Music News

Get the Dir en grey Look

Tokyo rock quintet Dir en grey have been through a number of musical incarnations over their decade-long history, but none of them resemble the kind of Japanese music that typically catches on in the States: the power J-pop of Puffy AmiYumi, the doom-rock of Boris, or the experimental noise-rock of The Boredoms. No, Dir en grey seems to have settled on a mix of slick nü-metal, screamo, and old-school, Maiden-esque prog-metal tendencies, at least judging by new single "Dozing Green" — from new disc Uroboros — and the vibe they unleashed opening for Deftones last year. Before that, the group crafted "scary" goth-thrash that sounded like a cross between Marilyn Manson and Korn; earlier still, they seemed most interested in creating a sort of funk-metal hybrid in the Faith No More vein.

The band has also long been associated with Japan's visual kei fashion movement, which prizes a flamboyant, glam-goth look somewhere between Club Kids and Edward Scissorhands. The quintet's been trying to doff that look recently and look more tough, but where's the fun in that? And you certainly don't have to! Thinking of doing yourself up visual kei style for the Dir en grey show? Here are a few tips:

• You can never wear enough eyeliner, dark eye shadow, and mascara. Load that shit up on your peepers until they're blacker than your tormented soul. Remember, you don't need to see as much as be seen!

• Please don't even think about leaving the house unless you've cut your hair into long, choppy bangs, dyed it black, then highlighted different sections of it in pink, green, blue, and purple, and then molded it with two bottles of glue into an impenetrable sculpture a roadside bomb couldn't ruffle.

• You must decide early on if you are going to pursue the "Elegant Gothic Aristocrat" or "Goth-loli" look, because it may take some time to obtain the necessary petticoats, parasols, top hats, and cravats. In a pinch, you could probably wear a black leather mini-dress, striped knee socks, big boots, steampunk goggles, a tiara, and a couple feather boas (whether you're male or female) and get away with it. Or, as style bible Mookychick puts it, "think dystopian superhero!"

• Above all, don't try to imitate your favorite Dir en grey member bang for bang and costume for costume. Be yourself! Don't be afraid to unleash your inner Byronic weirdo-hero, or rock out with your bizarro frock out!

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Michael Alan Goldberg