DIR EN GREY – Withering To Death

DIR EN GREY - Withering To Death


Release date: March 21, 2006

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During the last decade, the land of the rising sun has shaken artistically the Hollywood industry by creating cult horror movies that everyone immensely enjoyed. This time the Japanese attempt to draw some attention comes with a band strangely named Dir En Grey. The five-piece band became very popular immediately after their maiden release in 1997, which was a mini-album entitled Missa. The album was so successful that it lead to the almost simultaneous release of three singles, all of which reached the country’s Top Ten.

Dir En Grey’s popularity in Japan was growing steadily, taking the band abroad were they performed live in the recent European Rock Am Ring event. The next step was to release an album that could open the way to the American and European markets. This attempt is the band’s fifth full-length album entitled Withering to Death.

This album is a love or hate release, mainly due to the fact that the lyrics are in Japanese. Strangely enough, the language seems to fit in the band’s chaotic music, creating a distinct and recognizable performing style. The final touch is the band’s “The Matrix” meets “Manga” look, with leather clothes and hair painted in vivid colors.

Some strange electronic sounds in “Merciless Cult” open the album. The music is a bizarre blend of Goth Rock and Heavy Metal, with clean and extreme vocals. “C” is next, bringing to mind the band Therapy?, especially from the perspective of the guitars. The catchy chorus should make them decide to make a video clip for “C,” possibly earning some “air” time in major TV and radio stations. Things are getting even stranger in “Saku,” with insane vocals (sometimes like Marilyn Manson and sometimes like Cradle of Filth), another catchy melody and even a headbanging guitar rhythm. “Kodoku Ni Shisu, Yueni Kodoku” continues, following a Goth Rock pattern until the vocals change once again into something weird. Kyo, who is the singer of the band, might have been influenced by the great Mike Patton’s performance, especially in Faith No More’s album Fool For A Liftime.

Things get slow in “Itoshisa Ha Funai Nitsuki,” with a clean guitar sound and mellow vocals. The Ramstein-like intro in “Jesus R’N R” takes the listener back to a distorted Gothic sound, while the headbanging guitar rhythm in “Garbage” and the Death Metal vocals quickly change the sound scenery. After another Japanese version of Therapy? in “Machiavellism,” there are “Dead Tree” and “The Final,” which follow the same pattern of tempo changes and some industrial elements. By this time, it is evident that this band can easily write catchy chorus melodies that stick in one’s mind immediately after the very first listen.

Marilyn Manson meets The Ministry in the fast tempo songs “Beautiful Dirt” and “Spilled Milk,” while “Higeki Ha Mabuta Wo Oroshita Yasashiki Utsu” offers a melodic, clean, modern Rock break. This bizarre sound collection closes with the mainstream and catchy song “Kodou.”

Dir En Grey will without any doubt conquer the American market, which leans towards the extreme outfits and to the diverse sound courtesy of the Japanese lyrics. Apart from the commercial interest, Withering to Death is a very good album that deserves some attention, providing you can leave aside the language difference.


  • Dr. Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

    Dimitris was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has a diploma in Physics, a Masters in Medical Physics and a doctorate dimploma in Nuclear Medicine (this is the reason for his Dr. title). He was given his first Heavy Metal tape at the age of 12 which was a compilation entitled Scandinavian Metal Attack. The music immediately drew his attention and there he was listening to the first Iron Maiden album, trying to memorize the names of the band members. That was it! After some years, he stopped recording tapes and started buying vinyl records, spending every penny in the local record shop. The first live concert he attended was Rage co-headlining with Running Wild.

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