material too.

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11 hours ago, emmny said:

I would argue that DAMY are more alt-metal than metalcore...

What's the difference? No seriously, what's the difference. I see the alt-metal tag thrown around a bunch, but nothing that describes their sound. And considering how many breakdowns are on this album, I took the safer option :D

 

 

6 hours ago, Doesn'tEvenGoHere said:

My best guess is that some of the members wanted to keep the early-dezert sound through their career while others wanted to go the exact same way as dezert  and take a more pop rock-sounding direction. DAMY's sound had showed that conflict for some time now.


This may be your theory, but I was going to type something similar before I condensed the review. To sum up the spiel I didn't write, it seems like a stereotype that bands that adopt this sound hit a brick wall and eventually go pop rock. I never understood the duality in this, but it is very curious. DEZERT is just the most recent and prominent example of it, and maybe DAMY too (but we will need to follow members into their next project and see what it sounds like to know if your theory is correct). I can't really comment on previous activities, since this is where I jumped in, but I can believe it.

 

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