Culture Shock

Shape-shifing Japanese rockers Dir en grey bring blood-stained agony

At times, Dir en grey sounds like middle-of-the-road heavy rock. At other times, it sounds like power metal, and at others, like pop balladeers until death metal screams come blossoming out of the gloss. Sometimes the band thrashes with punk glee, while sometimes it displays chops worthy of '70s prog rock. Then again, it can sound like Mötley Crüe playing songs tailor-made to fill arenas with female screams, or like Orgy-influenced industrial goth-metal. The comparisons go on, and often stack up within the same song.

"I prefer different sounds and different types of music on the same album, because if you have the same types of songs on an album, it's not interesting," Kaoru says. "Also, each member has different visions of the song, so if I try to include all of the members' feelings in a song, it won't stick to one style."

Dir en grey: Oh, the intensity.
Dir en grey: Oh, the intensity.


scheduled to perform on Friday, May 11
Mesa Amphitheatre

Appropriately, The Marrow of a Bone's album art may provide the best way to describe the band. Though the cover appears to be solid black, silhouetted human shapes appear when you tilt it. Keep tilting at an angle for light to hit it, and the image crystallizes into civilians on a battlefield surveying and mourning the dead bodies of fallen soldiers. In essence, there's more going on with this band than meets the eye, and its stubborn penchant for surprise and ambiguity — more than image or flash — may ultimately serve it well on its continuing efforts to achieve viability in the West.

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Overall, it was a good article I suppose, and I just wanted to help with some of the facts I guess. Although, this one paragraph kinda turned me off... "In interview clips, Kyo, who looks like the love child of an angry dwarf and a rooster, appears surly and enraged. That is particularly striking and humorous in an old Japanese talk show clip where the band comes out in outrageous outfits: stiff, trashy-glam futuristic robes straight out of The Fifth Element or some confused fashion designer's answer to Robert Heinlein." If Kaoru states that the band expresses anger and sorrow, isn't Kyo's on-stage antics to be expected? And to the second sentence... That's Visual Kei for ya back then. I'm not sure if the outfits Visual Kei bands wear now are more outrageous than the ones back then... Thinking of bands back then with Yoshiki's spiked hair and comparing them to this's probably about the same if not more. hahaha, I don't think those fashion designers are confused- they know exactly what they're doing. XD

Oh and Dir en grey was indeed formed in 1997.


Is it really that confusing to people that we as American fans of Dir en grey can sing the songs in Japanese? It seems that is brought up alot in articles such as this... We mostly utilize the internet for information and I think that's one of the main reasons we know so much already. As for singing the songs in Japanese, there are translations people put up online so we know what the song is about, but some people may even be able to figure it out just by watching the PV (Promotional Video). For me, the sounds just stuck in my head and after awhile, I was able to sing them like any other song (and that's basically for every song I listen to).

Oh, and the lyric books printed in America for The Marrow of a Bone have problems with them. This was stated by Warcon Records, but unfortunately, there hasn't been any news lately on how we can obtain the corrected lyric books.


To the author: Thank you very much for writing this, your views and opinions made it one of the more enjoyable Dir en grey articles that have been written in the states. I appriciate the fact that you did some research on the band, even if your facts aren't 100% accurate. I look forward to reading any future articles you may write about the band.To "Manda": Please get over yourself. The author went through the trouble of publishing an article with a overall positive image of the band. I appriciate that s/he's getting the word out to future fans. If you can't get past the fact that people are allowed to have their own opinions, you need to grow the fuck up. Our fanbase doesn't need any more whiny, elitist bullshit than it already has, thank you very much.


To whoever wrote this articleThis is bullshit, thank you for calling my idol a dwarf/rooster, you should be ashamed of yourself. And I'm seconding SOS, get your facts straight before you write things like this.

Shondolyn Gibson
Shondolyn Gibson

Fascinating article.I've been into Dir en grey since 2001.There's no band quite like them. No other band plays with the sort of deep feeling they play with.They are excellent and I wish them success.


I've been a fan of them for 5+ years now and have to say that their constantly-evolving sound has definitely hit a new and unique high in The Marrow Of A Bone era. Nothing is comparable to this band live in concert if you let yourself be pulled into the music and performance- nothing. A good number of fans overseas have made concentrated efforts to furthering their understanding of the band by doing translations and discussing lyrics and interviews, but the fact that so many people are drawn to them without initial understanding says something about the incredible emotional impact they can have on people.


Just FYI .Dir en grey was formed on Feb 2,1997 .They did one show after LaSadies disbanded ,under the name ,"Death Mask",with the present line up ,but then played as Dir en grey ,for the first time ,on Feb 2 ,97.Not 98 .They did just have their 10th anniversary .

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