1997 to 2003 kind of early
Okay, so at least we’re both working with the same assumption then. I had no idea if you meant their visual days or their pre-UROBOROS day or something else, since lots of people start in different places.
For me, there’s a lot going on with early-era Dir en grey that’s hard to nail down succinctly. The most prominent thought I had is that Dir en grey is a band that excels because of the vocals and the rhythm. Die and Kaoru are great guitarists and composers, but what they added to the music during the visual kei days tended to be intermediate-level riffs in difficulty (for reference, I’ve been playing a year and some change and I can do a messy 2-min cover of Deity). In comparison, Toshiya’s bass licks are on another level, so much so that when I play Rasetsukoku I blend the bass and the guitar lines together for something more dynamic. Shinya’s drum lines are also important in helping the rhythm and the groove of a lot of their songs. Him and Shinya are a colossal unit.
Having said that, I don’t think it’s an unpopular opinion that the visual kei style constrained their potential. They said as much in an interview. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of 90’s visual kei tabs out there for inspection for me to be confident in this assertion, but I get the impression that the majority of music released between 1990 and 1999 was recorded in E Standard. I really do think Dir en grey were one of the earliest bands to popularize with alternative tunings in the scene, first with D Standard on Macabre/Kisou for a few tracks and then Drop D for six Ugly (I do believe D’espairsRay beat them to the punch on D Standard but I have to check). I’m taking the scenic route to say that there were certain pressures in the scene to sound a certain way, which molded the kote sound into the mental image we have now, which ran it’s course by the end of 1999 because artists did everything they could with that sound and aesthetic. Those pressures come down to not just the tuning used, but also the pickups on the guitar, the style of guitar used, any pedals, amps, or other gear required for effects, and even recording and production techniques, gear, and limitations.
I mentioned Deity and Rasetsukoku earlier for a reason - what I play sounds tonally different from what’s recorded on disc, even though I’ve got the tuning and the notes dialed in right. It’s got a lot to do with my gear because my set up is clocked with more distortion and gain than what they were using in the studio, and my Fishman pickups are ridiculously hot. It sounds more aggressive and heavy.
So yeah, by the tail end of 2002 you could sense on Kisou that they’ve burst past the boundaries of what visual kei could be at the time and it was either switch direction or disband - and I think Shinya said as much in one of their many late 2000’s interviews. When they went from reading the book to writing the book, they then popularized the heavy western metalcore sound that ended up replacing the kote sound. Then they went on to some experimental avant-garde metal and most of the scene didn’t follow because it takes certain technical chops to play that style, but we’ve had bands like NAZARE and DEVILOOF. Even in 2010, bands that heavy would have been rejected by the scene as “American metal”.
But the key word is “certain technical chops”. I have the guitar tuning to play “Different Sense”. I do not have the skills. However, I can tackle almost any early-era Dir en grey song with moderate difficulties. That’s the difference between something on their second album and something on their eighth that I’ve been clumsily communicating. When I play some riffs from their early days to my guitar teacher, he often asks me where I learned that technique or what song that was or if I realized how that tied into musical theory. I usually don’t, I’m just playing notes, but the fact that he says this all the time means that there’s something solid there buried under all the kote and dust.
I’m not agreeing or disagreeing. I’m just spouting exposition Sir Hammerlock style.
Haha, I guess we have opposite tastes because that’s my favourite era of Dir en grey (which would probably be an unpopular opinion in some crowds )
I am now going to call your taste in music “dusty-kei” and you can blame zeus for it
i like this
@ musicians, I beg
please get better braiders/do better braiding before posting promo shots, videos, tour footage, gushing about the new hair or whatever - especially with more polished looks, or for the veterans that aren’t trying to look like some new kids on the block that couldn’t afford better.
(Unless they like/prefer/intended the look, of course) New braids and cornrows should not look like mangled wheat spikes laying out maps to Terabithia.