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21 July 2009 @ 02:03 am
The GazettE - DIM review  
To be honest, I wasn't expecting much of this album. Gazette has always been a live band and kind of sucked when it came to record their songs in a studio - I can never totally get into their albums, as for me it just lacks of this atmosphere which is so distinctive of Gazette.

However, DIM tells us a different story. The GazettE has totally changed their way of writing their songs and setting their arrangements - and for the best. No more attempts to recreate the fever which seizes their public when they get on stage. DIM has been carefully thought-out to be listened when you're alone or with your friends. It's different, and kind of new for the band, but it's still the GazettE - the passion is all the same.

Now, what is this album all about? When I saw the title, I thought about a light making its way in the dark... but actually it's more about the darkness taking over the light. So far the many instrumental tracks have been disturbing the fans: the GazettE are trying out with DIM to create a concept album, and those tracks are here to remind the listener of this specific atmosphere which characterizes DIM. But there's nothing more to it, there's no real link between the songs nor any story-telling. I guess the whole thing is just about introducing something they've never done before and seeing how the fans react - if the concept works, they might be wanting to take it further.

Hakuri (detachment) introduces some kind of a mystical atmosphere, with pinched guitar strings and distant voices - while the beats keep it anguishing.

'' The reality of this fluttering body, its breaking and ripped back ''

THE INVISIBLE WALL, is both a melodic song and a hard-rock song - Ruki's lamenting voice making a link between each break. The song is about sorrow and despair, and those themes will be developed throughout the whole album - which makes of THE INVISIBLE WALL a good introduction for DIM. The spoken lyrics, female voices, screaming, and Ruki's almost crying voice make it more interesting - as the insistent chorus and precise music track aren't really enough - but it doesn't totally catch on. This song is a good rock song, but nothing more. If it had been made longer, the themes could have been more developed and then maybe the ending would have been more surprising and interesting. Here it just sounds like they got tired of the song before they finished writing out the main music lines. Well, I personally like this song anyway, but the lack of a conclusion doesn't do justice to the song.

A MOTH UNDER THE SKIN follow the same lines as THE INVISIBLE WALL. However the bass-strumming and use of a megaphone make it sound more Gazette-like. Good rhythm too, which makes me think A MOTH UNDER THE SKIN will be great live (I can already see the head-bangs). This song is about decadence and modernity - at first Ruki seems to be stigmatizing the whole society but then as he starts talking about art and beauty it appears he's talking about himself as well. However for me the ending totally sucks, sounds like they didn't know how to end it and just chose to sort of make the whole thing fade out... I hope they'll think of something else when they'll play it live. Even a sudden end, cutting right into the song, would have been more interesting - well, in my opinion. An interesting song, anyway, especially for its lyrics.

Now, let's talk about LEECH... well, I love this song, so I'm not sure I'll manage to stay objective. Anyway, I love the rhythm, and Ruki's singing fits it perfectly - it just makes you want to bounce around when you hear it. Plus they added a melodic chorus to balance the whole thing, which is a good point. At first the female voices kind of disturbed me but now I can see that it just adds something different to the song... I can't tell exactly what, but it's not a drawback. And it's the same for the guitars: sometimes Aoi and Uruha sound like they're trying to play electro music or something... weird, but strangely it fits the song. And I must say that Ruki's screaming is totally great - can't help wondering what the others must have done to him to make him scream like that. The only things I definitely don't get in this song are the lyrics: I knew that Ruki still needed to make some improvement with his 'engrish' but here I must say he's probably wrote these lines when he was under the influence of some chemicals I wouldn't dare to name... honestly, I read it and re-read it, and it just doesn't make any sense. If some medium could enlighten me I would really be grateful.

Nakigahara is, for me, the most beautiful song of DIM. According to Ruki Nakigahara is the name of a place which really exists - this name could be translated as ''the valley of tears''. Now, how could I describe this song? Basically, the music is just beautiful. Some people might find the song too long, but in my opinion it's absolutely perfect (I think a song really is a good song when the emotion is still there whatever the length might be... and Gazette needs to try out more long songs anyway, I'm sure they could do some great things if they allowed themselves to write 10 minutes-long pieces). The sudden breaks, short bridges, well everything in the construction is just so enthralling that you stay focused and touched throughout the whole song. And I must say I love the strumming, it makes the song so sad and melodic... unfortunately the bass is kind of drowned in the whole thing (that might be due to the fact I'm listening to it on my computer, though) but when you boost it it gets better. Ruki's singing is as beautiful as the music - sometimes he sounds like he's on the verge of crying. He even tries to reach some high notes from time to time - his singing is not absolutely perfect there, but for someone who's not a countertenor it's not that bad. Nakigahara is a love song, tainted with death and despair. The japanese lyrics are beautiful (they doesn't sound that good once translated, as rhymes and assonances have their importance in the song) and make me think of a wood nymph killed for loving a god or something... well, that's just my imagination getting wild there. Anyway, I definitely love Nakigahara, and it will probably soon become my favourite Gazette song. ♥

Erika is the second instrumental track of DIM, and gets us back to the dark and disturbing atmosphere of the album - it's the link between the ballad Nakigahara and the heavy-metal song HEADACHE MAN (the only thing I'm wondering is... who is Erika? - strange name for an instrumental track).
'' Lured into the very bottom of the darkness of these flowers "'


HEADACHE MAN is one of the best head-bang song of the album. Well, the lyrics are quite explicit about that fact. But surprisingly, the construction of the song isn't an absolute mess, the slow verses sung by Ruki at the beginning, the heavy guitar notes in the horror movie style and the mad screaming gives some kind of harmony to the song... contrary to what the title makes you think, you can listen to this song without getting a headache (I said ''listen to this song'' not ''headbang to this song''...). HEADACHE MAN could have been an old Gazette song, but with the qualities of a new Gazette song.

Guren (Crimson Lotus) is another ballad, maybe even more tragic than Nakigahara, with a rock beat and a few solo guitar lines... well, it's a classical composition but it works, and shows Ruki's voice at its best. The lyrics are quite impressive too, at first I didn't get it but then I read in a Shoxx interview (you can find it here) that it had to do with the world of BURIAL APPLICANT. My interpretation is that Ruki is talking about an unwanted child and his/her cruel fate after the relationship between his/her parents deteriorates. It's definitely a sad song and not a love song, as Ruki said. It's a song about regrets and hatred, and how much they can hurt someone. Traditionally the lotus is a symbol of purity but here it's a crimson lotus, which evokes blood and so on, hence for me it is the symbol of a love that has been stained by sin and irreversibly damaged.

Shikyuu (Womb) is the third instrumental track. Filled with babies' cries and ryhtmed by something like a gong, the reason why it's following Guren is obvious. It's a scary and anguishing track, and a good introduction for 13STAIRS[-1]. This track kind of reminds me of the style of Dir en Grey, and especially the atmosphere of their last album, UROBOROS.

'' Couldn't you do anything, or didn't you do anything? ''


13STAIRS[-1] gets us back to the heavy sound of the GazettE, guitars and drums fighting each other to speed up the rhythm as fast as possible. Ruki is constantly changing of range of voice to scream, whisper and so on. I like the way they've overlaid the whole thing and I must say the mixing is nicely done, with some experimentations I guess they had never done before. The lyrics are interesting, I think it's the first time I hear the GazettE protesting against a social phenomenon - the industrialization of music. Hence the vulgar tone of the song, the discrimination refering to how people tend to judge visual music and the ''waving of waist'' (nice move, I must say) to the fact that you have to give in to everything the industry wants you to do if you want to be successful. About the title of the song, my guess is that since 13 minus 1 equals 12 it refers to the number of songs of this album (if you cast aside the instrumental tracks)... hence the ''it's only a little longer until 13'' line.

DISTRESS AND COMA is in the same vein as THE INVISIBLE WALL but this one sounds like they put more work into it - when you hear it you can tell they reached what they were aiming for when they starting writing it. The drum loops at the begining and at the ending of the song, the heavy guitar tunes backed up by Reita's bass, the harmony of the chorus with the rest of the song - emphasized by subtle violin touches - the melodic guitar solo, well everything in the composition of this song has been thought out so that you could listen to it over and over. And I like the brutal end - that's how a song is supposed to end, in my opinion. Ruki's singing is quite good too, he doesn't sound like he's forcing it here and when he reaches high notes he sounds better than in Nakigahara. Once again, this is a song about despair and helplessness. The lyrics are very poetic, and the meaning almost always underlying - now that I've read them, I'm totally fond of this song... really can't get it out of my head.

Kanshoku (Sense of Touch) is the only light instrumental track of DIM. Six simple notes played on the piano, with digital drum loops in the background - marking the continuity with DISTRESS AND COMA. The title of this track makes me think of someone touching the ivory of a piano keys... well, this track is quite relaxing, and keeps the gloomy side of DIM away.

'' In this mild and sweet-scented tenderness the color of the white changes and may look black ''


Then Shiroki Yuutsu (White Melancholy) comes in. I think it's the less desperate ballad of the album, even though it's still about regrets and melancholy, as the title says. There is more violin in this song (this time used as another instrument and not just a track in the background), and the drum breaks keep the song in the same vein as DISTRESS AND COMA and Kanshoku. Add to this some whispers and and acoustic guitar lines and you'll get an indeed very melancholic song. The guitar solo sounds very rock-like, and definitely reminds me of the solo of another song... but I can't recall which one. Well, I'm sure I've already heard a solo starting like this anyway, and that's why it didn't sound that much original to me. On the other side, I was totally satisfied with the ending, the burst of violin, bass and drums repetitions sound absolutely great. And I also love the way Ruki can express complicated feelings such as regret and sadness with simple and poetic words... Shiroki Yuutsu is a good ballad, and an interesting song too as the GazettE usually don't write such calm and melodic songs.

IN THE MIDDLE OF CHAOS is an introspective song, a little bit more cheerful than the other ones. Ruki's reflecting on his own past and career, but even though it's a laudable attempt his english kind of spoils the whole song. In terms of music, IN THE MIDDLE OF CHAOS isn't very original and is obviously inspired by american metal songs. It's a good song, you can feel they've enjoyed recording it - but that's all there is to it, in my opinion. It might sound much better live, though.

Mourou (Dim/Foggy) is the last instrumental track - filled with crackling, bells and screaming. I found this one a little bit useless but it's a good transition between IN THE MIDDLE OF CHAOS and OGRE.

'' Scenery of nowadays hell - even my own child will soon be a devil, playing with a decapitated head as if it was a ball ''


OGRE is another head bang song, and a good one. The drums breaks and sudden accelerations keep it up, and the slowing down on 'I.N.F.E.C.T.I.O.N.' gives off a nauseous and disturbing feeling - definitely a song I would love to hear live. The lyrics, or I should say, the bunch of kanji Ruki throw on his paper, totally fit this kind of song.

DIM SCENE is the finale of the album. It's a conclusion, and a good one. The musical theme is introduced with a few guitar notes and a violin - you can tell right from the start that the song will not be a very cheerful one. The whole song will be supported by this violin and an orchestra in the background - I especially like the way they used the string bass. The violin fades away, and comes back in a burst of guitar tunes and drum loops. Then the rhythm slows down and Ruki's voice slowly comes up over the guitars. As it suddenly speeds up, Ruki starts pounding every sentence to lead the song up to the guitar solo. Ruki resumes singing, pounding again and then going on with his 'lalala'. The song ends as the violin fades out. The lyrics are a blend of all of the feelings the GazettE have developed in DIM - the vocabulary itself shows it: scenery, ray of light, baby's dream, moth, distress, bloom, everything is there. I definitely like this song, but once again I think it could have been made longer. It's a nice ending for DIM anyway, and one of its best songs - well I think there are too many 'best songs' in this album, actually.

All in all, DIM is definitely one of their best albums, if not the best, at least in my opinion. Maybe it's not what the fans were expecting, and as a matter of taste, some people might dislike some of these songs, but I think the performance deserves to be acclaimed - the GazettE have definitely improved their style in song-writing. Now that they know how to get the best of a recording studio, all we can hope is that they will go further in what they started exploring. They're definitely on the right track there.


DIM
 
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mood: busybusy
music: the GazettE - Nakigahara
 
 
 
a good kid, but retarded.flashbacku on July 21st, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
Bon, je lis pas droit, mais j'ai lu, c'est super bien développé trop cool et tout, j'aurais aimé faire la même chose, mais j'écris mal et je m'embrouille et voilà ;___;
J'AI LU voilà XD
Ashuraxxx_ashura_xxx on July 21st, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
Yay, t'as LU xD
(super bien développé j'irai pas jusque là mais bon...)
sankyou d'avoir pris la peine de lire alors que tu lis pas droit ~ ^__^
a good kid, but retarded.flashbacku on October 30th, 2009 12:15 pm (UTC)
Mets ton LJ à jour :D
Ashura: reitaxxx_ashura_xxx on October 31st, 2009 05:32 am (UTC)
ça y est xD
(je dis que des trucs inutiles, haha, mais c'est de ta faute vu que tu voulais que j'update u_u)