After participating in antiMusic's metal exchange student program, I learned that listening to metal that emanates from an island nation relatively untouched by what's hot & what's not over here is vastly superior to the allegedly 'new & different' products foisted upon us all as by the suits in American record company PR.
This album, actually the fifth by weirdsters Dir en Grey (no clue what that name means) is jammed full of catchy, totally unique songs with untranslatable titles & lyrics that make no sense whatsoever, sung & played well in really catchy style, making this a most promising American debut for these old timers on the scene.
This band embraces an extremely different style than any modern, sanitized for your protection bands employ in order to boost sales & garner attention. Although their differences are many & major: they write lyrics that beatnik poets from the 60's on acid would no doubt appreciate & nod knowingly about, they look like a buncha transvestites, their live shows are so wild the band begs people on their website never to divulge what kinds of things go on at them so as to not ruin the surprise for the uninitiated; this is not a band that's primary strength is in its novelty. They make some of the catchiest & most original stuff I've heard in a long time. They don't recycle & regurgitate what's popular; they just play respectable metal that deserves to be listened to. Their songs are interesting, oddly compelling & musically exciting.
The vocalist displays great range & versatility, and is well complemented by the talented musicians who obviously know what they are doing. Their lyrics, if you go to one of the few sites set up by diehards dedicated to translate them into English, are so wacky & nonsensical they obtain through them an almost punk street cred. Songs with lovely sentiments like, "I feel love on my forehead at gunpoint/ Even the child with the red coat swallows her tears as she faces reality" or "You walk the mountain road made of corpses smiling/ Again you reach out and ants gather under the lily under the sun..." work well on many levels, especially the much appreciated 'unwittingly ironic' level, to which I am a firm adherent.
If you're into glam bands that look pretty & sing weird stuff, you might find a little too much depth & substance in here. If you like something refreshingly different as well as high quality & untainted by numetal or alternative or whatever it's trendy to hate these days in the murky pond of musical similitude we all have been treading in for a while, check these guys out.