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Peace Heavy mk II

BLIND REVIEW - Dir en Grey's "Vulgar"

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Dir en Grey have always been a point of contention for me. As a visual newbie, I was intimidated by their extreme aesthetics and sound, and it took me a while to come around to liking their early works since it’s basically an amalgamation of everything I already liked. This sort of distrust of their music has caused me to not really delve too much into their middle works. Sure, I’ve heard some of Arche, I sat through whatever their album from last year was called, and I dug Sukekiyo, but for whatever reason anything earlier than Marrow of a Bone hasn’t existed on digital platforms. Yesterday, this changed — three of their early ~ middle career releases were added to Spotify and now I have no excuses for ignoring them. As such, I was challenged to do a blind listening review by some veteran fans—partly for their amusement, partly because my musical opinions are highly sought after (citation needed). Here is my first listen review of the classic album Vulgar.

 

Let’s start with the album art. What am I looking at? Is it a bird? Are these disembodied arms in opera length gloves? Overcooked pork tenderloin? I’m really not sure. Sometimes art is like that — it makes you unsure, and that uncertainty makes you uncomfortable. Sometimes that discomfort makes you think, but then other times it makes you reject something and move on. I don’t want to give the band credit for being provocative. I’ve read a lot of Tumblr and have the arcane knowledge to confidently state that this artwork is actually from Disney’s Maleficent — it’s her horns after they got lopped off.

 

Audience KILLER LOOP: never a fan of when titles suddenly yell at me. It really makes me on edge, kind of like this song does. I’m really going into this blind and any departure from Gauze is going to be a real change for me. I guess this is alright, but maybe this style just needs to grow on me more. Let’s see how I hold up going further in…

 

 

THE IIID EMPIRE: not sure why they decided to make a Star Wars reference here, but to each their own. I suppose this is the hard-hitting style that people have grown to love from this band. The guitar riff slightly after the middle of the song is super cool — in spite of all of the shit I give this band, sometimes they really do have neat ideas.

 

INCREASE BLUE: Again with the yelling of the song titles. Reminds me of the graphic design class I needed to take, with my teacher looming over me. My composition was too warmly colored, so she yelled to me from across the classroom “increase blue.” I took her advice and then she docked me points for it anyway. “Too much blue.” Fuck me.

 

 

Shokubeni: Apparently this means “red food coloring.” I bet the lyrics have something to do with bloody food or chopping up someone’s girlfriend. This band seems big on that and it’s kind of off-putting. I’d give some deep analysis on the meaning, but I can’t speak Japanese well.

 

Sajou no Uta: Kinda boring. This isn’t really my thing.

 

RED…[em]: a bit too rough for my liking. I get that this is when their hurgleblurgle kind of approach to art really started, but doesn’t mean I need to be fully here for it. A part of this almost saved me from disliking it, but it wasn’t enough.

 

 

Sfisdfeijaoifjsoefijse: too long for what it was, skipped

 

MARMALADE CHAINSAW: sticky sweet and incredibly wasteful. Started a trend of bands naming things with “chainsaw” in their names, which makes me wonder if the Japanese really know what a chainsaw is? Surely you don’t need one for spreading jam but I’m not Julia Child.

 

Kasumi: Fun fact—this was the name of “Misty” in the Japanese version of Pokemon. Further fun fact, there is a Pokemon card called “Misty’s Determination,” which I assume is written like “Kasumi no Jiketsu.” “”Jiketsu” means “self-determination” but is also a euphemism for “suicide,” so whenever I see that card I read it as “Misty’s Suicide” in my head. Seems like a tangent, but this is honestly a very Dir en Grey kind of story.

 

R THE CORE: filler intro 

 

DRAIN AWAY: I actually kind of like this. The guitar atmosphere is really enticing and they’ve definitely upped their skill since Macabre (the last album I blind listened to). I know I’m very firmly into the “Gauze and then the band died” camp, but I am glad I am getting something positive out of this album.

 

NEW AGE CULTURE: Wow. Woooooow. Y’all went OFF on Kisaki for “stealing Kyo’s girlfriend” or whatever and then they go and literally steal the title from a famous Matina omnibus series? I cannot believe the low-life attempt at being petty, but here we are. Unfathomable. 

 

OBSCURE: huh…pretty sure Grieva used this. I mean, I knew they seemed like they were fans of Dir En Grey, but I didn’t think they’d flat-out STEAL from them. Well, song is kind of bouncy and hypnotic, so I can see why they’d want to base on of their own songs on it. Still kind of shocked that this is borderline plagiarism.

 

CHILD PREY: One of the best songs on this album. Love the meaning behind it and how the lyrics fit together from the parts I could understand. I don’t mean to gush, but this definitely has that “it” factor that draws people into this band. Amazing. Pray / Prey for your butter

 

Amber: This band likes to have female names as titles. Amber, Kasumi, Audrey, Yurikago….it makes me wonder what their take on feminism is. They’ve already displayed a rather ham-fisted pro-life stance a few albums ago, but maybe their time within the inner machinations of the visual scene caused them to change their stance, especially having interacted with so many female fans and the changes fame brought to them. I wonder if this song’s direct is a reflection of that as well — it’s hard to get into an artist’s head and really understand how they see the world.

 

 

Overall: 5.5 / 10 for me

 

I know this is a classic album, but that’s how I felt on my first attempt at going through this. I still need to listen to Kisou, so I am open to doing a blind listen review for that as well. If you’d like to try out this album for yourself, or provide your own take on the music, feel free to check it out on Spotify. Sometimes I need to listen to things multiple times to form a true opinion. Funny enough, I still need to actually listen to this album for the first time, as I wrote this review solely based on the song titles and album art.

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4 minutes ago, Peace Heavy mk II said:

Funny enough, I still need to actually listen to this album for the first time, as I wrote this review solely based on the song titles and album art.

I cant believe you've done this

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19 minutes ago, Peace Heavy mk II said:

MARMALADE CHAINSAW: sticky sweet and incredibly wasteful. Started a trend of bands naming things with “chainsaw” in their names, which makes me wonder if the Japanese really know what a chainsaw is? Surely you don’t need one for spreading jam but I’m not Julia Child.

I hate you so much

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On 1/22/2020 at 11:30 AM, Peace Heavy mk II said:

RED…[em]: a bit too rough for my liking. I get that this is when their hurgleblurgle kind of approach to art really started, but doesn’t mean I need to be fully here for it. A part of this almost saved me from disliking it, but it wasn’t enough.

 

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On 1/22/2020 at 11:30 AM, Peace Heavy mk II said:

MARMALADE CHAINSAW: sticky sweet and incredibly wasteful. Started a trend of bands naming things with “chainsaw” in their names, which makes me wonder if the Japanese really know what a chainsaw is? Surely you don’t need one for spreading jam but I’m not Julia Child.

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On 1/22/2020 at 11:30 AM, Peace Heavy mk II said:

Amber: This band likes to have female names as titles. Amber, Kasumi, Audrey, Yurikago….it makes me wonder what their take on feminism is. They’ve already displayed a rather ham-fisted pro-life stance a few albums ago, but maybe their time within the inner machinations of the visual scene caused them to change their stance, especially having interacted with so many female fans and the changes fame brought to them. I wonder if this song’s direct is a reflection of that as well — it’s hard to get into an artist’s head and really understand how they see the world.

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Spoiler

i love you @Peace Heavy mk II 🤣 🤣 🤣

 

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