The GazettE - MASS

I didn’t really feel any hype for this album and now that it’s here, I don’t feel any particular way about it. I normally listen to an album once but this time I had to listen three times because I found the album so unmemorable. For me, the GazettE haven’t been this cut and dry since BEAUTIFUL DEFORMITY.

Bands tend to change and evolve over time but The GazettE has found their sound and they’re sticking with it. I think this is a side-effect of RUKI composing almost all the songs and I think that it wouldn’t hurt for other members to compose as well. I heard MOMENT was the only track he didn’t compose (but he directed) and you can hear the contrast between DAKU and THE PALE and MOMENT. All three of those tracks form the highlight of the album for me and it’s not even that good of a run.

There are some tracks I like (DAKU, THE PALE, LAST SONG) and some tracks that feel like filler (BARBARIAN and FRENZY). There’s no song I really hated. I don’t really care for BLINDING HOPE, but it’s an okay single. HOLD is going to be a blast live and I can’t get the violin from NOX out of my head, but I can’t remember a single riff from the song. I think it’s BEAUTIFUL DEFORMITY pt 2 and it’s slightly better, but not by much.

World’s most solid 7/10 for me. I don’t particularly like or hate this album, but I think I like NINTH better? How about you?


So we were going to do an episode on this and I kind of wrote some notes for myself way in advance, so I’m just going to post it unedited here, since it does kind of pass off as a review, of sorts.

"Over the years The GazettE has shed its skin a few times. Originally, they were more or less in-line with some of their label mates like Cherry, Cuartet and Devil Kitty on Yayoi’s Matina sub-label Eternal, that if I had to find some words to describe, it’d be something like kote-osa, equal parts punk rock, street style and a really raw iteration of classic visual kei done on a shoestring budget. When Eternal imploded in the aftermath of the bursting of the visual kei bubble, they got picked up by Tomomi’s Peace & Smile Company, which was shaping up to be a big fucking deal. Progressively The GazettE grew sleeker and polished up its sound, but a decisive break with their older music happened somewhere around their major debut, between the singles Reila and Cassis, which begin to feature obvious influence from alt-rock and nu-metal in its B-sides Akai Kodou and Toguro. Since then they’d sort of be teetering back and forth between a stream-lined, updated visual kei pop rock approach and a darker nu-metal style. That was until 2009, when the band makes a big break with its past once more probably due to the surprisingly high sales figures of their DIM album. The lamestream was their next target, and the extremely poppy and meandering, poor man’s SID singles campaign follows, with a gig booked in the Tokyo Dome, which doesn’t go over so well. The band retreats a little back to a sleek, heavier sound that they teased during that singles campaign featuring new updated synth-work and metalcore techniques (HESITATING MEANS DEATH, CLEVER MONKEY), and then the rest of the 2010s are largely spent honing their chosen craft and aesthetic.

What’s the music like?

2021 sees The GazettE being extremely comfortable where they’re at. There is nearly, if not any development to speak of, and that’s not just musically, but visually we see the band relying on its established brand and visual cues, with the biggest change probably Ruki having changed blazers in between the NINTH and MASS photoshoots. And it’s not just that, but the band has even become self-referential. On NINTH the opening intro track was a collage of all the openers of their past, and this time the album art compiles the various symbols and objects they’ve previously featured. This is of course harmless fan service, but it does at the same time reflect their attitude towards who they are and what they’re doing.

Probably doing more or less the same thing for the last ten years has made them just about the tightest band in visual kei. Once it gets going, the riffs do roll over you like a tank, and some of the hardest moments in here are admirable — and this was the case with NINTH as well. Hard & heavy, cool & aesthetic according to its target audience at least, but what is different this time around is the synthesizer work: NINTH features kind of distorted, glitching sounds while MASS’ is a melodic wave gliding over the down-tuned chugs, a funny wonky sound that sounds like the lady they’ve always used for backing vocals. Ruki’s vocal coach has been putting in work now for what is surely a decade +; the rough stone has been long-polished; and although my Ruki of choice is from somewhere about 17 years ago, the fact that they got this out of that, is pretty impressive. Otherwise, if we’re sampling this one like we’re having a wine tasting, I’d say there some notes of Beautiful Deformity here, the acoustic guitar featured in the ballad MOMENT and the Limp Bizkit-sounding intro to BLINDING HOPE which sounds awfully similar to the intro in TO DAZZLING DARKNESS, but other than this I’d just repeat what everyone else has already said, that DOGMA-NINTH-MASS is a monolith, where you could easily see the tracks being shuffled one album to another with no one noticing.

It’s all at a high standard when comes down to the technicalities, and I guess that’s why I’d rather listen to this than something like Motionless in White, which are in their essence, similar. You won’t find a tighter ensemble in visual kei with a grasp like that on what they’re doing. I do wonder for how long we’re able to re-heat the same alternative rock before it spoils. Despite all the bells and whistles, The GazettE’s 10th album is, as an experience, something like what I’d imagine as the sound of Maximum the Hormone covering Breaking Benjamin songs under Ruki’s artistic direction, consisting of binging on two-year old issues of DAZED magazine while listening to posthumous Lil Peep songs."


I have to agree. It isn’t very memorable album. If some songs didn’t have the electronic elements, they would be completely plain. Nothing sticks, but nothing insults either.
Works well as a low commitment album if you just want something playing in the background, while doing something else.
NINTH had some more memorable tracks for me as well.


I’ve listened to the album several times and finally decided to post a review. I watched the teasers for it but didn’t listen to the previews of each song. I thought Ninth was a step back so I really wanted this album to be good.

A weird intro. Sounded like a ritual or something at the end but I was somewhat disappointed that it didn’t just transition into the next song. Nothing too special. 5/10

Blinding Hope
I recognized the intro from the teaser for this album. I had really high hopes for it but was disappointed. Even on their mediocre albums the GazettE are pretty good at title tracks but this was one of their worst ones. It just doesn’t do anything beyond the amazing intro. Really a wasted opportunity. 4/10

A heavy song that feels slowed down for some reason. Usually mixing heavy music and clean vocals doesn’t do it for me but for this song it worked. The highlight was definitely the section with clean vocals towards the end. Ruki’s voice just sounds so beautiful in that part. 8/10

There were some good riffs in this song, especially between the lyrics. I think it’d sound great live. It sounds like something that’s been done before but is still catchy nonetheless. 7/10

This song has a lot of tension and keeps it throughout. Not sure how to describe it but it sounds like a bomb is ticking down with the way the song is structured. It kind of made me think of a crazy circus or something. Very unrestrained and wild. I loved it. 9/10

Wow. This song took me back to Dogma. Much like how Undying was a continuation of Dogma, this song felt like a continuation of Ominous. But whereas Undying was as good as Dogma, 濁 doesn’t quite reach the heights that Ominous did. Even so, it’s clearly the best song on the album. I kind of wish it was put at the end of the album like Ominous was. It carries the middle of the album. 9/10

The Pale
A beautiful song. It felt like a ballad but is probably too heavy to be called that, kind of like Grudge from Dogma. My only complaint is that Ruki’s voice sounded kind of muffled at the beginning, like he was singing from behind a wall or something. The opening was beautiful and the rest of the song didn’t disappoint either. I really enjoyed the chorus as well. 9/10

This was definitely something I was not expecting, but in a good way. The GazettE are generally pretty good at ballads and this one isn’t an exception. It’s a nice break from the heaviness of most of the album. It’s a simple song but it works and I really enjoyed it. 8/10

A generic heavy GazettE song. Really forgettable. Every time I hear the opening of a new heavy song, I hold out hope that it will be the next Maggots or Headache Man but each time I am disappointed. The part before the three-minute mark sounded like it was building up to something but unfortunately it didn’t deliver. 4/10

There was some promise in the opening but it soon devolves into alternating screaming and singing, neither of which is particularly memorable. At least some of the tunes sounded kind of sinister. 4/10

Last Song
This song was surprisingly similar to Blinding Hope in terms of my opinion. A really strong opening and some good tunes but it’s ruined by the rest. The chorus was repeated too many times, which I wouldn’t have minded if it was good, but it’s just average. It’s not as bad as Blinding Hope though, since the tunes are enjoyable enough that I don’t really mind listening to the song. Still, it feels like the GazettE missed a good chance to make an amazing song and settled with just making a decent one. 6/10

I noticed that this album didn’t have notable solos or female vocals, two areas I’d say that GazettE are pretty good at. There were parts in some of the songs without singing where it feels like a solo could have been put in but unfortunately wasn’t. Another ballad wouldn’t have hurt either.
I like to judge albums by their best songs and due to 濁, I would rank this album higher than Ninth, which didn’t have any songs that were as memorable. I would like to see the GazettE do more experimental stuff like B-sides because I feel that some of their best stuff came about like that. Hopefully their next album is more varied.


I’ve fallen very out of touch with vkei & jrock but for some reason any time the GazettE release a new album I’m always curious to give a listen.

Gonna do something I haven’t tried before and just type my thoughts as I listen unfiltered:

#Cool intro honestly
#Tribal direction is great
#Electronics sound corny
#Way too short

Blinding Hope
#New album, same old riffs, different tone
#Weak chorus, electronics are kinda lame
#Heavy section is great
#Kai carries this song

#Terrible transition between this track and the last
#Drums tone sounds awful, what happened?
#Chorus and riffs has a bit of an old school GazettE flow, which I like
#Ruki’s growls sound pretty solid
#Electronics are not too great, sound lame

#Fadeless called, it wants its riff back
#Wish they’d do more with the strings, it’s a nice touch
#Best melody and song flow so far
#String motif is getting repetitive

#Nice, fresh take on their heavy riffs. Don’t think I’ve heard Kai use too many double kicks under guitar riffs (in recent memory anyways)
#This feels like first track on the album that sounds a bit different than past albums melodically
#Weird break in the middle with nothing but electronics

#This also sounds a bit different than past albums
#I like the weird background vocal cadences
#Solid chorus
#Pleasing song progression
#They need to show more restraint on when/when not to keep using the same sound effects throughout the song, gets old
#Favorite track so far

The Pale
#Promising start, best use of electronics so far
#Yes, more strings
#Chorus ok, not great
#Guitar melodies are very nice
#Chorus has grown on me second time around
#Now this is my favorite track so far
#Shows the best of what this album has to offer to this point

#Acoustic guitar, gives me cassis feel
#Ruki’s voice on ballads is great
#Feels a little too fast, almost feels like whole track was written around the teaser section
#Nice track, but feels more like a mood setter
#Can’t really remember any melodies from it

#Standard GazettE-style riffs
#Kinda has a “Beautiful Deformity meets Dir en grey Hageshisa to…” thing to it
#Not really doing anything for me
#Ruki’s growls and screams sound good though
#Honestly album wouldn’t hurt without this track

#It’s got live energy
#The riffs jam
#I still find issue with Ruki’s melodies on faster songs like this, just drags everything down

Last Song
#Liked the teaser, still sounds really cool
#Has an EDM-like vibe, unique pairing with heavy rock
#Doesn’t feel like the heavy growling section belongs in this track, sounds out of place
#Chorus is actually great
#They need to chill out with using the same electronic motif throughout each section of the song, loses its effectiveness
#Chorus gets a little old, would’ve liked to hear some variations in line delivery or melody
#Weak, fadeout for final track, hate that

Call me crazy, but upon my first listen I think I like Mass more than Ninth. And I think it’s because it sounds much more different than Dogma or Ninth. Those two albums sound tonally similar so when Ninth came out it felt like an extension of Dogma for me. Ninth is the better album no doubt: tighter song writing, more cohesion, highly stylized and polished. But Mass is a somewhat new direction for the band, a lighter take on their new foundation built since Dogma’s heavier sound. There aren’t any great tracks like “Falling” or “Sono Koe wa moroku” but there are few I liked enough.

This feels like a regression and reminds me greatly of their efforts for Division: a somewhat amateur take on revitalizing their sound with electronic elements. I was surprised to hear how rough some of the songs were and just how many sounded this way. Outside of “The Pale” many tracks suffered from overused background elements, cheap or unfitting sounds, and underdeveloped melodies.

I respect that the band is still experimenting this far into their career though especially with the success their last two albums brought them with a darker execution. Despite it being what I consider the weakest album in their new arch, I think it’s a worthwhile journey for them and think it’ll lead to some new and exciting music in the future.


When I listened to the album the first time I really liked it. It’s not like I’ve been totally hyped but I barely am with new albums anyway. There often are single parts, sometimes very short I do fancy immediately and that’s been with this album, too, but that’s it.
As usual for at least the last four Gazette albums I’ve been listening to 『MASS』 a lot. Five to six weeks the album exclusively are normal for me. That added up to almost 500 spins of the album altogether.

Overall I do like the album.
But while I was a lot more hyped for the other regular albums throughout that time since 2013, that didn’t happen now. I like it. I like parts very much. But that’s it.

I was wondering why for quite a while.
That album is definitely a Gazette one. It’s even somehow a continuation of 『NINTH』. I’ve seen people agree on this and people disagree. To me it’s so obvious. It starts by the sound (just less various which I think is because it’s basically all Ruki’s songs) and ends with the logo and color for the album.

There are basically two things that are tough or whatever for me.
One is the lack in variation.
Yeah, there’s that ballad with 「MOMENT」 and it’s beautiful. When I don’t just let it play in the background but focus on the song and the lyrics and am in the right mood for it, it’s very touching. But if I’m not it’s pretty bland. I’d say simple and that’s the point that I think it shall be so that still fits even though I prefer their beautiful but less simple ballads over this one.
There are songs that will be damn great at lives. I guess 「ROLLIN’」 will be a lot of fun as well as 「BARBARIAN」 and 「FRENZY」. Not to mention 「LAST SONG」.
I like certain parts about the other songs.
Mostly 「濁」 for that heavy mooded sound.

But then there are the lyrics which’s the second thing.
From what I got by now this album follows what Ruki already said about 「BLINDING HOPE」 earlier this year. It’s about keeping on through tough times, not giving up and everything will become better again.
I had some issues with that song in the beginning for that reason but after a while it was alright. It’s one song.
A full album like this - and by the translations for by now 5 out of 10 songs with lyrics it seems to me like this goes for the whole album - to me is … well, I don’t like it.
I’ve been going through depression, anxiety disorder, trauma and a lot more for so many years, I’ve been fighting so much and things got worse again and again. Not constantly but they did. To me - and it doesn’t mean this goes for others - it feels like these songs telling me I’m not fighting enough, that it’s my own fault things don’t get better. I’m convinced Ruki ain’t even aware that people might understand the lyrics like this so I really don’t blame him on this. This might just be my own personal problem.
I also wondered how much of these lyrics are for himself/the band. Like something to hold on to to overcome these times. But well, I don’t want to get into speculations here that was just an occuring thought. To me it’s alright no matter what reasons he had putting all these lyrics that way it just doesn’t work for me and it’s the reason why I have a harder time with this album than with others before.

Even though I think it’s a continutation of 『NINTH』 for example 「HOLD」 gives me a lot of 「UGLY」 vibes. There are parts of the song when I just want to get into 「UGLY」's chorus. But even though 『DOGMA』 is different from other albums (as are the others, too) there’s still something about the last few albums that is Gazette, I think. I usually find something in a new album that reminds me of older one’s (not just the previous one) but for this song it was very intense.
Funny thing was like the intro to 「LAST SONG」 immediately reminded me of SuG’s 「Smells Like Virgin Spirit」.

Overall I don’t want to rate the single songs or the album just by a figure. I like it and it’s tough though.