Dir En Grey – ‘Different Sense’ Single Review

Dir En Grey, the multi-talented Japanese rock/metal band, return to action with the frankly insane single ‘different sense’ which combines a love of brutal death metal with soaring melodies and a dodgy obsession with the eighties via Tina Turner, Duran Duran and Genesis. It sounds much as it is: insane, and yet when it works, as it does here, it works damn well and the resulting mix is a prodigiously exciting mix of genres guaranteed to please fans and thrill newcomers with its sheer audacity and verve.

With the title track displaying a dextrous vitality, it jumps cheerily between helium voiced extremity and beautifully melodic eighties pop music. Indeed the mid section wouldn’t sound out of place on a Tears for Fears record if it wasn’t for the mind-bending guitars and occasional yelps underpinning the stunning clean vocals. That is, of course, as naught compared to the genre busting verses which mix brutal death metal, Meshuggah-esque poly-rhythms and unhinged vocals to searing effect. It is, perhaps, a little too genre-hopping for fans who favour a more straight-forward approach, but for those who favour a little sonic experimentation then it will delight the senses.

‘Tsumi to kisei’ moves away from melody into the realms of a Clive Barker with the music every bit as unpleasant and doom laden as inserting rusty hooks into lumps of white flesh to see what squirms out. It’s short, shocking and deeply harrowing and all the better for it, with Dir En grey once again proving that they are the masters of diversity, as comfortable employing excruciating death metal as they are of throwing crazed hair-metal moves and it is a powerful, painful example of the genre.

The final track is a live rendition of crowd favourite ‘red soil’ which receives a pristine production job and showcase the band in full-on ‘death-metal-played-by-refused mode’. Stylistically recalling the aforementioned Swedish maestros crossed with hair metal, the song suffers a massive mood swing that sends the whole thing spiralling off in a considerably heavier, darker direction than you might imagine and the track also demonstrates the sheer vocal power of Kyo and his fellow mentalists. With hints of Mike Patton’s scattershot approach to music making, this is eclectic and exciting and a tantalising taste of forthcoming album ‘Dum Spiro Spero’ which is due out in August.

Exciting, unusual and pretty unique Dir En Grey’s digital single is available now from Gan-Shin records and comes highly recommended.

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  1. Shondolyn Gibson June 28, 2011 3:06 pm  Reply

    Dir en grey is such a good band. Able to play so many different types of music, often in one song.
    I love that band.

  2. Leila Heitzler June 28, 2011 3:26 pm  Reply

    They could do a Spanish version for their fans across America and Spain … It’s just a suggestion:)

    Me ha encantado esta nueva etapa, siento que cada vez se acercan más a lo que siempre quisieron. Estoy orgullosa de su avance y su crecimiento, porque es realmente notable (me refiero a esa transformación de música japonesa a occidentalizada). La banda me pareció excelente desde Missa, desde los primeros tiempos. Me enamoré profundamente de la canción “Kiri to mayu”, nunca la podre olvidar. Todos sus discos me han parecido únicos, nunca me aburrí, nunca escuché lo mismo, pero tampoco me aborrecieron los cambios, nada de eso, siempre se alzaron camino con frescura y talento. Siento que deban traducir este comentario, pero soy de Argentina. Por cierto, me gustaría verlos por acá en algún momento. ¡Realmente los espero! Tienen todo mi apoyo. Los saluda, Leila.

  3. Layne Sykora June 28, 2011 3:27 pm  Reply

    How can you compare them to 80s music? i havent heard a slight bit of 80s style. pleaase review another band

    • phil June 28, 2011 4:37 pm  Reply

      I can compare them to eighties music because 1) that was the feeling I got and opinions are always necessarily subjective rather than objective 2) I feel that there is a strong eighties element to certain sections of what they play, albeit mixed in amongst the myriad other styles 3) A review is, as ever, an opinion and that is MY opinion. 4) Just because you haven’t heard it doesn’t mean it isn’t there and 5) given your deeply unintelligent comment and poor spelling it is highly likely you wouldn’t recognise an eighties element, or any other element, if it hit you over your rather under-stocked cranium. Thank you for your comment, please come again!

      • An_Offended_DeG_Fan June 28, 2011 4:55 pm  Reply

        I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, I’m not just some anime-obsessed wapanese weeaboo who only likes the band “because they’re from Japan and Japan is sooooo kawaii desu and IF IT AIN’T JAPANAIZE EETZ KURAPPU!” I’ve listened to everything from the aforementioned (actually one of the first tapes I had was Duran Duran’s Decade) going on to Fleetwood Mac, Erasure, Depeche Mode, Motley Crue, Prince (I blame my mother for that one), Reba McEntire (also my mother) as well as Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Manson, KMFDM, Zeromancer, OOPMH!, Rammstein, Turmion Katilot, Ruoska, ELUVEITIE, Blood Stain Child and a bunch of other stuff… Maybe everything now regardless of what it is has some subconscious 80’s connection, like how music in the 90’s did with the 70’s, but I don’t get that from Dir en grey. They’re just them… they’re their own thing and since they’re in Japan, I’d doubt they had even heard of half the people you compare them to.

        • phil June 28, 2011 5:20 pm  Reply

          First off I’m not quite sure why you’ve developed this gargantuan chip on your shoulder about “anime-obsessed wapanese Weeaboo…” stuff – certainly there was no elment of that in my review, I merely reviewed them as I would any other band, but maybe you’ve come across such cultural stereotyping elsewhere and are lumping me in with the same crowd. Secondly, a band doesn’t have to specifically cite (or indeed have) a given band as an influence to share some element of the sound – as I stated before the comparison was based on melody and feel, not whether I think Dir En Grey actively sound that way all the time – but then maybe you missed the part where I was simply trying to demonstrate the wide and wonderful variety of colour and sound to be found within a Dir En Grey release. That said this just goes to show that even when being positive you manage to offend someone but as my review was meant simply to praise Dir En Grey’s ecclecticism it just seems that you’re getting somewhat worked up over nothing.

  4. Ren June 28, 2011 3:53 pm  Reply

    a really “different sense”
    w8ing for “Dum Spiro Spero”
    and when Dir en grey come from CHILE.

  5. An_Offended_DeG_Fan June 28, 2011 4:36 pm  Reply

    I’d just like to know where the reviewer is getting all these comparisons to “Tina Turner, Duran Duran and Genesis.” I mean, since when did having a nice shining chorus equate to “trying to sound 80’s?.” I don’t hear any synthesizers or Simmons SDS5 Synth Drums, I don’t hear anyone telling me they wanna be my “private dancer” or that they’re “hungry like the wolf” or that their girlfriend seems to have an “invisible touch-ey.” Oh well, atleast you didn’t throw out the “THEYZ FRUM JUHPAN, SO ITS ANNIE MAY MYEWZUX” cliche. Though from the way you describe them and name-drop random people, I’d hazard a guess that this is probably your first time listening to them. Give a listen to the albums Kisou, Vulgar, Withering to Death and then Uroboros to really get a full scope of DeG’s universal rock appeal.

    Dir en grey, they’re not just for weeaboos anymore.

    • phil June 28, 2011 4:41 pm  Reply

      The comparisons were based on sound and feel and were in no way detrimental – the review was overwhelmingly positive and any negative interpretation you may have resides soley with your own prejudiced opinion of what eighties music is or isn’t. To that end, I attempted to trace the various components of the band’s sound and those reference points, although admittedly loose, were an attempt to show the cross-genre abilities of the band, something that you, yourself, reference in this oddly confused comment. Quite why you’re offended is beyond me!

    • An_Offended_DeG_Fan June 28, 2011 5:41 pm  Reply

      “First off I’m not quite sure why you’ve developed this gargantuan chip on your shoulder about “anime-obsessed wapanese Weeaboo…” stuff – certainly there was no elment of that in my review, I merely reviewed them as I would any other band, but maybe you’ve come across such cultural stereotyping elsewhere and are lumping me in with the same crowd.”


      And then Shockhound’s “Taco Tuesday” gave Uroboros the same “anime band” treatment and
      that was for Uroboros, a record that was actually quite good (if you avoid the english remakes):

      • phil June 28, 2011 5:52 pm  Reply

        Um – yes, very good. I ask again, though, what exactly does that have to do with my review?

        • An_Offended_DeG_Fan June 28, 2011 5:59 pm  Reply

          Guess yer right, atleast you weren’t slamming them like everyone else usually does. And yeah, most in the fandom are so sick of the band being stigmatized for whatever reason (mostly female fanbase, mostly wapanese fanbase, their music sounds like anime etc) that we almost kinda expect it by now. The odd comparisons to random defunct pop singers/acts just kinda threw me.

          • phil June 28, 2011 6:06 pm 

            I can understand that it gets tiring reading endless negative comments of a band that you enjoy – but I suppose my response would be to consider always the overall intentions of the reviewer and the review – far from trying to make the band look foolish I was trying to highlight just how wide a range of music they covered – before leaping feet first down said reviewer’s throat!! Still, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the discussion and it’s good to see people are passionate about the bands they love – after all it is from passion that the very best music springs and I’d rather be slammed by a band’s fans then met with the curious apathy that seems to have inflicted a lot of modern music fans!!!

    • Rapebaby June 28, 2011 10:08 pm  Reply

      well i didn’t hear the 80’s-ness in it still
      but since when was that a bad thing ???

      i never heard him trash the band really , actually sounded more like praise to me .
      even if i didn’t agree it’s nice to hear from someone else’s point of view right ?
      that’s the point in reading the review lol

  6. Vinushka June 28, 2011 5:30 pm  Reply

    I love Dir en Grey, but I really hate the fanbase. It’s either weaboo girls or elitists with massive chips on their shoulders. The guy gave the single a GLOWING review, literally not a bad word said. Everyone gets different things from music, especially music as varied and accomplished as the stuff Dir en Grey make. Don’t argue about what they may or may not sound like, just come together in appreciating their skill.

    • An_Offended_DeG_Fan June 28, 2011 6:05 pm  Reply

      “elitists with massive chips on their shoulders.”

      An elitist would say something like “Dir en grey’s releasing Withering to Death in Hot Topic -AND- playing on Family Values tour? LAME! Now everybody and their grandma is going to like them, why couldn’t they have just stayed in Japan and why couldn’t their albums have stayed $40 a pop so only the COOL fans could get them.” Ahhh… 2006, so much angst in so many forums.

      • phil June 28, 2011 6:13 pm  Reply

        There seems to be a similar amount of angst on OUR forum today! I don’t think any review has ever been so divisive!!!

        • An_Offended_DeG_Fan June 28, 2011 6:29 pm  Reply

          I don’t think I was being angsty (as fans in 2006 were about losing their monopoly on DeG)… I just freaked about some rather confusing comparisons, there are far worse things in this fandom than that… fans who actively harass those perceived to be a “lesser fan,” fans who lambaste other fans for a simple thing like having won a contest when they didn’t, fans who believe that no “True Fans™” exists except for themselves, fans that see the band as their personal property and become quite violent when said property is coveted by another.

        • DEADication June 28, 2011 6:54 pm  Reply

          I as well have a big interest in the 80’s scene and did not catch the reference to the aforementioned artists in this single. Everything else is pretty much spot-on though, a solid review to be sure. I think An_Offended_DeG_Fan inserted that “chip on his shoulders” as a way to officially cover himself from being roped in with other such qualities of the fanbase while making a constructive comment about the review. The DeG fanbase truly is wrought with flamers, trolls, weeaboos, and rabid fangirls, all of whom tend to disagree with what anyone says about DeG even if it’s positive. Even as a huge fan of DeG myself, I’m becoming increasingly reluctant to attend concerts because of all the hate thrown around, but unlike American metal bands, DeG fans are too p*ssy to throw punches, instead opting to talk smack behind your back, right in front of you. Does that not make sense? Go to a concert and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

          tl;dr – Please don’t be surprised or offended if such criticism is brought to the table, as it’s sadly the norm for anything DeG-related.

  7. A. June 28, 2011 7:34 pm  Reply

    “and since they’re in Japan, I’d doubt they had even heard of half the people you compare them to.”

    Come on… it surprises me to see that there is still people to think that way.

    Anyway, nice review!

    • An_Offended_DeG_Fan June 28, 2011 10:18 pm  Reply

      @ “A.” Oh yeah, I forgot that they listened to Linkin Park.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb19Zht03wE – (0:24 – 0:40)

      But Phil Collins? I dunno man… I just don’t know. But then maybe they have the same phenomenon over there as we do “wapanese” over here, but then what do they call that? “Ameri-nese?” *philosoraptor pose* -> http://lolbot.net/pix/6688.png

    • Not_Really_So_Offended_Anymore June 29, 2011 2:02 am  Reply

      Oh right, I forgot that they like Linkin Park and were listening to them during the “Making of Obscure” video… but Phil Collins? I can’t really picture that, but then again there are weebz who will listen to whatever simply because it’s from Japan. I guess they have a similar phenomenon over there. “Oh it’s in English, I don’t understand what they’re saying but it just sounds cool.”

      I dunno if Phil will lemme post this, but I found this to be rather insightful.
      It’s an interview with Jimi Aoma (an American) who played in a VK band called Chemical Pictures…

      “I just feel like if you’re a fan of a scene and you’re having discussions and going to shows together and yet are making more enemies than friends, you’re doing it wrong.”

      “As for within the scene… man, I just don’t understand the need to prove how much bigger of a fan you are than those around you. When I played shows, I remembered the person standing in the back, smiling and standing perfectly still throughout the last few months of lives just as much as I remembered the girl front and center for every gig going crazy and screaming. That might just be me, though. It didn’t matter to me if they didn’t know anything about me and just enjoyed the show, or knew everything I’d ever done and gave me the right gifts. Obviously it’s all still really cool to experience that, but in the end the only person that sort of thing matters to is yourself, and how that contributes to your overall happiness.”

      “I am really removed from the fan scene so I’m not really sure what constitutes elitism, or what kinds of elitism are prevalent… but there’s this game I’m really into right now, and I’m trying to look up stuff about how to play the game better, and there are some people who are talking about how they hate “noobs” and only play because they want to be better than people and to exploit the game as much as possible, and to that I can only say, “okay, clearly we are getting different things out of this experience.” I’m just having a good time.” – Great analogy.

  8. Dude June 28, 2011 8:38 pm  Reply

    Wow, good things said about the band, love the new single, but it’s kinda hard to read. xD Interesting… writing style.

  9. Difense June 28, 2011 10:00 pm  Reply

    Cool review

  10. Jae June 29, 2011 5:52 am  Reply

    Honestly…I hear the eighties style. As has been said, the article doesn’t imply it’s conscious. It’s simply there as a comparison for the various mixed styles and sounds on the track. If you listen and separate the song elements in your head it becomes more obvious. It’s not something that will stand out to most people…and why should it? The song is meant to be taken as a whole.

  11. Muzzle June 29, 2011 12:12 pm  Reply

    IMO this single sucks. It’s good that Kyo’s vocal is evolving but… it sounds ugly. Old, good Dir en grey died a long time ago. Now it’s just ANOTHER metal band with nothing special to offer.

    • phil June 29, 2011 12:19 pm  Reply

      Hmm brave words, but I fear that the rather vocal Dir En Grey community may disagree. I do wonder if you’re simply aiming for controversy however, I am not convinced that they could ever be described as ‘just another metal band’…

    • Herpderp. June 30, 2011 2:54 am  Reply

      They’re ___never___ going to go back to being Visual Kei, you do know that… right?

  12. TantricNferno June 29, 2011 2:21 pm  Reply

    I personally have fallen in love with this single. I pretty much have to listen to it at least once every day. Different Sense further expanded on the bands strengths, and even brought back the solos that made me love Macabre, Kisou, and Vulgar so much. I love all the albums, but I really felt that with Withering, Marrow, and Uroboros (My favorite album oddly enough), that the guitarists really didn’t have as much time to shine as they did before. The solo in DS made me squeal a little bit. The other song, Tsumi to kisei, reminds me of like what one would call death-sludge, and I love the hell out of it. I think DSS has a high chance of beating Uroboros, and I am looking forward to it immensely.

    • phil June 29, 2011 3:41 pm  Reply

      I love the diversity of the comments on here – it’s great to see Dir En Grey have such a passionate fanbase and I have to agree, it’s a great single!

  13. caz June 29, 2011 9:00 pm  Reply

    Thanks interesting review. I love Dir en grey they are my favourite band, they not only play some devastatingly good music, their lives are truly amazing and Kyo’s way with words take my breath away, and that is from someone who speaks and understands very little Japanese. I love their diversity, even within one single song. I love their commitment to never changing, but to also always be changing. I love their hard work, their commitment, their dedication and their talent. I love the fact they refuse to compromise, to water down their views, or to stand in the shadows and to not stand up and shout when things need to be shouted about. I thank everyday that my youngest son (who is 21 btw) one day bought home a cd with two tracks from Dir en grey on it. That day changed my life, musically for the better. Different Sense is a great song as are all of the songs so far that have been released for the new album. I thought Uroboros was their greatest album. I think I might be changing my mind in just over a months time.

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