DIR EN GREY – THE UNRAVELING

THE UNRAVELING

Tracklist:

  1. Unraveling
  2. Karma
  3. Kasumi
  4. Karasu
  5. Bottom of the Death Valley
  6. Unknown. Despair. Lost
  7. THE FINAL
  8. MACABRE
  9. Unraveling (Unplugged Ver.)
  10. THE FINAL (Unplugged Ver.)

———————————

1. Unraveling

Starting off the mini, Unraveling beings with a guitar riff that’s given a hurried sound by the walking bass underneath, before DIR EN GREY’s signature heavy sound enters. Kyo’s vocals are pretty normal most of the time, with a little of his floating upper register and a few screams scattered throughout. Although sometimes it sounds like he’s got cotton wool stuck in his mouth. It was nice that they included a guitar solo too, good start!

2. Karma

Yup, this is one heavy track. Starting with a guttural growl, Kyo power through screamoland with only occasional normal vocals. His high screams are pretty cool and it’s pretty amazing how he can wobble them around that much, but I really have trouble listening to those low ones. The actual arrangement is good, but too much growling for me😦.

3. Kasumi

Haha Kasumi sounds like it’s got pop influences, especially due to that clean guitar and Kyo doing his “aaaaaahs”. It’s still got the heavy guitars, but the overall feel is much lighter than anything of theirs that I’ve heard before. And it’s in 3/4 time as well, which I haven’t heard from Diru before. Ok it has got one scream but it was short and didn’t really break the mood. Quite liking this!

4. Karasu

Now there’s synths! I’m quite surprised at the changes of instruments going on here. Clean, echoing guitar is used to create an unsettling feel through the verse, and Kyo is singing in a lower register than previous tracks. Then in comes the between-verse breakdown where there a combination of high screams, low growls, screaming/rapping and some rather impressive sounding chants. I don’t think it has a chorus or anything but than again DIR EN GREY songs don’t really follow conventional form. All up, another pretty cool song.

5. Bottom of the Death Valley

Bass and clean guitar open up the next song. When the distorted guitar comes in there’s nice riffs instead of the usual rhythmic crunching and I’m loving it when Kyo provides backing vocals over them. Yay and a guitar solo as well, although its a bit messy. Just when I was going to say “what, no screaming?” then of course there were some deep growls which I thought didn’t really fit and were kind of yuck. Not too bad overall though and kind of lighter than normal too.

6. Unknown. Despair. Lost

Unknown. Despair. Lost starts of with a really nice acoustic opening, but that doesn’t last as a blast of guitars enters, followed by some metal riffs. The vocals in this case are about 50/50 clean singing and growls. Overall, this song is pretty messy and I’m not that fond of it.

7. THE FINAL

I’m surprised by how mainstream this track sounds as the chord progressions and structure feel like something a normal rock band would produce. The guitars aren’t as heavy and apart from a couple of screams in the background, Kyo’s vocals are very normal! There’s nothing offensive about this song, but then again it doesn’t have as much spark or energy as their other works. So average overall I suppose.

8. MACABRE

This is one seriously long song at 16:18. It starts of with a pounding drum line, before some guitar riffs come, followed by Kyo singing quite calmly. Then surprise surprise in comes some acoustic guitar which gives a lighter touch against the bassy riffs. There’s some instruments in here that don’t seem typical Diru, like organ and violin which is cool. Also, there was not very much screaming.  I think I would have liked it better though if it was cut down a bit, too much instrumental parts for me. Not bad, but boring at times.

9. Unraveling (Unplugged Ver.)

Evilly clashing piano chords, scraping guitar strings and a deathly flute introduce a song which could easily be from a horror film. Kyo sounds positively demonic and atonal piano will just add to your terror., and the guitar sounds like fingernails scraping down a blackboard. And only Diru would have to balls add screams to an acoustic take, not that theirs is a typical acoustic version. Definitely my favourite track here, I think DIR EN GREY must be the kings of scary unplugged tracks. Don’t listen to this before you go to bed.

10. THE FINAL (Unplugged Ver.)

THE FINAL’s acoustic version is relaxing than Unraveling’s version. In fact, it’s pretty much a nice-sounding ballad. I didn’t know that the word ballad even existed in DIR EN GREY language. Actually, there ‘s some lovely strings and I even heard chimes! Not a typical song from them, but I’m really liking it! That scream at the end kind of ruined the flow, but overall a great way to end the album!

Well this was a very interesting mini. Apparently most of the tracks were re-takes of old songs but as I haven’t heard them I can’t say how they compare. There was a good mix of styles on here and there were some of lighter tracks as well. I like the more melodic direction that they’re going at the moment with first Rinkaku and now this. Kyo really is an amazing vocalist, even if I don’t like all his stunts I respect his voice’s’ great diversity. If you like their cleaner stuff you’ll probably enjoy this but if you like their heavier growling material you might not enjoy it so much. For me, it was better overall than DUM SPIRO SPERO.

I don’t usually pick the best songs on minis but this one is pretty long, some albums don’t even have 10 tracks! So I’ll make an exception.

Top Tracks:

  • Unraveling (Unplugged Ver.)
  • THE FINAL (Unplugged Ver.)
  • Kasumi
  • Unraveling
  • Karasu

Rating: 7/10

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